Dukes Topple Fairfield, 27-0
Nov. 16, 2002
Top-ranked Duquesne (11-0, 8-0) completed a perfect regular-season with a 27-0 win over Fairfield (5-6, 5-3) at Rooney Field on Saturday. The Dukes, who clinched their fourth consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League championship last week, will now meet Northeast Conference champion Albany in the ECAC Classic at Albany's University Field on Nov. 23.
The Dukes never trailed in rolling to their school record 11th win and 24th consecutive MAAC victory. Quarterback Niel Loebig threw for three scores to break the Duquesne record for touchdown passes in a season and Mike Hilliard, who carried 32 times for 173 yards, scored the Dukes other touchdown in the win. Senior defensive end Bill Arbogast, playing in his final home game, led the Dukes with 11 tackles including a game high three sacks. He also forced a pair of fumbles.
Duquesne put the game out of reach early with three first quarter scores. The first came on a 13-yard pass from Loebig to Jeremy Conley to cap a seven-play 80-yard drive. Hilliard scored from 11 yards out on DU's next possession to up the score to 14-0. On Fairfield's next possession, Arbogast hit quarterback Mike Cerchio forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Dukes' Harry Carter at the Stags' 34. Three plays later, Loebig hit Randy Vulakovich from 15 yards out to give Duquesne a 21-0 lead.
Loebig, who finished the game 15-of-33 for 227 yards, hit Yardon Brantley on a 29-yard touchdown pass with 7:47 left in the third quarter to close out the scoring. The touchdown pass gave Loebig 29 on the season, eclipsing the old mark of 28 set by Tony Zimmerman in 2000.
Duquesne outgained Fairfield 267-82 and enjoyed a 20-3 edge in first downs in the first half. Fairfield got no closer than the Duquesne 41, before advancing to the Dukes' 16 as time expired. Hilliard led all rushers with 173 yards on 32 carries.
Brantley and Vulakovich had four catches each for 69 and 56 yards respectively. Duquesne had two touchdowns and two other long plays nullified by penalties. The DU defense, which logged its fourth shutout in eight MAAC league games, extended its scoreless streak to eight quarters in the win. In addition to Arbogast, defensive tackle John Rodgers and defensive end Ben Bailey added 1.5 sacks each. Philip Polony also recorded a sack for the Dukes. Armar Watson picked off his fifth pass of the season in the third quarter.
For the game, Duquesne outgained Fairfield 448-167 with 51 of the Stags' yards coming on their final drive of the game.