RMU football wins overtime instant classic in season finale

RMU+celebrates+their+overtime+win+against+Campbell+on+Saturday.+Photo+credit%3A+Justin+Newton

RMU celebrates their overtime win against Campbell on Saturday. Photo credit: Justin Newton

By Tyler Gallo, Sports Editor

MOON TOWNSHIP– Following a gauntlet of a stretch where they took on the top two teams in the Big South, RMU football (4-6, 3-5 Big South) returned home for their season finale against Campbell (3-8, 2-5).

The game didn’t become back-and-forth until the end, and thanks to two missed kicks by Campbell kicker Isaac Riffle to win in regulation and tie in overtime, RMU snuck away with a 20-17 overtime win.

Head coach Bernard Clark spoke about the craziness that ensued at the end of regulation and in overtime.

“It’s a great way to finish, we finished 4-6, and with a victory like that, we played hard and had fun, we played physical and won the football game which is the most important,” Clark said. “I thought the last [kick] looked good from the sidelines, and when the refs signaled that it wasn’t, all of us lost our minds.”

It was senior day for the Colonials, and the 31 seniors on the team were honored before the game.

RMU quarterback George Martin came in sitting 160 yards shy of 2,000, which no RMU signal-caller had done since Erik Cwalinski in 2008.

With his six-yard pass in overtime to Dylan Smith, Martin surpassed the mark after several drops in the first half.

“I knew I was close to 2,000, but I wasn’t sure where,” Martin said postgame. “It’s nice that I got it, it wasn’t a goal that I set preseason but it’s still nice that I got it. I was happier with the win.”

On the opening play of the game, Campbell receiver Caleb Snead caught a 10-yard pass, passing 1,000 yards for the season and celebrating emphatically.

The Colonials set themselves up in prime field position with a four-down stop of Campbell.

A 29-yard run by Alijah Jackson got them within striking distance, and the drive did not go much further with Nick Bisceglia nailing a 41-yard field goal to put RMU up 3-0.

Dylan Earney and the Camels got into the red zone on the next drive, but a pick thrown directly to Sydney Audiger turned the field around.

The Audiger pick commenced another red-zone drive for Robert Morris, capping it with a seven-yard TD pass to James Westry, putting them up 10-0 heading into the second quarter.

On Campbell’s second drive of the quarter, the Dylan Earney-Dontae Crow connection shined bright, uniting for a 47-yard pass to set up their six-yard score to draw them within three.

The Camels mounted a strong drive at the end of the quarter, getting in field goal range. Isaac Riffle kicked a 47-yarder to knot the game at 10 heading into halftime.

RMU opened the second half with a methodical drive that took eight minutes off the clock. It featured Jackson breaking past 100 yards and a one-yard rushing touchdown by Martin to put the Colonials ahead.

Their second drive stretched from the end of the third to the fourth quarter, getting to the red zone before a Jordan Johnson fumble was recovered by Campbell with just under eight minutes remaining.

A non-call on a potential intentional grounding play right after the fumble set up the Camels to equalize the game, which they did.

Earney connected with Jalen Kelsey on a 27-yard rainbow to tie the game at 17 with four minutes left.

RMU was primed for another game-winning attempt, getting to midfield, but Martin threw a pass into coverage that was tipped and intercepted by Keshawn Thompson, setting up the Camels to take the lead late.

Isaac Riffle attempted four kicks to win the game late, having a timeout, defensive offsides and a facemask negate all his other attempts.

Campbell celebrated early after the third attempt, which was called back for the facemask, the only attempt he made of the four.

On his fourth attempt, a 44-yarder after the 15-yard facemask penalty, Riffle shanked the kick to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, after passing the 2,000 yard mark for the first time in his career, Martin nearly had a touchdown pass to D’Andre Hicks, but it was ruled that he never made the catch.

Bisceglia kicked a field goal to make it 20-17.

Isaac Riffle missed yet another field goal, this time from chip-shot range at 24 yards, sending the RMU sideline into a frenzy. RMU skated out with a dramatic 20-17 win to close their season.

RMU finishes their first full Big South season at 4-6 overall and 3-5 in-conference with all of their wins this season coming at Joe Walton Stadium.