So the moniker “March Madness” is reserved for the NCAA tournament, but the first upset of this postseason occurred in the NIT — and it was truly mad. The Northeast Conference’s Robert Morris Colonials stunned the 2012 national champion Kentucky 59-57, setting a high bar for the Big Dance to meet.
So what does this have to do with college football? Well, as scheduling fate would have it, Kentucky could not host despite drawing the No. 1 seed. Rupp Arena is an opening weekend site for the NCAA tournament. Thus, the 8th seeded Colonials welcomed UK to their humble abode in Pittsburgh. As is customary in a major upset, the students rushed the floor.
Among them was Paul Jones, former Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback.
Just got to rush a court. Love my school! #RMU
— Paul Jones(@Paul_Jones_2) March 20, 2013
Jones was in competition with Matt McGloin for the starting job a year ago at this time, but opted for a transfer in the fall when Bill O’Brien toyed with the idea of moving him to tight end.
Jones pursued his goal of playing college quarterback. A four-star prospect out of McKees Rocks, Pa., Jones landed at Championship Subdivision program Robert Morris, just a few miles from his hometown.
Robert Morris was NEC champion in 2010, winning the conference’s first ever automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs. Last season, the Colonials struggled to a 4-7 finish. Jones could reignite some punch in a passing game that averaged just 172.5 yards per game in 2012. He will have top targets Donte Jeter and Duane Mitchell returning to spread the ball.
Returning to the FCS playoffs is surely a goal, and Paul Jones got some firsthand inspiration for postseason success from Robert Morris basketball.