Dukes Drop 27-24 Decision at Liberty
Nov. 4, 2017
LYNCHBURG, Va. - Sophomore running back A.J. Hines (Wilson, N.C./Fike) rushed for a career-high 253 yards with a pair of long touchdown runs, but Liberty outscored Duquesne 17-0 in the second half to earn a 27-24 win over the Dukes in a non-conference matchup on Saturday at Arthur L. Williams Stadium.
The loss snaps Duquesne's seven-game winning streak as the Dukes move to 7-2 on the season, while Liberty improves to 5-4.The Flames are in their final year in a transition to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
Hines' 253 rushing yards are the fifth-most by a Duquesne player in program history and the most since Mike Hilliard's school-record 323-yard performance in 2003. He is the first Duke to rush for over 200 yards since Larry McCoy tallied 246 yards on the ground against Central Connecticut in 2010.
The 2016 Jerry Rice Award winner scored on a career-long 79-yard touchdown rush in the first quarter before finding the end zone from 49 yards out late in the second period.
Duquesne built a 24-7 advantage late in the first half, but Liberty scored 20 unanswered points, including 17 in the second half to earn the victory.
After the Flames took an early 7-0 lead on a six-yard touchdown run by Carrington Mosley, Hines rushed for a 79-yard touchdown run on the very first play of the Duquesne drive, knotting the score at 7-7.
The Dukes would gain their first advantage of the afternoon on their next drive, as Tommy Stuart (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall/Boise State) found Chavas Rawlins (Monessen, Pa./Monessen/West Virginia) across the middle for a 25-yard touchdown connection. This capped a 10-play, 90-yard march as Duquesne claimed a 14-7 lead with just over a minute to play in the first quarter.
The Dukes extended their edge to 17-7 in the second frame when John Domit's (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) 36-yard field goal went through the uprights.
On the next Duquesne drive, Hines juked a Liberty defender at the line of scrimmage before breaking free for 49 yards into the end zone for his second score of the day, pushing the Duquesne advantage to 24-7 with just under three minutes to play in the opening half. A Flames field goal would cut the deficit to 24-10 at the break.
After the Dukes recorded 361 yards of total offense in the first half, the Flames would limit Duquesne to 73 yards in the second half.
With the Dukes clinging to a 24-20 lead early in the fourth quarter, Liberty forced and recovered a Duquesne fumble deep in Duquesne territory which led to the game-winning touchdown four plays later. This was one of the Dukes' season-high four turnovers in the loss.
Duquesne had two more drives in the contest, but the Dukes were forced to punt on the first before turning it over on downs on their final march
Following the 253-yard performance, Hines now has 11 career 100-yard rushing games which
Rawlins paced Duquesne with five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. He now has four touchdown catches on the season, good for second on the team.
Carter Henderson (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional/Penn State) registered a career-high 16 tackles for the Dukes, including nine solo stops and 1.5 tackles for loss. Abner Roberts (Pittsburgh, Pa./University Prep) added a career-high 12 tackles (nine
Duquesne outgained the Flames 434-421 in the game, including a 295-210 advantage on the ground.
The attendance of the matchup was 14,634, marking the fifth-largest crowd the Dukes have played in front of since the reinstatement of the program in 1969.
Duquesne returns home to host Central Connecticut State in a battle between a pair of teams unbeaten in Northeast Conference (NEC) play next Saturday, Nov. 11 at noon ET at Arthur J. Rooney Field.
The winner of the contest will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs as well as a conference title.
The Dukes are seeking their third straight NEC crown and their fifth NEC championship overall. Duquesne will look to secure its second bid to the FCS playoffs following an appearance in 2015.