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Robert Morris Outlasts Buffalo State in Football Opener, 33-23

Posted: September 6, 2003
BUFFALO, NY – Robert Morris (1-0) assembled a seven play, 84-yard drive late in the fourth quarter and then recovered a fumble in the end zone to ice a 33-23 victory over Buffalo State (0-1) today at Coyer Field in the season opener for both teams.

Buffalo State opened the scoring driving Robert Morris backwards nine yards on its opening drive and then Mike Potter blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for the score. Robert Morris answered on the next drive as Rupert Morris reeled in a 16-yard pass from Sam Dorsett on a halfback option to even the score at 7-7.

Ken Ciolek put the Bengals back in the lead early in the second quarter with a 31-yard field goal, but the Colonials answered again on the ensuing drive, marching 68 yards, capped off by a Dorsett two-yard plunge. Buffalo State reclaimed the lead before the half, when TJ Cottrell caught a 5-yard strike from Mike Mikolaichik, but a missed extra point gave the Bengals a 16-14 lead at the intermission.

Robert Morris recorded the only score of the third quarter when Dante Settles caught a Drew Geyer pass for a 25-yard score. The Bengals reclaimed the lead a final time as Mikolaichik connected with Marc Hoppy on a 21-yard scoring play to put the home team ahead 23-20. The Colonials orchestrated a long drive on their next possession, capped off by Dorsett’s second touchdown of the game, from 18 yards out. Robb Butler sacked Mikolaichik on the next Buffalo State drive, and James Niklos recovered the fumble in the end zone to make the final score 33-23.

Dorsett led the Colonials offense with 28 carries for 179 yards, and in the process became Robert Morris’s all-time leading rusher with 2,961 career yards, passing Tim Hill’s previous record of 2,908. Geyer was 17-for-25 for 266 yards and a touchdown. Rickards had five catches for 107 yards and a score. James Noel led the defense with 12 tackles.

Curtis Hathcock led the Bengals offense with 21 carries for 112 yards, while Mikolaichik was 17-for-28 for 212 yards and two touchdowns, but three interceptions in his first collegiate start. Hoppy led the Bengals receivers with five catches for 74 yards and HT Williams also caught five balls for 69 yards. Potter led Buffalo State with 14 tackles and Bo Sireika recorded eight tackles and two sacks.
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