YSU keeps focus for Robert Morris
Penguins face woeful Colonials
By Charles Grove
It’s quite a drop off from West Virginia to Robert Morris and not having a letdown two years in a row against the Colonials is the task at hand.
The Penguins are coming off a 38-21 loss at West Virginia in Morgantown that saw the Penguins have a shot until the Mountaineers found another gear and pulled away.
This week YSU hopes to find that extra gear early, unlike a year ago when the Penguins needed overtime in a 21-14 comeback win.
On paper, this doesn’t appear to be much of a matchup. Robert Morris returned their opening kickoff against Alderson Broaddus for a touchdown and that’s been all the scoring the Colonials have done. They lost that game 14-7 and then were shut out last week at Dayton 13-0.
Trent Hosick will be getting the snaps against Robert Morris according to a source that spoke to The Vindicator. Ricky Davis, who has gotten the majority of the snaps this year, suffered a concussion against West Virginia and hasn’t practiced all week. Hosick came in during the fourth quarter of last week’s contest against West Virginia and ran for a touchdown before throwing an interception.
Multiple calls to Bo Pelini were not returned on the matter.
Defensive end Derek Rivers said he’s not approaching this game any differently than he was West Virginia.
“You just go to practice and you prepare for Robert Morris like you do West Virginia,” Rivers said. “You have to respect everyone you play.”
For offensive lineman Justin Spencer, the mental aspect leading up to the game is something he believes was lacking a year ago.
“Just from an offensive standpoint we have to execute better,” Spencer said. “It’s important to have a really good week of practice. [Last year] we didn’t come in with a good mental mindset, good mental preparation.
“We’re looking forward to going out and playing a much better game.”
Moving the ball in any capacity has been a struggle for the Colonials. The team is averaging barely 100 yards of offense per game (105.5) while the Penguins are averaging 507.5 per contest.
Against Duquesne, another member of the Northeast Conference, the Dukes only managed 34 yards on the ground, which is still more than the 31 rushing yards per game Robert Morris is averaging.
YSU head coach Bo Pelini said the youth of the offense has been one of the reasons for the lack of offensive performance for Robert Morris. The Colonials start three freshmen, one sophomore and one junior.
“That’s probably their biggest thing,” Pelini said. “They’re young on the offensive line.”
The rest of the offense is young as well. Starting quarterback Andrew Romanchak is a redshirt freshman, wide receiver DeLano Madison is a freshman, and running back Dante Stacher and wide receiver Warren Robinson are sophomores.
Going up against a defense that has only two starters not seniors makes the Robert Morris task even more daunting for the Colonials.
Rivers expects YSU to come out more disciplined after working on the details all week that the tape showed against West Virginia.
“We saw how good out defense can be and the little things we need to tighten up,” Rivers said. “It opened a lot of guys’ eyes moving forward.”