Bisceglia’s leg ices the game for the Colonials


Nick Bisceglia nails a 38-yard field goal to give Robert Morris the 38-35 win over Hampton Photo credit: Ethan Morrison

Michael Deemer

MOON TOWNSHIP– Robert Morris (3-4, 2-2 Big South) returned to Joe Walton after a two-game road trip, both losses to North Alabama, and Gardner-Webb looking to stop the losing streak against head coach Bernard Clark’s former team Hampton (3-5, 1-3).

“It felt weird,” Bernard Clark said. “They’re a good football team. It’s always good to play guys that you know are gonna have talent. They’re gonna have the thing that you need to get better as a football team.”

The game was expected to be close by some, but that may have been an understatement.

The Colonials got the ball rolling early with a touchdown on their opening drive. Coach Clark had a few tricks up his sleeve as well with a reverse play to D’Andre Hicks had him throwing the ball to a wide-open Jaylon Brown for 46 yards to put the Colonials at the five-yard line. A few plays later, Martin found Hicks in the end zone to draw first blood.

“It’s been a few since we had done anything trick-play-wise.” Coach Clark said postgame. “We wanted to mix it up a little bit. We wanted to give the guys a little more fun in practice and for them to look forward to a play like that was really good.”

It didn’t take long for Hampton to respond. A dump off to Trent Cloud ended up going 65 yards to put the Pirates in an immediate goal-to-go opportunity. Elusive quarterback Jett Duffey ran it in himself to knot the score at 7 just two plays later.

The Colonials took their time in the next drive as George Martin went a perfect 6/6 for 44 yards to blaze through the Pirate defense taking almost 7 minutes. However, the Colonials could only settle for a field goal, taking the lead once again.

For the third consecutive drive for either team. Jett Duffey exposed the Colonial secondary with his arm going 73 yards in just 3 plays. He then used his legs for the touchdown.

A Robert Morris punt put the Pirates in business once again. Jett Duffey and company went through the defense once again, going 80 yards this time. The dual-threat QB again used both his arm and legs. A 48-yard bomb to Trent Cloud put the ball at the 1-yard line, as Duffey ran into the end zone to take a 21-10 lead.

The Colonials were able to put some points on the board with a Nick Bisceglia kick to make it an 8 point game with seconds remaining in the half.

Hampton started with the ball and their offensive display never changed from the first. It took the Pirates less than 2 minutes to down the field and score, as Duffey ran it in for his 4th of the day.

The Colonials knew they needed to put points on the board. This was the drive to do it. George Martin threw to his favorite target in D’Andre Hicks for 33 yards to put the Colonials in the red zone. Alijah Jackson scored his first touchdown of the season made it a one-score game once again.

“It’s huge,” Clark praised. “It’s big-time for him. He’s getting his yards. Our run game has been picking up. He saw some holes that he may not have seen in a while so it was good to see him running again”

A turning point in the game was when the Pirates were driving as Duffey fumbled the ball and was recovered by senior linebacker Oliver Pageotte-Andre late in the 3rd quarter. Alijah Jackson’s 12-yard rush on 3rd down put the Colonials at the 16-yard line. But an unfamiliar face, Anthony Purge powered his way to the end zone. The Colonials looked to go for 2 to tie it up, but took a delay of game penalty and settled for the extra point to trail by 1.

Duffey did not end his scoring touch on the ground as he ran in for his and Hampton’s 5th touchdown of the day with about 9 minutes in the fourth quarter.

To cap off a six-and-a-half-minute Colonial drive, George Martin threw to Alijah Jackson for 2 yards and needed a 2-point conversion to tie it. George Martin found a wide-open Mason Miller to tie it up.

The Colonial defense stonewalled the Hampton defense for the first time all game giving the Colonials a golden opportunity to take the lead for the first time since the first quarter.

“We play all four quarters. I tell all the guys FPF. Have Fun. Play Physical. and Finish. Our defense didn’t play well the whole game,” Clark admitted, but “they did a great job in finishing”.

George Martin and the Colonials played the 2-minute drill for a Nick Bisceglia field goal with 5 seconds left to remain undefeated at home in 2021.

“The last drive was probably our most confident drive as the entire offense.” quarterback George Martin said. “When you play guys for 4 years with these guys, you kinda get the feeling that they’re locked in. ‘He’s fighting injury’ or ‘He’s fighting an injury’. If you were that locked in, and you know the assignment, we’re gonna push the ball down the field. It’s just good to see guys that confident.”

The five-touchdown day for Hampton’s Jett Duffey tied a Hampton record for most rushing touchdowns in a game, and most by a quarterback. Coach Clark had nothing to do but laugh about the swiss-army knife under center and knows that this can be a learning experience going forward.

“We have to stop the quarterback. Their coach called the right plays. Our guy that was supposed to be on the quarterback wasn’t, so that’s what will happen to you.”

Saturday was not the defense’s day, so the offense stepped up to play. There was some balance between the running game and the passing game, something the Colonials have struggled to do all season.

“It makes everything easier.” George Martin noted. “The past couple games we were behind and when you’re behind and you have to throw to catch up, it’s a lot harder of a game. It’s a lot harder to come back from. We were running the ball so effectively, the defense had to go back and forth on what they wanted to defend and we adjusted accordingly.”

The Colonials return to the Joe next Saturday and look to remain unbeaten at home as they face Kennesaw State at noon.