PITTSBURGH — Duquesne football head coach Jerry Schmitt became the winningest coach in the Dukes history on Saturday, as his Dukes beat Saint Francis, 30-21.
Schmitt, now with 98 career wins, passed former Duquesne coach Greg Gattuso (97) with the Dukes’ win over the Red Flash in his 15th season with the program.
It wasn’t always pretty for the Dukes (6-2, 4-0 in NEC) on Saturday, but they made enough plays on both sides of the ball to come out on top.
The Red Flash (4-5, 2-3) were the first to crack the scoreboard when quarterback Jason Brown hit E.J Jenkins for 51 yards, followed by a throw to Ra’Shaun Henry for a 17-yard touchdown to give Saint Francis a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
The Dukes came right back with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Parr to Kellon Taylor on the next possession. The touchdown to Taylor was set up by a 34-yard pass and catch from Parr to Dominic Thieman.
The Dukes defensive unit held their own for much of the first half and gave their offense a number of opportunities with solid field position.
Duquesne took advantage of a short field with just under eight minutes left in the half, when Mitch Maczura connected on a 28-yard field goal.
On the Red Flash next possession, Duquesne safety Spencer Demedal landed a big hit on SFU running back, Tank Williams, who lost the football on the play. The ball was recovered by the Dukes on the Red Flash 36-yard line.
Following the fumble, the Dukes took the ball down to the two-yard line and Parr ran it in the end zone to bump their lead to 17-7.
Saint Francis responded with a 71-yard touchdown pass — again from Brown to Henry.
Duquesne took a 20-14 lead into the break, after a 41-yard field goal from Jacob Gill.
SFU’s Brown found EJ Jenkins for a 7-yard touchdown, on the first possession on the second half to give the Red Flash a 21-20 lead.
The back and forth action continued, when the Dukes scored on their first offensive possession of the second half as well.
Parr hit Kareem Coles Jr. on a 16-yard pass in the back corner on the end zone. Coles Jr. went up and caught the ball at its highest point, over two Red Flash defenders.
At the end of a 32-yard run by Parr, the Dukes quarterback dove and injured his shoulder on the play. Backup Brett Brumbaugh, stepped in for the injured Parr.
Maczura connected on a another field-goal for the Dukes, this time a 27-yard kick.
The fireworks settled down in the fourth quarter. The Dukes were able to hold off the Red Flash in the final frame.
Duquesne held Saint Francis to just 23 yards on the ground.
For the Dukes, they were led by Taylor, who had over 100 receiving yards for the first time in his Duquesne career. He ended the game with eight catches and 101 receiving yards.
The Dukes, who are now 4-0 in the NEC conference, will travel to Robert Morris next week. The Colonials are also 4-0 in conference play. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. in Moon Township, Pa.