NEC Football Tuesday Afternoon Afterthoughts: Super Saturday for Steel City Contingent

Week 5 was a big one on the gridiron for the NEC’s two Pittsburgh-based members and their two big-play receivers.

Duquesne won its fourth straight game and Robert Morris took its NEC opener by cooling off red-hot Monmouth at the Jersey Shore, but neither would have done so had it not been for fourth-quarter touchdown receptions by a pair of 2010 all-NEC selections.

The Dukes, who cruised past Saint Francis (PA) in their NEC opener last week, outlasted Bryant in a battle of 3-1 teams at Rooney Field.

Reigning NEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week Connor Dixon, who had 175 yards receiving against SFPA, caught his third touchdown pass of the day, and eighth of the season, with the Dukes trailing Bryant early in the fourth quarter and his diving grab  proved to be the game-winner.

The NEC-TV Game of the Week was a chance for Robert Morris to start fresh.  The Colonials, who represented the NEC In the 2010 NCAA FCS playoffs, were off to an 0-3 start, having capped the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 13-12 loss at Morgan State. 

September was behind them and whatever happened then would have no bearing on whether or not they would repeat as NEC champions.  They had won 12 of their last 13 NEC contests and Preseason All-American tight end Shadrae King did everything in his power to deliver win No. 13.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound target became Robert Morris’ all-time leader in career receptions during the game, but more importantly, he dragged defenders into the end zone on the game-winning touchdown catch with 5:15 remaining.

It’s early, but it doesn’t change the fact that heading into Week 6, there are two NEC teams out in Pittsburgh and not one league loss between them.

Hard-hittin’ Jose
Monmouth came up three points short against Robert Morris in Week 5, but it surely wasn’t because of a lack of effort from Jose Gumbs.  As he’s known to do, the two-time first team all-NEC safety was flying around the field making play after play.

Gumbs has a knack for eliciting Ooooooohhh’s and Aaaaahhhhh’s from the stands by making jarring hits, but it was a hit he took, rather than delivered, that stood out as the most-impressive part of his performance on Saturday.

With 8:40 to go in the game and Monmouth holding a 20-17 advantage, Gumbs became tangled up with a blocker on punt coverage and fell to the turf needing medical attention.  He eventually walked off the field under his own power, but appeared to be suffering some intense pain in the shoulder area.

A little more than three minutes later, Robert Morris had worked its way into the end zone for the go-ahead score, but was unable to convert the ensuing PAT because a Hawk had broken into the backfield and stuffed Greg Langer’s kick.  Guess who that was?

Jose Gumbs.

Even NEC-TV color commentator, and former Cal quarterback, Steve Levy couldn’t believe it!

Gumbs wasn’t done, either. The veteran safety, who finished with eight tackles, forced a fumble that would have given the Hawks the ball back with about 2:10 to play, but the ball took a fortuitous bounce back into the hands of RMU running back Justin Brooks.

Bell Rings at Rooney
Dorian Bell didn’t wait long to introduce himself to all-NEC running back Jordan Brown. 

One play after entering the game midway through the first quarter, Bell stuffed Bryant’s all-star ball carrier for no gain to bring up a 3rd-and-10.

Playing his first snaps since last November when he was at Ohio State, Bell made six tackles in Duquesne’s win over Bryant on Oct. 1.

Bell had been practicing with the Dukes since the summer when he transferred back home to his native western Pennsylvania and was recently cleared to play by the NCAA.

Related Link
Duquesne LB Bell activated; Dukes edge Bryant – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Dave Mackall)

NEC Weekly Audio Football NotebookNortheastConference.org

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