The Central Connecticut football team saw an eight point fourth quarter lead slip away and dropped a 37-31 decision on the road at Robert Morris on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore running back Rob Hollomon rushed for over 200 yards and had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the defeat.
The Blue Devils had a chance late, but three straight incompletions near the end zone ended the hope of a late comeback for Central. With the loss the Blue Devils fall to 1-6 overall and 1-3 in Northeast Conference play. Robert Morris is now 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the league.
Hollomon's day was nothing short of spectacular as he rushed for 208 yards on 27 carries, while also returning a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and adding 56 receiving yards. His 377 all-purpose yards were the most for the Blue Devils in a single game since Justise Hairston had 332 against St. Francis (PA) in 2006. Hollomon has rushed for 372 yards in the last two games.
The Blue Devils return home next week to host St. Francis (PA) at 12 noon at Arute Field.
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Robert Morris got on the board first, scoring the first touchdown with 10:56 left in the first quarter to lead 7-0. The Colonials got good field position after a nine-yard punt by the Blue Devils on fourth down following their first series. The Colonials used a key fourth down conversion and then scored on a one-yard run from Ryan Thermil to take the lead.
The Blue Devils tied the game with 12:43 left before halftime on a short run from Darius Lee, his first of the season. On the previous play Hollomon rushed for a season-long 73 yard run down to the three-yardline, leading to the score and the 7-7 tie. Hollomon's rush put him over 100 yards for the second straight week.
Thermil's second scoring run, this time from one-yard out, made it 14-7 with 9:28 on the clock in the second. The scoring drive went seven plays and 75 yards and took just over three minutes off the clock.
The second 70+ yard play of the game, this time a 75-yard scoring strike from junior Andrew Clements to senior Matthew Tyrell, tied the game at 14 with 6:12 on the clock. The play was the longest pass play of the season for the Blue Devils, and the longest of each Clement's and Tyrell's career.
A 38-yard field goal from Greg Langer gave Robert Morris a 17-14 lead early in the third quarter. Following the field goal the Blue Devils regained the battle of field position and took over at the 50-yardline. They failed to pick up a first down, and were stopped short on their first fourth-down attempt of the day.
On the first play from scrimmage, Jeff Sinclair hit Donte Jeter from 57-yards out to up the scored to 23-14. The extra-point was blocked by the Blue Devils.
Hollomon answered by taking the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to cut the Robert Morris lead to 23-21. The kick return for the score was the first since Tyrell did it vs. Southern Connecticut to open the 2011 season.
On the next Robert Morris drive, Denzell Jones blocked the Colonial punt and gave Central the first down at the RMU 25-yardline. Clements found senior Anthony Julbes for his second touchdown of the season to give the Blue Devils the 28-23 lead. It was the second scoring pass of the game for Clements.
Another long run for Hollomon, this time 43 yards, put the Blue Devils in position for a 24-yard field goal from senior Juan Duque, pushing the lead to 31-23 with 10:19 in the fourth quarter. Following a Blue Devil interception, Central was forced to punt from its own end zone, giving RMU good field position.
Following a pair of penalties, the Colonials scored on a pass from Sinclair to Jeter, and then converted the two-point conversion to tie the game at 31-31 with 5:41 left.
Clements was intercepted on the next Blue Devil drive, and the Colonials took a 37-31 lead with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter on a rushing touchdown from Deontae Howard. The extra point was blocked by senior Chris Williams.
The Blue Devils drove the length of the field, but three attempts at the end zone came up short and Robert Morris held on for the win.
Clements finished the day 14-of-27 for 173 yards and two touchdowns, while also tossing an interception. Tyrell had three catches for 88 yards and a score. Antwione Reese led the defense with 14 tackles, including nine unassisted.