BROOKINGS, S.D. -Duquesne dropped a 51-13 decision to perennial power South Dakota State in the 2017 season opener on Thursday night at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
The Jackrabbits, the highest-ranked Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent Duquesne has ever faced, came into the game fourth in the STATS FCS Top 25 and sixth in the FCS Coaches Poll.
South Dakota State scored thegame's first 34 points with three touchdowns in the opening quarter followed by two scores in the second period.
The Dukes would answer with their first score when quarterback Tommy Stuart (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) connected with junior wide receiver Nehari Crawford (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central) on a two-yard touchdown pass with 2:22 to play in the first half.
The touchdown, Stuart's first in a Duquesne uniform, capped a six-play, 65-yard drive. The score was set up by a pair of big pass plays, as Stuart found senior wide receivers Chavas Rawlins (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) and Thomas Lucas (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) for completions of 29 and 30 yards, respectively.
After taking the 34-7 advantage into the locker room, South Dakota State added two more touchdowns to open the second half to push its lead to 48-7.
Duquesne responded with another Stuart touchdown pass, this time to junior Kareem Coles (San Diego, Calif./Madison) over the middle on a 31-yard strike. The score marked Coles' first career touchdown. The Jackrabbits would block the extra point attempt, as the Dukes minimized the deficit to 48-13 with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter. Rawlins again played a part in the six-play, 81-yard march, recording catches of 21 and 14 yards for the Dukes.
South Dakota State closed scoring with a 23-yard field goal by Chase Vinatieri early in the fourth quarter.
Stuart completed 14-of-22 passes for 175 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception in his Duquesne debut.
Rawlins paced the Dukes with six receptions for 83 yards, both figures representing a career-high.
Sophomore running back A.J. Hines (Wilson, N.C./Fike) rushed 13 times for 34 yards on the night.
Senior defensive back Malik Shegog (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) recorded his seventh career interception for Duquesne in the second quarter.
Jackrabbits quarterback Taryn Christion was 17-of-26 for 254 yards, throwing for five touchdowns to go with an interception. The 2016 Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) Player of the Year also led all players with 96 rushing yards on three carries.
Jake Wieneke caught four touchdown passes for South Dakota State. He had six receptions for 75 yards on the game. In addition, Wieneke set the Jackrabbits school record for career receptions in the second quarter of the contest.
The game's attendance of 12,218 marked the sixth-largest road crowd the Dukes played in front of at the FCS level.
Duquesne returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Valparaiso.