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CHAMPS: Nehari Crawford’s Late Score Lifts Dukes to NEC Title

CHAMPS: Nehari Crawford’s Late Score Lifts Dukes to NEC Title

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Late in the game, with a conference championship and an FCS playoff berth on the line, the Duquesne Dukes put their game in the hands of one of their seniors.

Facing a third and eight near midfield, with 35 seconds to play, Duquesne needed a first down to stop the clock, keep moving the chains and set up a potential game-winning field goal.

Quarterback Daniel Parr dropped back and found senior wide receiver Nehari Crawford in between a pair of Central Connecticut State defenders for a long gain, a first down and would have easily put the Dukes in field goal range.

But Crawford wasn’t satisfied with that. He bounced off one defender, powered through the arm tackle of another, and scampered the rest of the way to paydirt for a 56-yard touchdown to make Duquesne 38-31 winners over the Blue Devils and secured a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs.

Crawford’s score capped off a back-and-forth second half. Duquesne went into the break with a 21-17 lead built on two A.J. Hines touchdown runs and a pass from Parr to freshman receiver Aidan Cain.

In the third quarter, Parr ran for a three-yard score to increase Duquesne’s lead, but CCSU wiped that out with an 18-yard pass from Jacob Dolegala to Tyshaun James.

Mitch Maczura booted a 23-yard field goal for the Dukes early in the fourth quarter, but Dolegala scored from five yards out to tie the game with 5:35 remaining.

GALLERY FROM BRIAN FOLEY:

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