The Duquesne Dukes completed the 4-0 regular season Sunday after their 20-10 road win over the Bryant Bulldogs. It marks the first 4-0 start in Jerry Schmitt’s career with the Dukes.
In the pouring rain from start to finish, the game saw 97 rushes to just 28 passes and a total completion percentage of just 43 percent.
“It was a challenge to throw it for our quarterback and catching it was a challenge,” Schmitt said. “It was steady rain, so pretty much both teams were trying to keep the ball on the ground.”
The Dukes ran for 225 yards on the ground to the Bulldogs 235 rushing yards. Graduate transfer running back Garrett Owens ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Freshman running back Billy Lucas added 110 yards and a touchdown of his own on 26 carries.
“It always part of the game plan to get both those guys involved based on how the game flows and the number of carries and catches that they get,” Schmitt said. “But what happened today was Garrett got banged up a little bit and while he was getting taped, Billy had a very productive afternoon and we just kept rolling with him.”
Duquesne’s senior wide receiver Cyrus Holder caught three passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. Freshman wide receiver Abdul Janneh was the only other Duquesne player with a reception, with a catch for 6 yards.
Bryant junior running back Daniel Adeboboye carried their offense with 25 attempts for 180 rushing yards and their only touchdown. He left the game with an injury late in the fourth quarter.
Adeboboye opened the scoring when he broke an outside run 38 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive.
Later in the first, Owens busted through the Bryant defense for a 13-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7.
Then, Holder hauled in a touchdown in the flat from 2 yards out to give the Dukes a 13-7 lead following a missed extra point that they took into halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, Bryant’s senior kicker Luke Samperi cut Duquesne’s lead to 13-10 with a 22-yard field goal, making up for a missed 36-yarder at the end of the first half.
Lucas scored his first career touchdown with 10 minutes left in the game on a 2-yard rush up the middle that gave the Dukes a 20-10 lead and finished the scoring.
A fumble by sophomore quarterback Joe Mischler gave the Bulldogs life in the fourth quarter, but their hopes of a comeback were cut short by interceptions by senior safety Spencer DeMedal and graduate transfer cornerback Ryan Webb.
With the win, the Dukes clinched home field advantage for the NEC Championship game. The date and the Dukes’ opponent has yet to be determined.
“First, we wanted to win the football game,” Schmitt said, “because it’s a game right in front of us and then going undefeated was really important to our football team for the regular season even though it was a shortened. We’re ecstatic to be the number one seed and host the championship game.”