Duquesne was competitive with Youngstown State, but All-American running back Jaleel McLaughlin was too much for the Dukes to handle, and Youngstown State pulled away with a 31-14 victory at Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
McLaughlin rushed for 203 yards on 20 carries (10.2 average) and three touchdowns. Duquesne quarterback Joe Mischler had an up-and-down game, as he completed 22 of 41 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns, but he threw three interceptions. Duquesne had two wide receivers that went over 100 yards receiving — Abdul Janneh caught eight passes for 121 yards (15.1 average) and two touchdowns, while Dwayne Menders recorded seven receptions for 102 yards (14.6 average). Duquesne struggled on the ground, rushing for just 51 yards on 25 carries (2.0 average).
Youngstown State out-gained Duquesne, 428-325, and won the turnover differential battle, 3-1. The Penguins racked up 274 yards rushing and averaged 6.7 yards per rush. In last week’s loss to Florida State, the Seminoles compiled 638 yards of offense and rushed for 406 yards.
Duquesne struck first on its opening drive, as Joe Mischler connected to Abdul Janneh for a 45-yard touchdown to put the Dukes up 7-0. Janneh burned Natavious Payne on the play. Youngstown State muffed the ensuing kickoff but avoided a disaster as the ball went out of bounds in the end zone and it was a touchback.
Youngstown State answered on its first possession with a 5-yard touchdown run by Jaleel McLaughlin to tie the game at 7-7 with 8:18 left in the first quarter. McLaughlin capped a 12-play, 76-yard drive.
Duquesne elected to go for it on fourth-and-2 from Youngstown State’s 43-yard line, and Mischler got picked off by Griffin Hoak. Mischler just had a bad read and never saw Hoak, as he threw it right to him.
Youngstown State got down to Duquesne’s 33-yard line on the following possession and turned the ball over on downs, as Demeatric Crenshaw’s pass intended for Latrell Fordham fell incomplete on fourth-and-7.
After a defensive stop, Crenshaw connected to Bryce Oliver for a 24-yard catch-and-run to get into Dukes’ territory. On third-and-8 from Duquesne’s 21-yard line, Ty Howard sacked Crenshaw for a 6-yard loss and forced a 45-yard field goal attempt. Colt McFadden’s kick went wide left.
Following McFadden’s missed field goal, Mischler threw his second interception of the afternoon, as his pass got deflected at the line of scrimmage and was picked off by Devin Johnson. Youngstown State took over from Duquesne’s 31-yard line. Four plays later on third-and-7, McLaughlin ran up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Penguins a 14-7 lead with 6:43 left in the first half.
Mischler led the Dukes 56 yards down the field on 11 plays, but the drive stalled, and Duquesne sent kicker Brian Bruzdewicz on the field for a 36-yard field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-2. Bruzdewicz’s kick went wide left.
With 1:27 left in the half, McLaughlin ripped off a 43-yard run down the right sideline to set up a 39-yard field goal by McFadden to give Youngstown State a 17-7 advantage at halftime.
McLaughlin, who is an All-American, rushed for 106 yards on 13 carries (8.2 average) and two touchdowns in the first half.
Duquesne forced a three-and-out on Youngstown State’s opening drive of the second half. The Dukes took over from their own 41-yard line following the punt, and Mischler marched the Dukes down the field and capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to his favorite target Janneh to cut Youngstown State’s lead to 17-14. Mischler completed three passes to Dwayne Menders for 38 yards on the scoring drive. On third-and-7 from Duquesne’s 44-yard line, Mischler completed to Menders on a middle screen pass for 17 yards. It was the perfect play-call, as Youngstown State came on a blitz and the middle of the field was wide open. On the next play, Mischler found Menders again for a 10-yard gain. Two plays later, Mischler connected to Menders for 11 yards to get inside Youngstown State’s 20-yard line.
A 41-yard completion from Crenshaw to Max Tomczak got the Penguins into Dukes’ territory. Youngstown State couldn’t capitalize off the big play, however, and settled for a field goal attempt that went haywire, as the holder was unable to handle the snap and Duquesne took over on downs.
It seemed like momentum was swinging toward Duquesne, but the Dukes turned the ball over on downs after a Mischler incompletion on fourth-and-1 from Youngstown State’s 27-yard line. Duquesne forced a three-and-out on Youngstown State’s following possession. Paddy Lynch had a 52-yard punt and put the Dukes at their own 32-yard line.
On third-and-5 from Duquesne’s 22-yard line, Mischler threw an ill-advised pass over the middle and got picked off by Johnson. It was Johnson’s second interception of the game and the third interception thrown by Mischler on the afternoon. Youngstown State capitalized off the turnover and extended its lead to 24-14 after a 2-yard touchdown run by Crenshaw off a read-option.
After Duquesne was unable to do anything on two consecutive possessions, McLaughlin put the game away with a 54-yard touchdown run.
The Dukes (0-2) will host Thomas More next Saturday before playing at Hawaii on Sept. 17. Kickoff for next week’s game is at 12 p.m. and it can be streamed on Front Row Sports.