After strong win, Dukes lose again 28-27
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 00:11
Senior halfback Larry McCoy broke Duquesne’s all-time rushing record Saturday afternoon, but the Duquesne football team was not able to complement that milestone with a win at Rooney Field, as it dropped a tough one to Monmouth 28-27.
The Dukes (5-3, 3-2) started their final drive down one with 3:22 left and were able to take the ball to the Monmouth 38 yard-line. A quick 2-yard loss by McCoy and two straight incompletions by senior quarterback Sean Patterson made it fourth and 12. Patterson targeted sophomore wide receiver Dave Thomas on fourth down, but couldn’t come close to connecting with him over the middle, giving the Hawks (4-4, 3-2) the ball with just 2:02 left.
“This one hurts,” Patterson said. “But as men, we have to rally and come back. That’s what we plan on doing.”
After a lop-sided first half that had Duquesne down 14 points, the Dukes were able to take the lead after Monmouth punter Ryan Mohr fell on a botched snap, giving Duquesne the ball at the Hawks’ 17 yard-line. Four plays later, Patterson hit junior wide receiver Sean Brady over the middle for a 6-yard touchdown pass, putting the Dukes up 24-21 with 12:12 remaining.
But the lead would not last as Monmouth quarterback Kyle Frazier completed three passes for 65 yards on the ensuing drive. Halfback Julian Hayes finished the drive with a two-yard run for his second touchdown of the game, giving the Hawks a 28-24 lead they would not surrender.
McCoy described how disheartening it was to come up one point short after being down by double-digits at the half.
“It kills you,” McCoy said. “We fought for this and this was an important game. You know in the NEC, these are championship level games every week. It doesn’t matter who you play.”
McCoy passed Donte Small for first on Duquesne’s all-time rushing list not once, but twice. After initially breaking the record, McCoy was stuffed in the backfield for a four-yard loss. A 22-yard rush to the Monmouth eight yard-line in the fourth quarter would put the record to bed for good. He finished with 116 yards to bring his career total to 4,308.
“It’s definitely an honor,” McCoy said. “To pass a guy like Donte Small, I mean, he’s a legend around here. I can’t even explain it.”
Coach Jerry Schmitt said he was proud of McCoy’s performance and career.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better person,” Schmitt said. “He’s earned this and he’s done it the right way. He’s done it the way we expect kids to do it while in a Duquesne uniform.”
Schmitt also said he was frustrated the record was broken in a losing effort, especially in a game where Duquesne did not play a full 60 minutes yet again.
After allowing 217 yards, including 118 on the ground, in the first half, the Duquesne defense dominated the third quarter, forcing four three-and-outs while surrendering only eight total yards. The Dukes outscored Monmouth 20-7 in the half.
Schmitt said he cannot fathom why the Dukes cannot put a full game together.
“If I could figure out why we can’t play like that in the first half, I’d tell you,” Schmitt said. “I’ve been trying to figure that out all season.”
Duquesne dug itself into a hole early when Monmouth took advantage of a muffed punt by Thomas. Wide receiver Eric Sumlin dropped back to pass and hit Michael McLafferty at the 6-yard line for a 25-yard gain. Two Kwabena Asante carries would finish the drive and put the Hawks up 7-0 just 3:34 into the game.
After a Duquesne three-and-out, Monmouth extended its lead to 14-0 with a 23-play, 93-yard drive capped by a Hayes rush from 10 yards out. The Hawks converted four third downs during the 7:47 drive. Hayes, who finished with 158 yards, dominated the first half as he pounded his way to 108 yards on the ground.
The Dukes were able to crack the scoreboard with Patterson’s 9-yard pass to Thomas, cutting the lead in half. But Monmouth would respond with another long drive capped by Frazier’s 8-yard pass over the middle to Neal Sterling.
Duquesne will try to stay in striking distance of conference-leading Albany, who is undefeated in NEC play, as they travel to Moon Township to face city-rival Robert Morris at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.