The Duquesne Dukes have made it a habit as of late getting out of the gates slow and coming on strong in the fourth quarter. It’s not the ideal recipe for head coach Jerry Schmitt’s team, but it’s been working as the Dukes used another big fourth quarter performance to come from behind and defeat Saint Francis 24-21 in NEC Conference play.
“It’s certainly not the way we want to keep playing,” said Schmitt. “I don’t want to be in that situation all of the time. I’m glad we play well in the fourth quarter, but we made some mistakes along the way to put ourselves in that position.”
Throughout the game, the Duquesne defense had big problems getting off the field on third down and their offense, while they did well in between the 20’s, had a hard time finishing drives. But as has been the case all season so far, when their backs are against the wall, the Dukes bring out their best.
After Red Flash running back Keion Wade scored his third rushing touchdown of the game to extend the Saint Francis lead to 21-13 with just over 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Duquesne, running back Larry McCoy went to work.
McCoy, who became only the second rusher in Duquesne history to go over the 4,000 yard mark in his career, carried eight times for 48 yards on a 13-play, 84-yard drive that ate 6:22 off the clock.
The senior running back capped things off with a three-yard touchdown run and then quarterback Sean Patterson hit tight end Kyle Shuman with a pass on a two-point conversion to knot the game at 21.
“It’s funny, we keep talking about playing four quarters of good football,” said McCoy. “We don’t want to put two good quarters together or just the fourth quarter. But it seems like we have been saving our best for last. I will take it though as it’s a big win against a very good team.”
However with the game tied, the Duquesne defense still needed to make a stop.
Saint Francis had converted on 10 of their first 14 third down conversions in the game, but after picking up a first down on the ensuing drive, the Duquesne defense held strong and forced a Red Flash punt.
With just over two minutes left, quarterback Sean Patterson led the Dukes on an 11- play, 66-yard drive that included a big 30-yard completion to Sean Brady to set Duquesne up at the Saint Francis five-yard line.
That led a game-winning 20-yard field goal from Charlie Leventry, his third of the game.
“It seems like we do well in pressure situations,” said Patterson. “But football’s a fun game and there’s no need to feel pressure. We just keep coming together as a team and it seems like everyone steps up and makes plays late.”
The Red Flash got the ball back with 26 seconds left, but Josh Jordan picked off Saint Francis quarterback John Kelly to end the game.
“I told them at halftime that we have to play Duquesne football,” said Schmitt. “I got on them pretty hard at halftime. This is NEC football; you can win and lose games anyway. We ended up playing just good enough to win.”
The Dukes have next week off before traveling to take on Central Connecticut on October 13.
Notes: McCoy finished the game with 126 yards on 32 carries and a pair of touchdowns, but had to come out of the game on the go-ahead drive after rolling his ankle. McCoy says the injury is fine and won’t bother him…Paterson finished an efficient 22-of-31 throwing the football for 251 yards and also added 48 yards on the ground…Brady led the Dukes in receiving, catching six passes for 95 yards…Saint Francis entered the game with one of the best rushing attacks in Division I and ran for 226 yards as a team, led by Kelly who gained 103 yards on 14 carries, but he completed only 7-of-17 passes for 94 yards….Wade had 82 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns for the Red Flash…Linebacker Dorian Bell led the Dukes in tackles for the second consecutive week with 12 (10 solo)…Horvin Latimer also was in double digits in tackles with 10.
Score by Quarter
1 2 3 4 Final
Saint Francis 0 7 7 7 21
Duquesne 7 3 3 11 24
DUQ- Larry McCoy four-yard run (Charlie Leventry kick) 4:39 1st
SF- Keion Wade two-yard run (Josh Thiel kick) 1:46 2nd
DUQ- Leventry 37-yard field goal 0:03 2nd
SF- Wade six-yard run (Thiel kick) 7:08 3rd
DUQ- Leventry 30-yard field goal 4:06 3rd
SF- Wade two-yard run (Thiel kick) 12:44 4th
DUQ- McCoy three-yard run (Sean Patterson pass to Kyle Shuman) 6:54 4th
DUQ- Leventry 20-yard field goal 0:32 4th
Photo Credit: Duquesne