There’s No Place Like Home
Robert Morris football has been successful of late at Joe Walton Stadium, but foiled on the road. How has this happened?
October 31, 2021
If playing at Duquesne’s Rooney Field is Robert Morris football’s kryptonite, then playing in the friendly confines of Joe Walton Stadium over the last three seasons is the complete opposite of that.
Dating back to a 24-20 win over Bryant on October 26, 2019, RMU football has won its last seven games at Walton, set up by yesterday’s scintillating 38-35 win over Hampton.
Before that Bryant affair, they had two close losses to Kentucky State and Dayton at Walton, and if one bounce goes their way, the streak would have been stretched further.
To put it in perspective, their last road win came the week before that Bryant game, a 21-13 win over Wagner in Staten Island, going 0-8 in their subsequent road matches over three seasons.
Robert Morris never got the chance to play at home during the shortened 2020 season, a stop-and-start year that saw both their home games get canceled.
Throwing that year out the window, it has been two calendar years since their last road win, but this team has been undefeated at home since that last win away from home.
It reminds me of the 2021 Colorado Rockies. They were an excellent 48-33 at Coors Field this season, but on the road, they played like the Baltimore Orioles did all season, going a paltry 26-54.
So, what has gone right for this team at home as opposed to on the road? Fans returning to the stadium helped, as both coaches and players alike would agree.
“The crazy thing about it is, we haven’t played at home in two years,” head coach Bernard Clark said following the team’s win over Howard at their home opener this season. “We haven’t won a game since 2019, so it was very exciting to hear the fans out here having a great time, and great to hear them come here along with us.”
Maybe it can be boiled down to that. The team has seen pretty solid attendance for most of its games this season, and they have rewarded fans who have come out and have been fueled by their rowdiness.
Success at Joe Walton Stadium
There seems to be a pretty big discrepancy amongst the stats for Robert Morris’ home-road splits. The team has had to travel far in both conferences they have been in, which could be a factor, but the points per game and points allowed per game may be one piece of the overall puzzle.
Since their last road win, here is the team’s scoring splits:
- Home: 28.5
- Road: 15
- Home: 21
- Road: 37.8
For whatever reason, the defense is sound when the team is at home but loses all the wind in its sails on the road. For what it’s worth, these are skewed by a few blowouts where the team scored no points and lost by 35+, but points are still points.
The rushing and receiving yards may tell more to the story.
- Home: 129
- Road: 64.5
- Home: 207.8
- Road: 174.2
There’s the answer right there. RMU, for some reason, cannot get their rushing offense going away from home, and the defense suffers because of it.
It may be the long bus rides or the layoff between start times of games, but the stat splits show the surface-level issues in the run game the team has on the road. Their running backs seem to have that extra step when they play in Moon.
Luckily for Robert Morris, two of their last three games are at Joe Walton Stadium and their lone game on the road is the closest Big South opponent they have, former NEC adversary Monmouth.
With these final two home games approaching, their streak is squarely on the line as they face Big South leader Kennesaw State and another good team in Campbell.
We have seen them take down a few good teams at home this season and they have been fun to watch play in front of their home crowd. It remains to be seen if they have any Walton wizardry left in them, and it starts next Saturday.