ETSU’s first-half explosion dominates Colonials 45-3


Samuel Goldberg

MOON TOWNSHIP — Robert Morris (0-3) welcomed East Tennessee State University (2-2) to Joe Walton Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The Colonials struggled once again on the offensive side of the ball and fell to the Buccaneers by a final score of 45-3

Jake Simmons coming into this game, was regarded as the backup for Anthony Chiccitt in the first couple of games for the Colonials. Still, after a couple of hard hits suffered at Miami of Ohio, Simmons took the reigns for his first start as a Colonial.

ETSU knew that Simmons was in his first start, and they brought the pressure early in the game, forcing Simmons to think quickly about the pressure coming his way. ETSU’s pressure got home to Simmons on his first drive, and the Colonial’s offense went three and out on the first drive.

One of the most significant question marks on this team was to see how the defense would play this season. They had a strong start in the first quarter, getting pressure on quarterback Tyler Riddel early and forcing a couple of three-and-outs early in the ball game.

However, momentum in the game would take a turn in favor of the Bucs and after the offense for Robert Morris would come to a halt, and would be forced to punt. Erik Campbell of ETSU somehow was a free runner to the punter and blocked the punt, and the Bucs would scoop up the football and score to put East Tennessee on the board first.

The Colonials defense could stop the dangerous Jacob Saylors for a little bit in the first quarter. However, the Bucs kept feeding him the football. Finally, they broke through for a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter pushing ETSU’s lead to 14-0.

The offense didn’t have an answer as they would go three and out again to give the ball back to ETSU. The offense was just not inspiring at all in this game. They had a few big plays with Purge in the first half but could not get anything going.

Jacob Saylors had a second quarter as he broke free at the start of the second quarter for a 35-yard rushing touchdown. The offensive line for ETSU made the Colonial’s D-line look like the red sea on that play. ETSU would extend their lead to 21-0.

Then, on the next drive, Simmons would be intercepted by Sheldon Arnold II and returned into the red zone and leading to an instant opportunity for the Bucs to strike again, which they would by no one other than Jacob Saylors for his third rushing touchdown of the game pushing the lead to 28-0.

A recurring theme in this game for the offense of Robert Morris would be the three-and-outs they had, as they just could not get anything rolling in this game. A Colonial three and out led to another ETSU drive, and this time, they ran it in with Bryson Irby to push the lead to 35-0.

Robert Morris would get the ball back at their 16-yard-line and start to put a drive together. However, just after they got past the 50-yard-line, the drive stalled after a drop from Purge and a couple more incomplete passes from Simmons ETSU would get the ball back with around 40 seconds left in the half.

Now you would think they would just run the clock out, but no, they got a couple of completions, took a deep shot from their own 43-yard-line, and connected on a hail mary with 5 seconds left in the first half. Einaj Carter came down with it after he was double-covered, and the Bucs would score 42 unanswered points in the first half.

The Colonials would make a quarterback change to Corbin LaFrance. However, that change didn’t lead to much for the Colonials as they just could not get anything going. By this time in the second half, ETSU pulled most of their starters, and the Colonials could not get anything going against the backups of the Bucs.

The Colonials had some drives working in their favor but could not finish them. ETSU was just downright dominant in this game.

The Colonials, however, did not get shutout entirely as kicker Jayson Jenkins would nail his only kicking attempt of the game in the fourth quarter. The Colonials lose 45-3 at home during family weekend.

The Colonials will continue to search for their first win as they will travel to Delaware State next Saturday at 6 p.m.