After scuffling a bit in week one, the Marian offense looked like a fine-tuned machine to start the home opener. Luke Johnston led the Knights down the field on a 10 play, 71 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass to Johnny William for an early Knight lead. On the ensuing drive, Robert Morris was forced to punt and after a fumble on the snap, Marian took over at the RMU 23. Once again, Johnston capped the drive with a touchdown pass to William, extending the Knights’ lead to 14.
All signs pointed to Marian running away with the game, but the Eagles nearly Robert Morris benefitted from a roughing the kicker penalty, which gave the Eagles new life on the following drive. RMU made the most of it, taking the ball down and scoring on a nine play, 65 yard drive. Five of the next seven drives ended in punts for the two teams, while Derrick Short picked of Kenyatte Allen on pne and William fumbled the ball on another.
With five minutes to play in the half, the Knights put together a quality drive led by Maurice Woodard. The running back rumbled 20 yards, breaking multiple tackles in the process en route to the end zone, which put Marian ahead by 14 once more. However, Robert Morris had one final drive before the half and Allen hit Tristen Jeffries in the back of the end zone with five seconds to play to bring Robert Morris back within seven.
A quick three-and-out by the Marian defense opened the second half on the right foot and the offense followed with another touchdown. Charles Salary finished the drive with a 14 yard touchdown run to close the five play, 62 yard drive. Later in the quarter, Johnston and William connected on a 52-yard pass play and Tristan Tonte finished it off with a six-yard touchdown run to make it 35-14. Marian stopped Robert Morris on a fourth down inside the 10-yard line to finish the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Johnston found William for a 60-yard touchdown catch-and-run. William is the first Knight with three touchdown receptions in a game since Krishawn Hogan accomplished the feat on Nov. 5, 2016 at St. Francis (Ill.). Later in the quarter, Johnston found Brandon Dillon for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Robert Morris scored twice in the final frame, but it was not enough as the Knights defeated the Eagles for the third time in two years on St. Vincent Field.
William was electric, snagging 10 balls for 197 yards and three touchdowns, while Johnston finished 18-for-28 for 290 yards and four touchdowns. Three running backs went over 70 yards as Salary led the way with 115, eclipsing the century mark for the second-straight game. Austin Ginther led the defense with 6.5 tackles and Short contributed 5.5 to go along with his interception.
Marian gained 542 yards of offense compared to RMU’s 374. The Knights were exceptional on third down, converting 8-of-12, while Robert Morris was 5-of-16 and 0-of-3 on fourth down.
Marian has a bye week coming up, but will return to action Sept. 23 at Olivet Nazarene. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET.