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Duquesne Football

Duquesne Smashes Wagner on Senior Day, 33-0

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PITTSBURGH — Duquesne ended the 2022 season on a high note, as the Dukes dominated Wagner, 33-0, on Saturday afternoon at Arthur J. Rooney Field. The Dukes finished the year with a 4-7 record, which marks their first losing season since 2012. It’s also only the fifth losing season by Duquesne over the last 30 years.

“I don’t think you have enough time to hear all the things that we (wanted) to correct throughout (this) season and all the things that happened,” Duquesne head coach Jerry Schmitt said on what contributed to a 4-7 record. “Some of it (was) in our control, a lot of it out of our control. So, we’re going to learn how to handle those things better and win those fourth-quarter games. We had a bunch of those.”

While it was a trying season, Schmitt was glad that his seniors were able to head out with a victory.

“It’s really good to send our seniors out this way, guys that don’t have any eligibility left,” Schmitt said. “It’s their last game on Rooney Field here. They’ve won a lot of good games, so to go out this way is really good. And it’s good for us moving into the offseason.”

Dukes’ quarterback Joe Mischler had a solid outing, completing 9 of 20 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Billy Lucas and wide receiver Dwayne Menders Jr. also had big games, as they both had 100-yard performances. Lucas rushed for 119 yards on 17 carries (6.7), while Menders had three receptions for 116 yards (38.6 average).

The Dukes got on the scoreboard first, as Mischler connected to Menders for an 18-yard touchdown to give Duquesne an early 7-0 lead. Menders ran a corner route, and Mischler put the ball right where it needed to be in the end zone for the score.

Wagner had an errant snap on a punt late in the first quarter, which resulted in Duquesne taking over at the Seahawks’ 45-yard line. The Dukes capitalized off the mishap with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Mischler to Nick Leopold to increase Duquesne’s lead to 14-0 with 13 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Duquesne was set up with great field position at Wagner’s 40-yard line after a shanked punt by Dylan Hach. On the second play of the drive, Mischler threw a strike over the middle to Menders, who came up with a spectacular contested catch for a gain of 38 yards. The Dukes got down to the 3-yard line, but the drive stalled and they settled for a 22-yard field goal by Brian Bruzdewicz to bolster their lead to 17-0 with 5:20 left in the first half.

Late in the second, Billy Lucas ripped off a 43-yard run up the middle to set the Dukes up at the 6-yard line. Two plays later, Mischler completed a swing pass to Lucas for a 4-yard touchdown to give Duquesne a commanding 24-0 lead.

Duquesne cornerback CJ Barnes picked off Jordan Murrell’s Hail Mary pass to end the half. Duquesne simply dominated in the first half, as the Dukes had 10 first downs compared to Wagner’s three and out-gained the Seahawks, 211-44. Mischler completed 8 of 13 passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns, while Billy Lucas rushed for 66 yards on 11 carries (6.0 average).

To open up the second half, Mischler completed a 60-yard pass to Menders on a middle screen to set the Dukes up at the 22-yard line. JaMario Clements capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to enhance Duquesne’s lead to 30-0. The extra point was no good.

Andrew Smith added to Duquesne’s lead with a 29-yard field goal at the 5:10 mark of the third quarter.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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