DU Rally Falls Two Yards Short in 28-23 Loss at Iona
Oct. 27, 2007
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Iona turned Duquesne away twice from the two-yard line with a minute left to preserve a 28-23 win over the Dukes at Mazzella Field.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Dukes (5-3, 1-1), while Iona (6-2, 2-0) took sole possession of first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League with the victory.
Duquesne, down 11 with just under four minutes remaining, pulled to within five on a four-yard Kevin Rombach-to-Michael Rasky touchdown pass - Rombach's third TD of the day - with 3:52 left. DU's Derron Thomas then forced and recovered a fumble at the Iona 20 setting up the Dukes' dramatic final drive.
Duquesne drove to the two before a pair of Rombach passes fell incomplete - the last a fourth down fade pattern to Bruce Hocker in the left corner of the end zone.
Dane Samuels accounted for 296 of Iona's 474 yards of total offense on the afternoon. Samuels ran for 193 yards on 23 carries and caught three passes for 103 more yards, including a 72-yarder from Nick Rossetti early in the fourth quarter after Duquesne had pulled within four, to lead the Iona offense. Rombach completed 23-of-47 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns for Duquesne.
Iona made a couple of big plays in the opening eight minutes to take an early 14-0 lead.
The Gaels blocked a punt on the Dukes' first possession that was recovered and returned by Gerard Finegan 22 yards to the Duquesne 13. Three plays later Finegan caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Nick Rossetti to make it 7-0.
Duquesne went three-and-out, turning the ball over to Iona at its own 42. On the next play, Samuels darted 58 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0 with 8:03 to go in the first quarter.
The Dukes got on the board early in the second quarter when Rombach capped a 40-yard drive with an 18-yard pass to Hocker to make it 14-7.
Iona answered with a 66-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard Rudy Arcara touchdown run. The Gaels converted a 1st-and-goal from the 16 for the score.
Duquesne cut the Iona lead to 11 when Mark Troyan kicked a 36-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to make it 21-10 at the half.
Iona drove into Duquesne territory on its first possession of the second half when Thomas forced a fumble with a hit on Rossetti at the Gaels 24. The ball was scooped up Eric Halberstadt who pitched it to Wade Powell as he was being spun to the turf. Powell scampered 71 yards to the Iona four, setting up a four-yard Rombach-to-Rasky touchdown pass that made it 21-17 with 9:19 to go in the third quarter.
Duquesne held Iona twice before Rossetti dumped a short pass to Samuels who broke three tackles and sailed down the left sideline for a 72-yard touchdown to give Iona a 28-17 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the game.
Iona outgained Duquesne 474-345, including a 264-70 advantage on the ground. The Dukes had three more first downs than the Gaels in a game that saw a total of 18 penalties called.
Hocker had six catches for 56 yards and a touchdown for DU. Alex Roberson had five catches for 100 yards and Rasky added five grabs for 47 yards and two scores.
Iona's Adam Lipski had a game-high 15 tackles. Rob Wright added 13 tackles including 2.0 of the Gaels' 5.0 sacks. Nathan Totino led DU with 13 stops.
BY QUARTER 1 2 3 4 FINAL DUQUESNE 0 10 7 6 23 IONA 14 7 0 7 28LEADERS
DU - Hough (20-61-0); IC - Samuels (23-193-1)
DU - Rombach (47-23-1-275-3); IC - Rossetti (31-13-0-210-2)
DU - Roberson (5-100-0), Hocker (6-56-1); IC - Mastrino (4-35-0), Samuels (3-103-1)
DU - Totino (13/3); IC - Lipski (15/3)
GAME NOTES Iona, who defeated Duquesne 17-13 last year, is the first MAAC team to post consecutive wins over the Dukes since Fairfield in 1998 & 1999 (Fairfield's `99 win didn't count in league standings due to the Stags' use of an ineligible player) ... with his six catches for 56 yards and one TD, senior All-American receiver Bruce Hocker (Upper Marlboro, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) moved into a tie for second on Duquesne's career receptions list with 154 ... he also ranks second in touchdown receptions with 32 and third in receiving yards with 2,510 ... junior Alex Roberson (Waynesboro, Ga./Curtis Baptist Upper School) caught five passes for 100 yards ... it was his third 100-yard receiving outing in DU's past five games ... linebacker Derron Thomas (Forrestville, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt), who entered the game ranked 8th nationally in tackles per game (11.57 tpg.), finished with nine stops ... Thomas also forced two big fumbles, the first was returned 72 yards by Wade Powell to set up Duquesne's second touchdown and the second gave the Dukes possession at the Iona 20 with under four minutes left ... freshman linebacker Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle) had a team-high 13 tackles ... it was his fourth double-digit tackle game of the season ... redshirt sophomore quarterback Kevin Rombach (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin), completed 23-of-47 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns in suffering his first loss as a starter (he was 7-0 overall and 5-0 this season) ... Rombach has thrown for at least two scores in each of the Dukes' past five games.