Sept. 30, 2017
PITTSBURGH - Duquesne (3-1) posted a 38-13 win over visiting West Virginia Wesleyan (2-3) in the Dukes' home opener on Saturday night at Arthur J. Rooney Field. The victory marked Duquesne's 100th win at Rooney Field, which has served as the home of the Dukes since the 1993 season. Duquesne also wins its 10th consecutive home opener with the triumph.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Dukes scored 24 points in the second period highlighted by a pair of touchdown receptions by junior wide receiver Kareem Coles (San Diego, Calif./Madison/Idaho).
Duquesne got on the board first with a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tommy Stuart (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall/Boise State) to junior wide receiver Nehari Crawford (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central) with just over six minutes to play in the second quarter. The 11-play, 63-yard drive was set up by a Bobcats fumble which was recovered by linebacker Nathan Stone (Scottdale, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) at the Duquesne 37-yard line.
The Dukes would then tack on 17 points in the final 1:32 of the half.
Coles caught a screen pass from Stuart before running nine yards and diving over the pylon for the Duquesne touchdown with 1:32 showing on the second quarter clock.
On the first play of the next West Virginia Wesleyan drive, linebacker Brett Zanotto (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional/Maryland) forced a fumble which was recovered by safety Abner Roberts (Pittsburgh, Pa./University Prep) at the Bobcats' 38-yard line.
Roberts initially returned the fumble for a touchdown, but the official replay revealed his knee was down on the fumble recovery. The Dukes ended up capitalizing on the turnover, as it led to Coles' second touchdown of the night, this time on a 12-yard pass from Stuart with 37 seconds to play in the half.
Following a Bobcats punt, freshman kicker Jacob Gill's (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) first career field goal from 41 yards out sailed through the uprights, extending the Duquesne lead to 24-0 at the break.
The Dukes opened scoring in the second half with a 29-yard touchdown connection from Stuart to Crawford with 2:15 to play in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth stanza, junior running back Ricky Mellick's (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton LaSalle) first career touchdown on a four-yard rush pushed the Duquesne advantage to 38-0.
West Virginia Wesleyan got on the board with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to close out the game, as quarterback Luke Casey found Christian Nelson on a 22-yard touchdown pass before Casey added a 34-yard rushing touchdown later in the contest.
Stuart completed 24-of-29 (82.8 percent) of passes for 226 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.
Freshman running back DeWayne Murray III (Homestead, Pa./Steel Valley) paced the Dukes with 83 yards on 14 carries in his collegiate debut, including a game-long 21-yard rush.
Crawford led the Duquesne receiving core with six catches for 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It marked the junior's third career multi-touchdown game.
Stone led all players with eight tackles (five solo) including 2.5 sacks to go with a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.
Roberts and linebacker Carter Henderson (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional/Penn State) contributed seven tackles apiece for the Dukes.
Defensive end Andy Struttmann (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) added five tackles, including 1.5 sacks for Duquesne.
The Dukes outgained the Bobcats 398-198 in the win, including advantages of 258-102 in passing yards and 140-96 on the ground.
Duquesne opens Northeast Conference (NEC) play next Saturday, Oct. 7 hosting Wagner at 1 p.m. ET at Rooney Field in the annual homecoming game.