The Duquesne Dukes started building momentum as a team with a pair of non-conference wins over Dayton and Valparaiso in consecutive weeks as they prepared to enter Northeast Conference play.
Behind a balanced offensive attack and a defense that forced four turnovers, the Dukes stayed hot as they came away with a big 35-21 road win against Bryant University, getting Duquesne off to a 1-0 start in the conference.
Quarterback Sean Patterson threw for 247 yards and a pair of scores and running back Larry McCoy continued his rise up the Duquesne record book, rushing for 154 yards and a pair of scores to lead the Dukes.
Similar to the past two weeks, Duquesne found themselves down early but have shown the ability to become a very good second half team and that was the case Saturday afternoon thanks large in part to the Dukes’ defense making big plays to get their offense going.
Duquesne (3-1, 1-0) trailed 21-17 entering the fourth quarter but Reggie Eiland forced a fumble from Bryant (0-4, 0-2) running back Jordan Brown that was recovered by Dorian Bell, who tied for the team-high with 13 tackles (Chidozie Oparanozie) on the afternoon. That led to a Charlie Leventry field goal to pull the Dukes within one. However the Duquesne defense didn’t wait long to strike again as middle linebacker Horvin Latimer picked off Bulldogs’ quarterback Mike Westerhaus, Latimer’s second interception in as many weeks.
That was all the Dukes needed as McCoy struck for the biggest play of the game, breaking a 54-yard touchdown run with just under four minutes remaining in the game. Patterson hit Gianni Carter with the two-point conversion to put the Dukes up 28-21 and then McCoy put the fork in the Bulldogs back, scoring from seven-yards out with 2:08 left to play to put Duquesne up 35-21.
But it wasn’t that easy for the Dukes.
Brown put the Bulldogs up 7-0 on Bryant’s first drive of the game with an eight-yard touchdown run and things stayed that way until Patterson hit Sean Brady with a 23-yard scoring strike in the second quarter to knot the game at seven. Duquesne took a brief lead on their next drive as they converted a Derrick Lakins interception into a seven-yard touchdown pass from Patterson to Noel Oduho.
But the Bulldogs tied the game shortly before the half when Westerhaus hit Jordan Harris with a 20-yard touchdown.
Leventry gave the Dukes a brief 17-14 lead in the third quarter with a 27-yard field goal, but Westerhaus answered quickly, connecting with Harris again, this time for a nine-yard score to put Bryant up 21-17.
But the Duquesne defense stepped up and made a pair of big fourth quarter plays and the recipe was the same as it has been in the previous two weeks- lean on McCoy in the fourth quarter. The senior running back delivered with a 26 carry, 154 yard performance, making him the all-time leader in 100-yard games in Duquesne history with 22. In addition, McCoy now sits second on the Dukes’ all-time rushing list.
He wasn’t the only star for the Dukes on the afternoon as Patterson continued his good play, completing 22-of-36 passes for 247 yards and the pair of scores, with eight of his completions going to Carter for 84 yards.
Westerhaus threw for 276 yards for the Bulldogs, but his two interceptions proved costly. Bryant also had a 100-yard rusher as Brown finished with 105 and Harris caught seven passes for 136 yards, but both Brown and Harris had costly lost fumbles for the Bulldogs. Duquesne turned the four Bryant turnovers into 18 points.
Duquesne returns home next Saturday to take on St. Francis University (2-1, 1-0) who travels to Towson Saturday night.
10:55 — BRY – Brown 8 yd run (Kozlowski kick), 9-77 (4:05) — 0-7
11:39 — DUQ – Brady 23 yd pass from Patterson (Leventry kick), 7-80 (3:16) — 7-7
5:14 — DUQ – Oduho 7 yd pass from Patterson (Leventry kick), 10-38 (4:42) — 14-7
0:40 — BRY – Harris 20 yd pass from Westerhaus (Kozlowski kick), 8-71 (2:45) — 14-14
9:11 — DUQ – Leventry 27 yd field goal, 15-66 (5:49) — 17-14
2:18 — BRY – Harris 9 yd pass from Westerhaus (Kozlowski kick), 13-71 (6:47) — 17-21
6:15 — DUQ – Leventry 39 yd field goal, 13-75 (4:29) — 20-21
3:53 — DUQ – McCoy 54 yd run (Patterson to Carter conversion), 2-53 (:49) — 28-21
2:08 — DUQ – McCoy 7 yd run (Leventry kick), 3-46 (:57) — 35-21
Photo Credit: Duquesne