Dukes Defeat Lafayette in Waning Seconds, 23-22
Oct. 5, 2002
In a dramatic game that featured four fourth-quarter lead changes, Earl Bellisario's clutch 24-yard field goal with :10 left was the difference as Duquesne rallied from a two-point deficit with 1:03 left to defeat Lafayette 23-22.
The win, which was DU's third in a row at home versus a Patriot League opponent, kept the Dukes' record unblemished at 5-0, while the loss dropped Lafayette to 2-3.
Duquesne quarterback Niel Loebig, who set school single-game records for pass completions (29) and pass attempts (54), completed 4-of-7 passes for 66 yards to key DU's game-winning 71-yard drive that set-up Bellisario's winning kick.
Duquesne held a 14-13 lead entering the fourth quarter when Lafayette's Marko Glavic hit John Weyrauch with a 50-yard TD pass to put the Leopards up 19-14 with 14:44 left.
Following a Duquesne punt, Glavic drove the Leopards 26 yards to the Dukes' 45 yard line before Ben Bailey forced a Brandon McCloud fumble to give Duquesne possession on its own 48. DU drove deep into Lafayette territory before Loebig found Yardon Brantley in the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the Leopard's six. DU's two-point conversion attempt failed, giving the Dukes a 20-19 edge with 4:29 left.
On its next possession, with Lafayette facing 3rd-and-10 from its own 34-yard line, Glavic hit running back Joe McCourt over the middle and McCourt rambled for 46 yards to the DU 20. The Leopards advanced to the Duquesne three before Martin Brecht kicked a 20-yard field goal to give Lafayette a 22-20 lead and set up DU's thrilling comeback.
Jeremy Conley, who set a school record with 245 yards receiving
in Duquesne's win at Dayton last week, broke another school mark with 13
catches for 154 yards versus the Leopards. The 13 grabs were two more than
the previous mark of 11 set by Gerald Foster at Bucknell in 1999. Conley
caught a 20-yard TD pass from Loebig with 1:29 left in the first half to
cut Lafayette's lead to 10-7 at the half. Brantley added seven catches for
64 yards and Randy Vulakovich chipped in with seven catches for 80 yards
for the Dukes. Mike Hilliard, whose 24-yard run halfway through the third
quarter gave the Dukes their first lead of the game at 14-10, led all
rushers with 85 yards on 19 carries for DU.
Glavic completed 11-of-24 passes for 203 yards for Lafayette, while Loebig finished with 349 yards for Duquesne. Lafayette's Larry Johnson posted a game-high 12 tackles (8 solo) for Lafayette, while Tim Pichette led the Dukes with 10 stops (3 solo).
DU enjoyed a 28-16 edge in first downs, and outgained the Leopards 439-to-352 as the teams combined for seven turnovers. In fact, all but the final three points of the game came as the result of an opponent miscue.
Duquesne returns to action next Saturday as they travel to Jersey City, NJ, for a MAAC Football League matchup with St. Peter's (4-2, 3-0 MAAC) for a noon kick-off. The game will be broadcast by Fox Sports Pittsburgh Radio, WBGG-AM 970, and over the internet at www.redzonemedia.com.