Dukes Run Over by CCSU, 35-23

For the third straight week, Duquesne has been unable to stop their Northeast Conference opponent's running game as Central Connecticut State downed the Dukes, 35-23, Saturday afternoon in front of a homecoming crowd at CCSU's Arute Field in New Britain, Conn.

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Three weeks in a row, Duquesne has gone up against a top runner in a Northeast Conference game and each time have come away on the short end of the straw.

This time it was Central Connecticut State junior James Mallory who was held to "just" 126 yards with three touchdowns.

    Albany's David McCarty gained 230 yards and Robert Morris's Myles Russ accumulated 246 yards in the prior two games.

The Blue Devils, who netted 307 yards rushing on the day, got their other two scores on the ground, by senior Jose Vargas, and a 72-yard scamper by CCSU quarterback Hunter Wanket. Wanket, who has a better passing game, shares the play-calling duties with classmate Aubrey Norris, who gained 53 yards on seven carries.

The Dukes had a decent game offensively but were on the field for just 24+ minutes. Junior Cleodis Williams got back over the century mark with 139 yards on 20 carries. Sophomore Connor Dixon was 19-of-31 for 198 yards and three touchdowns, two by senior Alex Roberson (6/76). Michael Rasky caught the other score, a 14-yarder.

Senior Nathan Totino, who entered the game second in the FCS (previously I-AA) with 14.8 tackles per game, led all players with 16 takedowns, nine solo. He has recorded 10-or-more in all six games this season.

There were three turnovers, one each by top ballcarriers Williams and Mallory. The third occurred after Dixon and Roberson combined for a 43-yard play to the CCSU one-yard line with just under five minutes to go in the game and DU trailing 28-17.

    The broadcasters questioned whether or not the ball came out after Roberson was down. Moot point since no official replay in the NEC. The game was videostreamed by CCSU but unlikely any camera shot would have resolved the questions

Three plays later, Wanket broke the game open with his 72-yard score, the host team up 35-17 with 3:02 to play.

Roberson's second tally got the Dukes within 12. Dixon's attempt to sneak for the two-point conversion was unsuccessful leaving the score at 35-23.

The Blue Devils ran out the clock after securing the onside kick.

Central Connecticut opened the scoring with a 69-yard, all rushing drive capped by Mallory's three-yard run. Duquesne answered with a balanced drive of 11 plays for 62 yards. On fourth and two, DU settled for a Mark Troyan field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 with 4:03 remaining in the opening period.

Vargas and Malory scored from five and two yards out, respectively, in the second quarter for a 21-3 lead. Dixon hit Roberson from the five yard line to make the tally 21-10, with 1:32 left before the break.

Mallory's one yard run was the only score in the third quarter. Dixon connected with Rasky for 14 yards with 8:38 to go in the fourth and the deficit, 28-17. The teams, as explained above, exchanged scores in the final 3:08 of the game.

Both kickers, CCSU's Joe Izzo and DU's Troyan were perfect on the day.

Duquesne (2-4, 1-3) returns to Rooney Field for a 1:00 p.m. game on Saturday, October 28, 2008, on Duquesne's own homecoming weekend.


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