Dukes Stunned By Albany, 24-0
Nov. 23, 2002
On a sunny, but very windy, Saturday afternoon in Albany, New York, The University at Albany (8-4) stunned Duquesne University (11-1) in the 2002 ECAC Classic by a tally of 24-0. That gusting wind played a big role in the outcome as the Great Danes made much more effective use of this weather phenomenon.
Albany won the toss and elected to take the wind, kicking the ball out of Duquesne's end zone to start the game. In that first series, sophomore quarterback Niel Loebig's 10 yard pass attempt was knocked down by the wind and intercepted. The Great Danes took over, and with the wind at their back, put 17 points on the board on touchdown runs of 19 and 1 yards and a field goal before having to switch sides.
The Dukes got the wind in the second quarter and were able to move the ball but couldn't put any points on the scoreboard. Twice the Dukes got into the red zone: junior kicker Earl Bellisario missed a field goal attempt and the Red and Blue were unable to convert a 4th-and-goal as time was expiring in the second quarter.
Down 17-0 at the break, DU elected to take the wind hoping to have "Ma-ri-a" work in their favor. Albany was just as strong offensively and defensively keeping the Dukes from adding any points onto the scoreboard.
On the Dukes' first series in the fourth quarter, DU punted into the wind and with a penalty tacked on, Albany was in great field position again moving as deep as Duquesne's six. The Dukes' defense stood up and stopped a fourth and goal situation, breaking up a trick play for a loss of yardage.
DU was able to move the ball on their next two possessions but could not sustain a drive long enough to score. Albany put an exclamation point on the game when Gary Jones scored his second TD from the 1 yard line, raising the score to 24-0.
Albany outrushed Duquesne 253 to 44. The Dukes were led by junior Mike Hilliard with 42 yards. UA's Jones carried the ball 36 times for 194 yards.
The Red and Blue defense held the Great Danes to 29 yards passing while on this blustery day, Loebig was 12-for-37 for 102 yards and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Jeremy Conley had 1/3 of the completions, catching four tosses for 31 yards.
Duquesne, who had shut out four opponents this season, found themselves with zero points for the first time since Oct. 18, 1997 when Georgetown stopped the visiting Dukes by that same score, 24-0.