After three games across two seasons, Robert Morris remains winless in Big South Conference play. Robert Morris is hoping to rebound from their third-ever Big South loss, a 41-14 thrashing from North Carolina A&T. Luckily for Robert Morris, they have the chance to get their first Big South win at home when they face Charleston Southern on Saturday, which is also Robert Morris’s homecoming.
Last week was rough for the ground-heavy Robert Morris gameplan as the team struggled to both run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense. Robert Morris’s rushing attack had just 54 rushing yards but 44 of those came on three carries by Jonathan Wynn. Their feature back, Alijah Jackson, had just 18 yards on 15 carries, an abysmal 1.2 yards per carry average. The team, as a whole, averaged 2.0 yards per carry.
This was in stark contrast to the dominating performance from North Carolina A&T from their rushing attack. The team combined for 224 rushing yards on 34 carries, a 6.6 yards per carry average.
North Carolina A&T consistently has ranked among the best in FCS football in both run-defense and run-offense over the past decade. The program, thanks to head coach Sam Washington, has a strong reputation for that brand of football. It’s worth mentioning because while the loss looks bad on paper for Robert Morris, it doesn’t mean that the program is in a dire situation.
“We’re going against a great football team,” said Robert Morris head coach Bernard Clark on the loss. “North Carolina A&T is a great football team. They had played Duke tough. They had played some other teams tough. They had a great job against Furhman. And we knew it was only a matter time before they’d put it together.”
Despite a 42-14 loss, there are still a few bright spots to take away from the game for Robert Morris. Quarterback Goerge Martin didn’t play poorly despite having an interception as he threw for 203 yards against a very good passing defense and while having no help from the usually strong running game. Ricardo Watson also intercepted Jason Fowler in the game, and he only had six incompletions all game.
However the defensive front-seven that turned in a great performance against Howard just two weeks ago struggled against North Carolina A&T’s talented offensive line. In addition to allowing 224 yards on the ground, Robert Morris failed to record a sack against North Carolina A&T and only managed to record three tackles for loss. Robert Morris had six sacks against Howard two weeks ago.
“Again, North Carolina A&T played a great football game,” said Clark. “They had a great gameplan against us, offensively and defensively, and we lost all three phases of the game.”
This week’s opponent, Charleston Southern, was one of three Big South teams Robert Morris got to play last year. It was the closest game that Robert Morris played in last year, a 27-14 loss at Charleston Southern. Charleston Southern is another tough opponent for Robert Morris, considering their last game was a three-point loss to FBS Eastern Carolina University.
They’re a different type of opponent as North Carolina A&T though as Charleston Southern is led by a strong passing attack. Quarterback Jack Chambers was the Big South Offensive Player of the Week just two weeks ago after he had the fourth 400+ yard passing game in school history. This game was against ECU and ranks as the highest a Charleston Southern QB has ever put up against a FBS team.
Helping with the passing attack is the first Big South Offensive Player of the Week from 2021 in wide receiver Garris Schwarting. In three games this season Schwarting has caught 16 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns. In week 1, he had all four of those touchdown catches and even threw a touchdown pass as well. He had 151 yards receiving in that game against the Citadel. He had a season high 8 catches for 85 yards against ECU two weeks ago.
“This is a totally different team,” said Clark. “Charleston Southern is basically a 10 personnel team. They play 10 personnel, their most dynamic player is their quarterback. So we got to scale it back a little bit. We got to run to the ball. We got to make sure that we become more of a sure tackling team on the defense.”
The first home game for Robert Morris in the Big South Conference will also be Homecoming this week for Robert Morris Alumni. Alumni can get the whole progressive tailgate package, which includes free food and alcohol at three different locations for the price of $25.
The tailgating starts at noon, but the game doesn’t kick off until 3:00 p.m. at Joe Walton Stadium.