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Late heroics leads Robert Morris to fifth straight victory

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Cory Nolton blocks field goal attempt to preserve 17-16 win over Monmouth

Sophomore defensive lineman Cory Nolton (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Baldwin) partially blocked a 28-yard field goal by Monmouth's Eric

Spillane with two seconds to play to help lift the Robert Morris University football team to a 17-16 victory over the Hawks Saturday afternoon at Joe Walton Stadium. Spillane's field goal attempt after being partially blocked by Nolton hit the crossbar and fell short, capping a wild final two minutes of action.

RMU earned its fifth straight victory to improve to 5-1 overall on the 2010 campaign and a perfect 4-0 in the Northeast Conference, while head coach Joe Walton notched his 100th career collegiate win. Monmouth slipped to 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the NEC.

The Colonials held a 17-10 lead at halftime, and the score remained that way until the fourth quarter, when an eight-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Frazier to Chris Hogan capped a 15-play, 88-yard drive that used 9:35 off the clock. Spillane's extra point, however, hit the left upright and bounced away, allowing Robert Morris to hold onto its one-point advantage.

Monmouth went for the on-side kick after the miss by Spillane and was successful as safety Jose Gumbs came up with the loose ball at the 45-yard line of the Hawks with 1:36 remaining in regulation.

Frazier marched Monmouth down to the 11-yard of RMU on six plays, including a 25-yard completion to Ryan Folsom that moved the ball to the 18-yard line of Robert Morris.

Spillane went for the game-winning field goal, but Nolton helped keep the Colonials perfect in league play by partially blocking the attempt.

Robert Morris took an early 7-0 lead on the first possession of the day when sophomore quarterback Jeff Sinclair (Natrona Heights, Pa. / Highlands) scored on a 10-yard run. Sinclair was 2-for-2 passing during the drive, hitting junior wide receiver Anthony Coleman (Cheltenham, Md. / St. John's College High School) with a 12-yard completion and connecting with junior wide receiver Jamie Cobb (Casa Grande, Ariz. / Scottsdale Community College) for 15 yards.

The Hawks trimmed their deficit to 7-3 with a 22-yard field goal from Spillane, which was set up by the Monmouth defense. Don Brooks III intercepted Sinclair on 3rd-and-9 at the Robert Morris 19-yard line and returned it 14 yards to set up the Hawks deep in the Colonial territory. The RMU defense stiffened, allowing just a field goal.

Robert Morris opened up a 14-3 advantage early in the second quarter when Sinclair hit junior tight end Shadrae King (McKeesport, Pa. / McKeesport) with a 12-yard touchdown pass. Sinclair posted a pair of rushes for 20 yards and was 3-for-3 passing for 31 yards during the drive. 

The Hawks answered on their next possession to close their deficit to 14-10, marching 53 yards on eight plays before L.J. Caprio scored from a yard out. The Colonials were able to take a seven-point lead at the break, 17-10, thanks to a 34-yard field goal from senior Garrett Clawson (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) with just three seconds remaining before halftime.

Sinclair finished 10-for-19 passing for 148 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Robert Morris, while Frazier completed 19 of his 30 passing attempts for 189 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the Hawks.

Senior Myles Russ (Boca Raton, Fla. / West Boca) rushed for 95 yards on 17 attempts to pace the Colonial ground game, while Cobb posted three receptions for 72 yards. Redshirt senior safety Michael Landers (Springdale, Pa. / Springdale) led the RMU defense with 13 tackles.

Robert Morris continues a four-game homestand Saturday, Oct. 16, with a Noon kickoff against Albany at Joe Walton Stadium.

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