Sacred Heart Stops Dukes, 29-17

PITTSBURGH - Sacred Heart, down 17-0 midway through the second quarter, scored 29 unanswered points to hand Duquesne its fourth consecutive defeat by a 29-17 score in front of a Homecoming crowd at Rooney Field.

Sacred Heart moved to 7-1 and 3-1 in the Northeast Conference with the win. Duquesne dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-4 in the NEC.

Dale Fink completed 27-of-34 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns to lead Sacred Heart. Steve Tedesco added a school record-tying 12 catches for 121 yards for the Pioneers who enjoyed a 39:20 to 20:40 advantage in time of possession in outgaining the Dukes 359-171.

Duquesne took the opening kickoff 74 yards for a score when Connor Dixon found a wide open Michael Rasky in the end zone from 29 yards out.

On the ensuing possession, Akeem Moore picked of a Fink pass and returned it 79 yards to the Sacred Heart 10. Three plays later, Dixon hit Conrad Carter on a four-yard slant to put the Dukes up 14-0 with 5:30 to go in the first quarter.

Sacred Heart drove again, but was stopped when Willie Milhouse picked off a Fink pass in the end zone. Duquesne then took the ball 65 yards to take a 17-0 lead on a 41-yard Mark Troyan field goal.

The Pioneers advanced to the red zone for the third consecutive time, this time Fink hit Evin Jones with a 19-yard screen pass to cut the Duquesne lead to 17-7 midway through the second quarter.

Duquesne snapped the ball out of the end zone out of punt formation at the 6:51 mark of the second quarter to make the score 17-9.

SHU then took the free kick and looked to be stopped at the Duquesne 13 when Fink - the holder for a field goal attempt - took the snap, jumped up and tossed the ball to a wide open Brian Freedman along the right sideline for a score to cut the Duquesne lead to 17-15 at the half. Sacred Heart, whose two-point conversion attempt failed, converted a fake punt to keep the drive alive.

SHU, behind 169 yards passing from Fink, outgained Duquesne 231-130 in the first half.

The Pioneers drew the Dukes offside on fourth down to keep their opening drive of the second half alive. The drive ended with a one-yard Jones dive to give Sacred Heart its first lead of the game at 22-17.

Sacred Heart then drove 99 yards in 12 plays to make it 29 unanswered points on a one-yard Jones plunge.

Duquesne took advantage of three Sacred Heart personal fouls on one play to drive to the Sacred Heart seven midway through the fourth quarter, but was turned away when Dixon was intercepted in the end zone on fourth-and-goal.

Dixon, who was 5-of-5 for 72 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, finished 9-of-24 for 107 yards. He was intercepted three times.

Milhouse led all tacklers with 13 (8 solo). DU's Cleodis Williams led all ballcarriers with 81 yards on 17 carries.

Duquesne (2-4, 1-3) heads to Smithfield, R.I. for a non-conference game at Bryant (4-4) next Saturday. Kickoff is set for Noon.

SACRED HEART	0	15	14	0	29
DUQUESNE	14	3	0	0	17


RUSHING (Att./Yds./TD):
DU - Williams (17-81-0)
SH - Jones (26-74-2)

PASSING (Att./Comp./Int./Yds./TD):
DU - Dixon (24-9-3-107-2)
SH - Fink (34-27-2-268-2)

DU - Roberson (6-76-2)
SH - Tedesco (3-39-0)

TACKLES (Tot./Solo):
DU - Milhouse (13/8)
SH - Davis (6/2)


  • Sacred Heart, which was intercepted at the Duquesne 11 and in the DU end zone on its first two possessions, scored on its next four possessions (sandwiched around a one play "take a knee" at the end of the first half) to score 29 unanswered points
  • SHU held the ball for 12:17 of the third quarter on its way to a 39:20 to 20:40 time of possession advantage for the game
  • Sacred Heart's Evin Jones, who entered the game as the nation's eighth-leading rusher at 122.57 ypg., was held to 74 yards on 26 carries (2.8 ypc.)
  • The loss ended Duquesne's (2-5) streak of consecutive winning seasons at 14 ... only two other FCS schools - Eastern Kentucky and Montana - entered the 2008 season with longer streaks
  • The four-game losing streak is DU's longest since the 1993 team, playing its first season after moving from Division III to I-AA non-scholarship, dropped five in a row in finishing 4-6 ... that was also DU's last non-winning season ... with three games remaining, the best Duquesne can finish is 5-5
  • Sophomore quarterback Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) completed 5-of-5 passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns (29 and 4 yards) in the first quarter as DU jumped out to a 14-0 lead ... he was 4-of-19 for 35 yards and was picked off three times over the final three quarters ... his 107 yards passing were a season-low ...despite the rough outing, Dixon still managed to throw multiple touchdown passes for the sixth time in seven games ... he now has 18 TD tosses this season
  • Junior tailback Cleodis Williams (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle) rushed 17 times for a game high 81 yards (4.8 yards per carry)
  • Sophomore safety Willie Milhouse (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone) had and game and career high 13 tackles (8 solo) to go along with his first career interception ... the interception, which was made in the end zone, led to a 41-yard field goal that put the Dukes up 17-0
  • Sophomore linebacker Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle), extended his double-digit tackles streak to seven games with 11 stops (5 solo) ... it was the first time Totino did not lead DU in tackles this season ... Totino is now averaging 14.4 tackles per game
  • Freshman safety Akeem Moore (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood) returned a first quarter interception 79 yards to the Sacred Heart 10 ... Moore leads the Dukes with three picks on the season
  • Junior tight end Sean Bunevich (North Ridgeville, Ohio/North Ridgeville) was forced to leave the game with 12:00 left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury ... Bunevich, who had two catches for 35 yards, entered the game with a team-best average of 18.2 yards per catch.

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