In Robert Morris University’s season opener against 19th-ranked Eastern Kentucky, it was the Colonels who galloped over the visiting Colonials 38-6 on Thursday at Roy Kidd Stadium in Richmond, Ky.
For the second consecutive season the RMU has opened its campaign on the road against a nationally-ranked opponent. The Colonels have made 20 playoff appearances at the FCS level and have won two national championships.
EKU quarterback Jared McClain completed 16 of 28 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. The junior ran the ball 12 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns. The Georgia native also caught one pass on the evening.
McClain capped the Colonels’ opening drive of the game with a 10-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Ike Ariguzo. On Eastern Kentucky’s next possession, McClain finished a five play, 16-yard drive by taking it in himself from a yard out for a 14-0 lead.
With just over seven minutes left on the clock in the second quarter, McClain rolled out and found senior tight end Nathan Watts from two yards out for his second passing touchdown of the game.
Penn State transfer quarterback Paul Jones completed 16 of 28 passes for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his RMU debut. The junior signal-caller connected with freshman wide receiver Alex Caratelli on a 20-yard pass for the Colonials’ only score near the two minute mark of the second quarter. The extra-point was blocked.
The Colonels closed out the scoring of the first-half when they went 73 yards on eight plays in 1:54 to make it 28-6 at the break. McClain completed passes of eight and 33 yards, and ran for 18 during the drive. Junior running back Caleb Watkins took the handoff from two yards out and finished the drive with his first collegiate touchdown.
The Colonels put up 10 more points in the fourth quarter to make the final score 38-6.
RMU redshirt junior running back Deonte Howard led the ground attack with 58 yards rushing on 13 carries. Redshirt sophomore fullback Ryan Thermil had 29 yards on five carries.
Redshirt senior linebacker Mike Cook had a game-high 10 tackles while senior safety Samuel Collins contributed eight tackles.
Robert Morris fell to 19-12-1 when playing an opponent for the first time and is now 9-11 in season openers.
The Colonials will host Morgan State University at Joe Walton Stadium at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7. The Bears went 3-8 last season under head coach Donald Hill-Eley.