By Brittany Burke
Fourteen graduating seniors took to Arute field in front of family, friends and Blue Devils fans for the last time Saturday play Northeast Conference rivals, the Robert Morris Colonials. In the final home game of the season CCSU managed to snap a six-game losing streak, while handing RMU its fourth consecutive loss, 31-24.
While it was the last game for fourteen athletes, fifteen Blue Devils were honored in the pre-game ceremonies. The atmosphere around Arute grew solemn as the seniors lined up on the sidelines with family members flanking either side of them.
The first Blue Devil honored was number 94, Rich Royster. The 2011 season was dedicated to Royster, and it was his mother who met Head Coach Jeff McInerney and Athletics Director Paul Schlickmann at midfield.
Prior to the defeat of RMU, CCSU hadn’t won since Sept. 17 at Wagner, and the fans hadn’t seen a home win since the season opener against the Southern Connecticut State University Owls. The early lead provided by Brian Fowler’s 9-yard run was also the first lead since Oct. 8 in the loss against UMass.
Fowler, a graduating senior, had two touchdowns in the game and 91-yards. He finished second in rushing for the Blue Devils behind running back Chris Tolbert.
Tolbert had an explosive game, finishing with 162-yards rushing and 23-yards receiving. While it may have been senior day, it was the sophomore who had a career-high game, breaking the 100-yard mark for the first time.
David Sabilia and Raul Debenendittis also had a hand in securing points for the Blue Devils. Sabilia scored with under two minutes to play in the half following a 15-yard RMU personal foul. The seven points was the first for Sabilia, who plays both tight end and offensive linebacker.
Debenendittis on the other hand had the only touchdown in the third, which was dominated by the defense.
Over the past six weeks the Blue Devils had gotten away from the nitty-gritty fundamentals of football, but offensively things seemed to click for CCSU. Aside from Tolbert’s record game, the Blue Devils also racked up a season high 279-yards rushing.
Defensively there are things that still need to be worked on, but the team is continually building foundations for next year’s roster. While CCSU got up early, RMU managed to score 10 unanswered points, however following the half the team came out with an additional fire.
A Tyrell Holmes interception kept the Colonials out of the end zone and gave CCSU the chance to get more points on the board, resulting in a 31-yard field goal.
Prior to the half, RMU quarterback Jeff Sinclair had to be helped off the field and was later replaced for the remaining quarters by freshman back Matt Layman.
The Blue Devils now have momentum going into a bye week before traveling to Bryant to finish out the season.