September 25, 2011

St. Francis Pummeled

Maybe I’m just putting to much thought into it but I felt terrible writing the headline for this game. “St. Francis Pummeled” sounds like you’re about to read a story about a biblical stoning while cheering on the bad guys… “Dukes Dominate St. Francis” is even worse since it sounds like a bad horror movie featuring a couple of satanic-masochistic Dracula figures.

Any way you summarize it, after giving up an early lead to St. Francis, the game quickly became a highlight reel of big play offense for the Dukes. The stats speak for themselves as Duquesne opened conference play on TV and under the lights by racking up 553 Total yards. They could have had considerably more had they not started taking out their starters in the 3rd quarter.

Even with the show of offensive fire power, the biggest statistic of the night was contributed by the Duquesne defense in holding the nation’s leading Division I rusher Kyle Harbridge to just 76 yards and under 4 yards per carry. Last week Harnridge had a record-setting, 346 yards against Moorhead State. Amazingly, Harbridge wasn’t heavily recruited and had to make the team as a walk-on. Coming into the game he was ahead of South Carolina’s Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Lattimore with Duquesne’s Larry McCoy in 6th place nationally. Harbridge and Lattimore had been the only backs to pass 500 yards before yesterday’s game.

McCoy joined the 500 Club adding 153 yards to his new total of 542 before being taken out in the 3rd quarter. Opening up a lead took St. Francis out of their offensive game plan to lean on their star running back.

Duquesne showed a very balanced attack with 263 total yards running and 290 yards passing. Sean Patterson personally typified the balance with 290 yards through the air and another 75 rushing yards. This was even without rushing/receiving combo back Bill Bair who was held out of the game. It took Graduate student Conner Dixon only 4 receptions to reach 175 yards and 2 touchdowns. Isaac Spragg added 4 receptions and a TD while TE Brian Layhue pulled in the other touchdown pass of 17 yards. It almost seemed unfair as last minute substitute freshman cornerback Calvin Bane was mercilessly targeted early and often by the Dukes, particularly by Dixon who was more than a half foot taller.

Punter/Kicker Charlie Leventry continues to gain confidence as he gave Duquesne an early 6-0 lead before St. Francis took it’s only lead 7-6 after a muffed punt to give a short field TD. Leventry barely missed a try from 50 yards which would have been the longest recorded field goal for the Dukes. Leventry didn’t have much practice with his other duties with only 2 punts all night.

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