Dukes Dropped by Dayton, 24-17

Duquesne's football completed the 2009 non-conference schedule Saturday with a 34-17 loss to Dayton at Welcome Stadium in Ohio. Senior Kevin Rombach entered the game late in the fourth quarter with Dukes trailing by 14. The opportunity for a tying touchdown with less than 10 seconds to go from the Flyers' 38 ended with a fourth down sack.

Box Score | GameTracker | Duquesne recap

The Dukes non-conference record is 1-2. The Dukes lost at Monmouth last Saturday in their sole Northeast Conference game.

Duquesne's defense spent 2/3 of the third quarter on the field as Dayton engineered three long drives for 171 yards while the Dukes' trio of chances were each 3-and-out with a net of minus-5 yards.

Senior Kevin Rombach replaced junior starter Connor Dixon with 5:39 left in the game and directed a nine-play 68-yard drive. The final play, with about two minutes left, was Kevin's five-yard pass to classmate Michael Rasky to get the Dukes within a TD, 24-17, On the final series, Rombach took the Dukes to Dayton's 38. The fourth down conversion, with time expiring, was unsuccessful.

Freshman Larry McCoy gained 118 yards on 14 plays, accumulating all but four of those in the first half. Senior Cleodis Williams had 29 yards on six carries.

Dixon was 8-of-19 for 89 yards and an interception on the almost-hail-mary pass on the penultimate play of the first half. Rombach was 12-of-15 for 84 yards and that TD.

Junior Jay Spinks caught five tosses for 45 yards. Rasky, Cleo Williams, junior Dave Williams and sophomore Brooks Roorback each had three catches for an average 25.8 yards.

Senior Nathan Totino had a team-best 12 tackles with sophomore Anthony Rhoades grabbing the opponent 10 times. Both teams had one turnover, each an interception, with the Dukes' possession change by junior Tyler Scruggs.

Freshman Eric Duale was 2-of-2 on PATS and 1-of-2 on field goals, from 32-yards away, each time.

The Dukes got off to a great start when McCoy rambled 67 yards for a touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage.

Dayton tied the score on a hookup by senior wide receiver-turned-quarterback Steve Valentino and classmate Justin Watkins for a 58-yard touchdown in the first minute of the second quarter.

Duquesne took a 10-7 lead via Duale's 32-yard field goal with 7:03 remaining before the break.

Dayton got the second half kickoff. On their fourth play, Valentino connected with sophomore Luke Bellman on a 62-yard pass and run for a touchdown and a 14-10 lead. Midway through the period, senior Nick Glavin hit a field goal, another 32-yarder.

Dayton (2-1) had the ball over 10 minutes in the period and gained 171 yards. Duquesne ran nine plays and netted minus-5 yards.

In the 10th minute of the fourth quarter, Flyers' freshman Brian Mack capped an 11-play, 71-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run. Glavin's extra point put the lead to 14 at 24-10.

Senior quarterback Kevin Rombach saw his first action of the game with 5:39 left. Rombach led the Dukes on a nine-play, 68-yard scoring drive, the last a five-yard pass to Rasky.

With 2:26 on the clock and all three timeouts, Duquesne, passed on the onside kick, trusting its weary defense to hold for a three-and-out. They did.

Rombach and the Dukes' offense got the ball on their own 18 with 1:56 remaining. They advanced to Dayton's 38. On 4th-and-2 with less than 10 seconds available, Rombach was sacked for the second time this day.

Valentino was 18-29 for 272 yards, two touchdowns with one interception. He also was Dayton's leading rusher with 76 yards via 20 touches, including two sacks for -19 yards.

Bellman and Watkins, the TD scorers, each gained over 100 yards via three passes. Senior James Vercammen had game-highs 15 tackles and seven solos. The Flyers sacked the Dukes' QBs five times for -44 yards.

Duquesne (1-3, 0-1) returns to Northeast Conference play next Saturday when it hosts crosstown rival Robert Morris in a Homecoming matchup at 1:00 p.m. on Rooney Field.

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