PITTSBURGH — Standout performances by freshman quarterback Luca Stanzani and wide receiver Davon Wells led Long Island University to a 50-48 victory over Duquesne in double overtime on Saturday afternoon. It was LIU’s first win of the season, while the Dukes dropped to 2-6 on the season. The Dukes had numerous chances to win the game, but the defense just got gashed in the second half. Including overtime, Duquesne gave up 43 points after surrendering just seven points in the first half. Stanzani threw for 383 yards and four touchdowns, while Wells recorded over 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
With just under two minutes remaining, Dwayne Menders Jr. muffed the punt and LIU recovered the fumble at the Dukes’ 20-yard line. It was a drastic mistake at the worst possible time for Menders. Pat Bowen rushed for 20 yards on the next play to set LIU up at the 5-yard line. The Dukes made a remarkable defensive stand and forced a Michael Coney 23-yard chip shot field goal, which got blocked by Todd Hill. There was a low snap on the play and Hill broke through to block the kick to give Duquesne life. Mischler was unable to set up a game-winning field goal for Brian Bruzdewicz and LIU took over from its 31-yard line with 30 seconds remaining. Stanzani got the Sharks into Duquesne territory, but Coney’s 52-yard field goal went wide right. The kick had the distance but was just off target. The Dukes were tied with LIU, 35-35, at the end of regulation.
Stanzani connected to Tosin Ovekanmi for a 12-yard touchdown to give LIU a 42-35 lead in overtime. Mishler responded with a 22-yard touchdown to Joey Isabella to tie the game at 42-42. The touchdown pass came on fourth-and-7.
Duquesne scored again on its second possession in overtime, as Joe Michler found a wide-open Abdul Janneh in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown to put the Dukes up 48-42. Mischler’s pass on the two-point conversion fell incomplete. With it being double overtime, Duquesne had to go for two. Stanzani completed to Owen Glascoe for a 9-yard touchdown to tie the game at 48-48. On the two-point conversion, Stanzani rolled to the right and connected to Michael Love for the two-point conversion to win the game for LIU.
Duquesne got great field position to start the game, as Menders returned the opening kickoff 38 yards to LIU’s 42-yard line. Dukes quarterback Darrius Perrantes capped the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Janneh to give Duquesne an early 7-0 lead. Janneh’s touchdown grab was his eighth of the season.
After trading possessions, Mischler completed a 33-yard pass to Menders. A few plays later, Mischler found Menders again for a 34-yard touchdown to increase the Dukes’ lead to 14-0 with 14:39 remaining in the second quarter.
LIU elected to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Dukes’ 48-yard line, but Luca Stanzani’s pass fell incomplete, and the Sharks turned the ball over on downs.
LIU got the ball back a few plays later, as Victor Nelson Jr. picked off Mischler’s pass, and the Sharks took over from their own 31-yard line. The Dukes responded with a turnover of their own, as Duquesne forced a fumble and CJ Barnes came up with the loose ball at LIU’s 40-yard line.
Following a 42-yard missed field goal by Bruzdewicz, LIU finally got momentum offensively and drove down the field. LIU got deep into Dukes’ territory after a 42-yard completion to Davon Wells to set the Sharks up at the Dukes’ 8-yard line. Stanzani capped the drive with a 8-yard touchdown run off a read-option to cut the Duquesne’s lead to 14-7 with 1:14 remaining in the first half. The Dukes didn’t muster anything at the end of the half and went into halftime with a 14-7 lead.
The Dukes out-gained LIU 207-166 in the first half and had 14 first downs compared to the Sharks’ seven. Perrantes suffered an injury in the first quarter and was replaced by Mischler. Perrantes completed 3 of 4 passes for 34 yards and a touchdown, while Mischler was 11 of 13 for 139 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the first half.
On the opening drive of the second half, Stanzani threw a strike to Wells for a 64-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14. Stanzani completed to Wells while he was in stride, and he went the distance. With the touchdown, Wells had 149 yards receiving on the day with 12:27 remaining in the third quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Caleb Nartey picked off Mischler’s pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to give LIU its first lead of the game at 21-14.
Mischler threw his third interception of the game on the following possession. Mischler tried to float the ball over the middle and Nelson came out of nowhere to pick it off. It was Nelson’s second interception of the game.
A few plays later, LIU capitalized off the turnover with a 54-yard touchdown pass by Stanzani to Wells to enhance the Sharks’ lead to 28-14 with 6:17 left in the first quarter. It was the second 50-plus touchdown completion from Stanzani to Wells in the third quarter. LIU scored 28 unanswered points after trailing 14-0 in the second quarter,
Duquesne wide receiver Jalin Cooper answered with a 66-yard catch-and-run from Mischler to set the Dukes’ up at the 8-yard line. Mischler finished the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run off a quarterback draw to cut LIU’s lead to 28-21 with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter.
The Dukes’ defense continued to struggle, as LIU running back Pat Bowen ripped off a 44-yard touchdown run to put the Sharks back up by two scores at 35-21. Duquesne allowed a whopping 28 points in the third quarter.
Mischler completed a 32-yard pass to Isabella to set the Dukes up at LIU’s 18-yard line. A few plays later, Mischler found Menders in the flat for a 13-yard touchdown to make it a one possession game at 35-28 with 12:35 left in the fourth quarter.
Safety Ezekiel Daure came up with a huge defensive play on the ensuing drive, as he deflected Stanzani’s pass at the line of scrimmage and came up with an interception at LIU’s 29-yard line. Mischler capitalized off the turnover with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Isabella to tie the game at 35-35 with 9:19 remaining.
The Dukes’ host Saint Francis University (Pa.) next Saturday. Kickoff is at 12 p.m.