Monmouth Stops Dukes, 17-10, at the Shore

Duquesne's football team dropped the Northeast Conference (NEC) opener, 17-10, to Monmouth, Saturday afternoon at Kessler Field in West Long Branch, N.J. Cleo Williams broke century mark in first extended action of the season.

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Duquesne outgained Monmouth by 109 yards (387-278) but was unable to rebound from the team's four turnovers as the previously winless Hawks dropped the Red and Blue by a 17-10 mark, the identical score in the Dukes defeat at Louisiana's Nichols State.

The Dukes came very close to overcoming their four turnovers. They had the ball, fourth and seven, at the Monmouth 12 with less than 15 seconds to go. Kevin Rombach's pass to a well-guarded Isaac Spragg in the corner of the end zone was just a but too high.

Senior Cleodis Williams saw his first extended action of the season and gained 109 yards on 23 carries. Rombach, who was intercepted twice, was 22-of-36 for 252 yards and a touchdown.

Senior Michael Rasky led the game with six passes for 106 yards. Dave Williams, the NEC Co-Player of the Week after the Bucknell win, gained 92 yards on nine passes. But the junior had a pair of fumbles, one after a completed pass, the other a muffed return.

Senior linebacker Nathan Totino and junior safety Devin Duggan had six solo tackles apiece, eight all told for each. The Red and Blue freshmen kickers were solid. Charlie Leventry punted six times, once inside the 20, and averaged 34.0 ypk. Eric Duale kicked a 24-yard field and converted his one PAT attempt. His field goal gave the Dukes their first lead, 3-0, of the game. Rombach hit junior fullback Marek Lapinski to give Duquesne a 10-7 lead with 32 seconds left in the first half. Monmouth scored 10 unanswered in the third quarter.

Monmouth senior David Sinisi, an All-NEC preseason selection, gained 122 yards on 32 carries which moved him into second place on the leagues all-time rushing list. He also scored the first touchdown of the game. Quarterbacks Andrew Mandeville and Kyle Frazier,each seeing action every other series, were a combined 12-of-25 for 168 yards. Rodney Salomon caught five passes for 64 yards.

Kendall Haley returned a Rombach interception 65 yards for the winning score, breaking many Duquesne tackles along the way. Linebacker Brian Bratkowski matched Duggan and Totino's numbers: eight tackles, six solo.

Monmouth is now 1-2, 1-0 in the NEC.

Duquesne (1-2, 0-1) finishes their three-game road trip next Saturday, September 26th against the Pioneer Football League's 1-1 Dayton (like DU, an Atlantic 10 Conference member) at 1:00 p.m. in Ohio. The Flyers got a road win today, 21-14, over the NEC's Robert Morris.