David Borne | Staff Writer
Thanks to a second half shutout, the Duquesne Dukes took down the Dayton Flyers Saturday afternoon at Rooney Field by a final score of 34-20.
Freshman running back A.J. Hines, senior quarterback Dillon Buechel and senior wideout Wayne Capers powered the Dukes to the victory, which bumped their record to 2-1 on the young season.
However, it was a defensive play by redshirt junior Carter Henderson that really shifted the momentum to Duquesne. The Dukes came out of the locker room trailing 20-15 after the Flyers (2-1) got off to a fast start, but Henderson’s pick six in the third quarter gave Duquesne a lead that they never lost.
“There were some technical adjustments, but I think the kids committed to playing the football that they can play,” head coach Jerry Schmitt said. “I think we were just off kilter a little bit with some stuff, we weren’t mentally taking it the way we should, good or bad. I just thought we played a little bit angry in that first half, we weren’t playing the next play and forgetting about the last play.”
The contest was certainly a bit chippy and the refs certainly weren’t shy about tossing the yellow flags. Both sides racked up double digit penalties totalling a combined 189 yards.
However, the offense kept rolling as Hines continued to shine in his freshman campaign. He rushed for a career high 189 yards and scored two touchdowns. Buechel added 227 yards in the air and completed 46 percent of his passes.
Buechel favorite target on the afternoon was Capers, who caught 8 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown — all of those marks were season bests for the redshirt senior.
“I just kind of try to catch anything that comes near me, let the game come to me and not try to force anything,” said Capers. “I forced it the first two games and I didn’t play well. Today I took my time with everything I did and just caught whatever came to me.”
Capers went on to compliment Buechel and the rest of the offense.
“We’re coming together. It’s a great time,” Capers said. “Third game in, a couple more games before we get into conference play and we’re coming together as an offense … We’re all clicking on all cylinders right now.”
The offense certainly shined against the Flyers as the Dukes offense rumbled for 478 yards of total offense, which included 251 yards rushing alone.
Head coach Jerry Schmitt was also impressed by Capers and the offensive units efforts.
“Wayne is always a big part of our game plan,” Schmitt said. “When you have some other receivers they have to cover, take Wayne and put him one on one, Dillon does a nice job of getting the ball to Wayne.”
When the offense began to heat up, the defense followed suit as they blanked the Flyers in the second half.
Redshirt senior linebacker Christian Kuntz led the team with nine tackles. Henderson added 5 tackles on top of making the big play that changed the game for the Red & Blue.
Redshirt sophomore cornerback Daquan Worley recorded four tackles and came up with his first interception after transferring to Duquesne from Penn State.
The Dukes will now shift their focus to next weekend when they take on Kennesaw State at home. Kennesaw State had the week off, but currently sits at 1-1 on the season.