This was the 11th meeting of the two Pittsburgh-area teams, and second with both in the Northeast Conference. Duquesne, which grabbed a 6-5 series lead, raised its 2009 record to 2-3, 1-1 in the NEC. Robert Morris drops to 0-5, 0-2 in league play.
The Dukes controlled the game in the first half and scored 27 straight points in the first 64 minutes. Then Robert Morris got hot with three straight second half touchdowns to get the deficit down to seven, 27-20.
Duquesne answered the Colonials' last tally with an eight-play, 70-yard drive. That extended the margin to two touchdowns with 6:21 left in the game.
The game was marred by turnovers, Duquesne's three to RMU's pair, and penalties. Each team had 11 penalties, many of the 15-yard variety, for a combined 228 negative yards.
After the opening kickoff, junior Connor Dixon took the Dukes 87 yards on 13 plays (9 pass, 4 rush), capped by a seven yard pass to fellow former Michigan State wide receiver Dave Williams. A 7-0 lead with 10:36 left in the first quarter.
Robert Morris was unable to score in the first half. The Colonials had field advantage throughout but wasn't able to score, even with two Duquesne turnovers and a short 25-yard punt from the Red and Blue's own 10.
Twice the Dukes stopped fourth down conversion attempts. On the third deep in DU territory, RMU's junior kicker Garrett Clawson missed on a 35-yard field goal attempt.
Junior Willie Milhouse's fourth interception of the season set up the Dukes' next score. Redshirt freshman Sean Patterson's led the Dukes on a 34-yard drive, capped by junior fullback Marek Lapinski's one-yard TD plunge.
DU added another second quarter score on freshman Larry McCoy's 11-yard run. Freshman Eric Duale's successful PAT was called back because of a 15-yard personal foul penalty. He missed the longer attempt.
Duquesne went to the locker room with a 20-0 lead.
The Dukes, on their first series of the second half, scored via Dixon's 12-yard pass to junior Jay Spinks. Less than four minutes into the second half, the Dukes led 27-0.
But Robert Morris wasn't going to let the Dukes walk away with a "W."
The Colonials took advantage of the switch in momentum and scored two fourth quarter touchdowns via Sinclair's nine-yard scamper and a 52-yard pass to redshirt senior Sherrod Evers. That cut the Dukes' advanatge to 27-20 with 10:05 remaining. (Clawson missed the PAT on RMU's second TD.)
Duquesne answered 3:44 minutes later, mixing Dixon's passing with McCoy's running. The frosh scored on a 12-yarder with 6:21 left to play.
Duquesne's defense got back to its normal form, preventing an RMU fourth down conversion from the Dukes' 23. And then stopping their Coraopolis-area squad when sophomore Dionte Wade intercepted Sinclair and took a knee with 2:06 on the clock. Duquesne ran out the clock.
Duquesne travels to two-time defending NEC champion Albany (3-2, 2-0 NEC) nest weekend for a 1:00 p.m. game in New York.