MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Robert Morris claimed a 13-10 victory in their season opener at home against the University of Dayton on the strength of their opportunistic defense and placekicker Nick Bisceglia.
Fans of the Colonials saw the rally begin when outside linebacker Devon DeFrances broke up a pass play from Flyers quarterback Kyle Kaparos to wide receiver Kyle Butz by knocking the ball out of Butz’s hands. RMU strong safety Ryan Richards, Jr. came up with the fumble recovery at the Dayton 28-yard line.
The ball was back with the Blue, White, and Red offense, the score tied 10-10, and 2:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. Six plays after the retrieval, Bisceglia hit his second field goal of the day, a 26-yarder, with just four seconds left to finish the comeback.
Dayton’s Drake Yinger gathered the onside kick by RMU on the Colonials 47-yard line. With one second left, Kaparos attempted a Hail Mary pass to tight end Michael Hegewald which was tipped by Richards and came down on the turf at the goal line.
RMU head coach John Banaszak spoke about the victory on the program’s web page, “I think this is going to be a big lift for this football team. They now know that they can go out against a good football team, play hard, do the right things and come away with a victory.”
Robert Morris made both of their fourth down conversions and led in total yards of offense, 320 to 257. Here are four stars who helped the Colonials begin the season with a victory at Joe Walton Stadium.
1) In addition to making his point-after attempt good in the third quarter, Bisceglia was 2-for-3 on field goals. While his 44-yard attempt in the first was short, the 5-foot-11, 160-pound freshman from New Kensington, PA came through on his 28-yard kick with 34 seconds left to close out the first half. RMU went into half-time on the scoreboard, but behind 10-3. Bisceglia earned Northeast Conference Special Team Player of the Week honors for his contributions.
2) Linebacker Gerald Ferguson led the charge on defense as he tied with corner back Drew Allen and Richards for the lead in solo tackles with five apiece and was the leader in total tackles with eight. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior from Delray Beach, FL added 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery to the score sheet and picked up the NEC Defensive Player of the Week award.
3) Tavin Allison hauled in two receptions, and it was his 72-yard catch at 8:53 in the third that made it to the end zone and tied the matchup at 10-10. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound redshirt freshman receiver found himself the recipient of the NEC Rookie of the Week prize.
4) After adding a pass break-up and a fumble recovery to the box score, Richards assisted on a pair of stops to bring his total tackles to seven. He is my Most Valuable Player in the Colonials’ victory.
Offense Honorable Mention: Jimmy Walker put together a solid afternoon in running the Blue, White, and Red offense. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior quarterback from Redlands, CA completed 14 of 29 for 198 yards and was intercepted once in addition to his touchdown toss in the third.
Defensive Honorable Mention: Joining Allen and Richards with seven total tackles against Dayton were defensive linemen Derian Smith and inside linebacker Adam Wollet.
Special Team Honorable Mention: Adam Check saw two of his six punts go for more than 50 yards and he pinned the Flyers twice inside their 20-yard line. He tallied a total of 230 yards.
Flyers’ fans saw Kaparos take over the signal calling duties for the injured Alex Jeske. He wrapped up the day, hitting 13 of 18 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Tucker Yinger collected his fifth 100-yard rushing game with 107 yards on a career-high 24 carries. Andrew McCormick tied with Jack Crain with six solo stops while leading the Red and Columbia Blue with 11 total tackles.
Next Up: The first away contest for Robert Morris (1-0) is Saturday, Sept. 9 when they travel west on the turnpike to the Buckeye State and Stambaugh Stadium to take on the Youngstown State University Penguins (0-1) at 2:00 p.m. The Guins lost their season opener 28-21 in overtime last week at Heinz Field against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers.
Video From RMU Athletics On YouTube.com – RMU Vs. Dayton Football – Postgame Interviews…