Pittsburgh -- The Robert Morris University football team scored 27 unanswered points to turn a 3-0 deficit into a 27-3 advantage and senior running back Myles Russ (Boca Raton, Fla. / Boca Raton) became the program's all-time leading rusher Saturday afternoon as the Colonials earned their seventh straight win with a 34-11 victory over Duquesne at Joe Walton Stadium.
RMU improved to 7-1 overall and 6-0 in the Northeast Conference, while the Dukes dipped to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in league play.
Duquesne took an early 3-0 advantage when Eric Duale connected for a 34-yard field goal at the 3:57 mark of the first quarter. Russ had fumbled for Robert Morris on its previous possession, with Horvin Latimer recovering for the Dukes. Duale's trifecta capped an eight-play, 37-yard drive for Duquesne.
The Colonials took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Jeff Sinclair (Natrona Heights, Pa. / Highlands) scored from nine yards out. The drive for Robert Morris started at its own 45-yard line and was bolstered by a 13-yard run and a 14-yard scamper from Russ.
Sinclair increased RMU's lead to 14-3 when he rushed for his second touchdown on the afternoon, this time for five yards with just 2:28 remaining before halftime.
The drive was put together on the strength of the running of Russ and redshirt senior running back Raphael Johnson (Clinton, Md. / Charles H. Flowers), as Russ carried four times for 22 yards during the possession, while Johnson rushed three times for 25 yards. Russ also hauled in an 11-yard pass from Sinclair.
Duquesne went three-and-out on its next possession, and the Colonials got great field position when freshman Evan Taylor (Redding, Calif. / Shasta) returned an Aaron Fleck punt 32 yards to set up the RMU offense at the 39-yard line of Duquesne. Two plays later Sinclair hit junior tight end Shadrae King (McKeesport, Pa. / McKeesport) on a cross pattern, and King galloped into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown catch and a 21-3 Robert Morris advantage.
Russ gave the Colonials a 27-3 lead early in the fourth quarter when he scored from six yards out, a run that also helped him become the all-time leading rusher at RMU. On the afternoon Russ finished with 154 yards and two touchdowns on 30 attempts, pushing his career rushing total to 3,868 yards. He eclipsed former Colonial and current assistant coach Sam Dorsett, who compiled 3,847 yards from 1999 to 2003.
The Dukes scored their lone touchdown of the game with 9:57 to play when Sean Patterson connected with Sean Bunevich for a four-yard touchdown pass. The Dukes were successful on the two-point conversion, as Patterson hit wide receiver Dave Williams in the end zone to help Duquesne trim its deficit to 27-11.
Robert Morris answered on its next possession, marching 64 yards and using 6:32 off the clock in the fourth quarter before Russ capped the scoring with another six-yard touchdown scamper.
Sinclair finished 10-for-20 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown and rushed six times for 23 yards and a pair of scores, while King hauled in four receptions for 65 yards and a score to pace the receiving corps for Robert Morris.
Patterson completed 10 of his 19 passing attempts for 80 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Duquesne, while Larry McCoy led the Dukes on the ground with 81 yards rushing on 18 attempts.
Senior linebacker Alex DiMichele (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Sto-Rox) led a Colonial defense that allowed just 191 yards of total offense with 13 tackles, including seven solo stops. Senior defensive backs Rolf Bathold (Naples, Fla. / Lely) and Michael Richards (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Bishop Ford) each produced six tackles for Robert Morris.
RMU closes out its four-game homestand when it welcomes Central Connecticut State to Joe Walton Stadium Saturday, Nov. 6, for a Noon kickoff.