NEW BRITAIN - With a playoff spot clinched already, the CCSU football team still had Robert Morris left on its schedule with a seven-game winning streak on the line.
The Blue Devils didn’t skip a beat, ending their regular season with a convincing 42-14 win over the Colonials Saturday afternoon to finish with a program-best eight-game winning streak.
CCSU got big performances from quarterback Jacob Dolegala, running back Cameron Nash and wide receiver Courtney Rush to close out with an 8-3 regular season. All three of them accounted for multiple touchdowns in the game.
“You walked off the field last week and they handed you a trophy,” CCSU head coach Pete Rossomando said. “You got an automatic bid to the NCAA and now what do you do? Human nature says you relax right. You got two weeks to prepare and we had to get them out of that funk, I called it the hangover on Monday and Tuesday, and they did a good job rallying on Wednesday and Thursday and it showed on the field today.”
Nash set the tone on the ground in the first half with a pair of rushing scores, the first from 13 yards out and the second a long 50-yarder.
“We wanted to just keep that momentum rolling,” Nash said. “We knew they were a good defense and especially since their offense wasn’t as good, we knew that their defense would be on the field a lot and they could potentially be the best defense in the conference so we wanted to come out here, be physical and establish the run game.”
Nash went over 1,000 yards rushing on the season with 1,003 for the Blue Devils, becoming the first to do so for CCSU since Rob Hollomon in 2014.
In the game he finished with 140 rushing yards and scored a second-half touchdown to go along with his two in the first half.
It all started up front as the offensive line had a strong game with the Colonials not getting any pressure in the backfield regardless of what the playcall was for the Blue Devils.
“I thought the offensive line played very well,” Rossomando said. “I thought they played very well from start to finish, both in pass protection and in the run game.”
Dolegala had an accomplishment of his own in the game as the junior signal caller became the school’s all-time leading passer in terms of yardage with 5,908.
It didn’t take long for the game to get out of hand as the Blue Devils went into the half with a 28-7 lead.
The second half was no different.
On the first drive CCSU was faced with a 4th-and-17 and decided to go for it.
A stop for Robert Morris could have been a big momentum shifter for the Colonials and a conversion for the Blue Devils would have kept the momentum on their side and put them within 10 yards.
While true, CCSU made sure that didn’t happen and Dolegala threw a 25-yard touchdown strike to Rush, his second touchdown reception of the game.
Fittingly, the final touchdown for the Blue Devils was a run by Nash and with a 42-14 lead there was no looking back for CCSU.
Dolegala finished the game 11-for-24 with 182 yards and three touchdowns and had a big second half with two touchdowns passes looking poised in the pocket getting plenty of time to read the field.
The Blue Devils offense finished the game with 480 total yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, the yardage was there for Robert Morris with 304 total yards in the game but when the Colonials were driving, CCSU made a big stop on defense leading to the meager 14 points scored for Robert Morris.
The Blue Devils will find out who they play in the first round of the FCS playoffs this morning as the selection show is set for 11 a.m.
CCSU will enter the playoffs in a familiar role as underdogs; something they believe only helps them on the field.
“We’re gonna be the underdogs,” Nash said. “We’ve been the underdogs a lot this year and no pressure for us. We’re just going to play our game and as long as we play our game we feel like we can beat anybody.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan