Dukes stop the Red Flash late
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 23:10
Facing an eight-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, the Duquesne football team rallied against Saint Francis (Pa.) to earn its seventh consecutive Northeast Conference victory 24-21 Saturday at Rooney Field.
After Duquesne (4-1, 2-0) drove 66 yards to the Red Flash (2-3, 1-1) 3 yard line, Charlie Leventry nailed a chip-shot field goal to put Duquesne up three points with 32 seconds remaining in the game. The drive was sparked by quarterback Sean Patterson’s 30-yard pass to wide receiver Sean Brady that set the Dukes up with a first-and-goal from the SFU 4 yard-line.
Brady finished with six receptions for 95 yards. Patterson, who had 251 yards on 22 completions, was able to come back to his second or third option throughout the game, which allowed Brady time to break free.
“Sean did a really good job of reading the safeties and when the guy wouldn’t come over he would just feed the ball to us,” Brady said. “He found the open man, whether it was Gianni [Carter] or me and we were able to drive down the field late there.”
Freshman defensive back Josh Jordan sealed the game when he intercepted Saint Francis quarterback John Kelly with seven seconds left.
The Dukes were down 21-13 after Saint Francis halfback Keion Wade leapt over the line from two yards out for his third touchdown of the game, capping off a 13 play, 84-yard drive.
Duquesne halfback Larry McCoy answered with an impressive drive of his own, carrying the ball eight times for 44 yards and scoring his second touchdown of the game.
Patterson ran left on the 2-point conversion attempt and found Kyle Shuman drifting back to the right side of the endzone to tie the game at 21 with 6:47 remaining in the game.
McCoy ran for 126 yards, extending his school record of 23 100-yard rushing games. He only needs 157 yards to break Duquesne’s all-time rushing record of 4,260 yards set by Donte Small from 1998-2001.
The senior halfback deflected the credit to Duquesne’s offensive line, but Coach Jerry Schmitt admitted he does not know “what we’ll do without him next year.”
“We count on him being so solid, he’s like a comfort blanket for us,” Schmitt said. “We know we can depend on him being prepared and bringing his A-game each week like he did again today.”
McCoy was forced to leave the game for five plays in Duquesne’s final scoring drive after he rolled his ankle during an 11-yard pass. He returned for the final two plays of the drive, rushing both times for a combined two yards.
Schmitt said he does not know how severe the injury is, but McCoy said he will use next week’s bye to rehab and expects to be ready for the Dukes’ next game in two weeks.
With less than five minutes remaining, the Duquesne defense forced Saint Francis into a passing situation on third-and-eight. Kelly, who completed seven passes for 94 yards, could not hit a diving Franklyn Williamson for what would have been a first down.
Linebacker Dorian Bell said he was sure the defense would make a stand eventually, but acknowledged the team will need to play better in the first half to contend against conference powerhouses Albany and Monmouth later in the season.
“We struggled early, but we’re just really strong,” Bell said. “It was a whole defensive effort and we stepped up. We have heart and we’ll just need to use that throughout a whole game.”
Schmitt said the team will aim to fix giving up fresh downs after 3rd and long situations as it gets deeper into conference play.
“Sometimes it seems like we’re worse off in third and long. It seems like we just back off,” Schmitt said. “We have a few young guys in there. Two of our top three corners are hurt and they have been all year, but we have to get this corrected.”
Duquesne will go back on the road after a bye week to play Central Connecticut State at noon on Oct. 13 at CCSU.