LEXINGTON, Va. - Despite a career highs in both rushing yards and attempts from redshirt junior Alex Ramsey, the VMI football team was upended, 31-21, by visiting Robert Morris on a warm Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium.
The Salem, Virginia native rushed a career-high 24 times for 153 yards, the most of his career for a single game. The Keydets (2-2, 1-0), however, gave up too many big plays on defense and failed to convert on crucial opportunities on offense throughout which allowed the Colonials to depart Lexington with the victory.
The Colonials (1-3, 0-0) started the game with momentum by scoring on a 47-yard run down the sideline for a score to go up quickly over the Keydets, 7-0, just a few minutes into the game.
VMI's Grant Clemons would convert a 36-yard field goal midway through the opening quarter, but Robert Morris responded quickly with another touchdown from Caleb Lewis to Garrett Houser on a 15-yard pass to go up, 14-3, by the end of the opening stanza.
Unable to capitalize in the red zone on several occasions, the Keydets again settled for a 29-yard field goal from Clemons to make the score 14-6 with 12:07 before the half. On the Colonials' ensuing possessions, the Keydets forced a punt which was blocked by freshman Aljareek Malry and rolled into the side of the endzone for a safety to trim the RMU lead to 14-8 with 10:26 left in the second quarter.
Late in the first half, Robert Morris drove down the field and scored on a 6-yard scamper up the middle to make the score 21-8 at the half.
“Give a lot of credit to Robert Morris because they played an outstanding football game," said VMI head coach Scott Wachenheim. "I think we had a great week of preparation for this contest, but unfortunately we made too many mistakes that are uncharacteristic of VMI football teams that put us in a bad position.
“We just didn’t execute. Overall, we had some good plays and we blocked a punt, but we missed some field goals and extra points. Robert Morris had some explosive plays to keep drives alive and offensively we weren’t in good rhythm.”
The teams would exchange jabs throughout the second half but the Keydets were unable to overcome the halftime deficit. Sophomore receiver Jakob Herres scored on a 21-yard pass in the third quarter and Ramsey scored on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter, but the damage had been done as the Colonials kept the Keydets at bay.
Other bright spots for VMI included a career-high 97 receiving yards by freshman Leroy Thomas and a career-high six tackles by sophomore Warren Dabney on the defensive side of the ball.
Junior quarterback Reece Udinski finished the game with 274 net yards passing by completing 30 of 52 pass attempts. VMI totaled 446 yards on offense to Robert Morris' 368 during the game.
The Keydets return to action next Saturday at home to resume Southern Conference play against Wofford slated for a 1:30 p.m. start at Foster Stadium.