Dukes Top Siena 17-7
Sept. 14, 2002
ALBANY, NEW YORK - Duquesne's defense came up with its second strong performance in as many weeks to help the Dukes overcome five turnovers in a 17-7 MAAC Football League-season opening win at Siena.
True freshman Ben Palumbo (Canton, Ohio / McKinley), forced into action due to an injury to starting quarterback Niel Loebig (McDonald, Pa. / South Fayette), completed 12-of-24 passes for 171 yards and junior running back Mike Hilliard (Homer Center, Pa. / Homer Center) carried 28 times for a career-high 102 yards to pace the DU offense. The victory upped the Dukes' record to 2-0 (1-0 in the MAAC) and extended DU's league win streak to 17 games.
Palumbo, who replaced Loebig on the second series of the game, led the Dukes on a 10-play, 26-yard drive to set up a 35-yard Earl Bellisario (Oakmont, Pa. / Riverview) field goal to put DU up 3-0 with 6:46 left in the second quarter. Hilliard then capped a 65-yard drive with a nine-yard TD run with 1:03 left in the second quarter to put the Dukes up 10-0 at the half. The DU defense, which held Siena to 40 yards rushing on 42 carries on the day, limited the Saints to just 17 yards on the ground in the opening 30 minutes.
Siena pulled to within three with an eight-play, 87-yard drive in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, with Chris Karolus' eight-yard pass to Charles Reese ending the drive at the 11:42 mark. Duquesne's defense held Siena in check until the Dukes' took over at the Siena 29 following a six-yard punt return by Randy Vulakovich (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Shaler) with 3:06 left. Palumbo then hit Jeremy Conley (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Allderdice) for 27 yards, setting up Matt Hrutkay's (South Plainfield, N.J. / Immaculata) two-yard run with 1:45 to go to seal the win. Loran Cooley (Pittsburgh, Pa. / East Allegheny) and Yardon Brantley (Reading, Pa. / Reading Central Catholic) led DU with three catches each, while Conley pulled in two passes for a game-high 54 yards.
Senior linebacker Trent Wissner (Beaver Falls, Pa. / Blackhawk) led the DU defense with 12 tackles (5 solo). Defensive tackle John Rodgers (Moon Township, Pa. / Moon) notched his second consecutive double-digit tackle game with 11 stops (5 solo). The DU defense posted 15 tackles for loss on the day, led by Wissner, Mitchell Zobb (Pittsburgh, Pa. / North Hills) and Bill Arbogast (Beaver Falls, Pa. / Blackhawk) with three each.
The Dukes outgained the Saints 312-to-124 and enjoyed a 21-6 edge in first downs. Turnovers were the difference, with Duquesne losing four fumbles and throwing one interception, while Siena did not turn it over on the afternoon.
Duquesne (2-0, 1-0 MAAC) returns to Pittsburgh for next Saturday's game with Marist (2-0, 1-0 MAAC) at 1:30 p.m. on DU's Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field.
BY QUARTER 1 2 3 4 FINAL DUQUENSE 0 10 0 7 17 SIENA 0 0 0 7 7