Dukes Drop Top-Ranked Dayton, 35-28
Sept. 28, 2002
DAYTON, OHIO - Jeremy Conley's 10-yard touchdown reception with :09 left capped a record-setting afternoon as Duquesne withstood four second half turnovers to defeat top-ranked Dayton 35-28 at Welcome Stadium. The Dukes, who entered the game ranked No. 2 among the nation's I-AA Mid-Major schools by The Sports Network, upped their record to 4-0, while Dayton, who held the top spot all season, dropped to 3-1.
It was all Conley for the Dukes as the senior receiver caught nine passes for a school-record 245 yards on the afternoon.
Duquesne took control early, scoring on its first two possessions as Conley led the way with four catches for 138 yards on the two drives. The first drive, a 95-yarder, featured Conley grabs of 28 and 54 yards punctuated by an 11-yard touchdown run by Mike Hilliard. On DU's next possession, Conley caught passes of 30 and 26 yards to set up another Hilliard scoring run, this one from 3 yards out. Following a Dayton field goal, the Dukes took a 21-7 lead to the locker room when quarterback Niel Loebig hit Michel Warfield with a 22-yard scoring strike with :47 remaining.
Dayton took advantage of Duquesne miscues to get back in the game in the second half. The Flyers kicked a pair of field goals and then scored on a 14-yard fumble return to cut the Duquesne lead to 21-19 before tying the game on a two-point conversion with 14:41 to go in the game. The field goals followed the interception of a tipped Loebig pass and a recovery of a Hilliard fumble.
With the score tied, Duquesne answered with
a three-play, 53-yard drive capped by a 26-yard pass from Loebig to Loran Cooley with 9:39 to go in the game. With 4:57 left, Loebig was picked off
by Dayton's Mark Kasmer at the DU 35. Seven plays later, Kelly Spiker hit
Sean Borchers with a 22-yard scoring pass on a 3rd-and-10 play to tie the
score at 28 with 2:34 to go.
The Dukes took over on their own 20 and moved to the Dayton 10 on six plays as Loebig, who was 22-of-37 for 411 yards on the afternoon, completed 3-of-4 passes for 66 yards. After two rushes for four yards, Loebig dropped back and lobbed a pass to the left corner of the end zone that Conley pulled in for the winning score.
Yardon Brantley added 6 clutch catches for 64 yards for the Dukes, while Hilliard led all rushers with a game-high 76 yards on 28 carries.
Duquesne outgained Dayton 436-to-205 and enjoyed a 24-11 edge in first downs. The big difference was in the turnover department where DU turned it over four times to one for Dayton.
The Dukes return to action next Saturday, Oct. 5 when they host the Patriot League's Lafayette (2-2) at 1:30 pm at Rooney Field during Duquesne's Homecoming Weekend.
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- DUQUESNE 14 7 0 14 35 DAYTON 0 7 6 15 28