Dukes jump out to early lead, but fall at Hawaii

Courtesy of Marco Garcia/AP | Duquesne junior wide receiver Kellon Taylor eludes a Hawaii linebacker during the Dukes’ game at UH on Sept. 22. DU’s game against the Rainbow Warriors was just the program’s third-ever game against an FBS opponent.

Adam Lindner | Sports Editor

09/27/2018

The Duquesne football team jumped out to an exciting 14-0 early lead against FBS foe Hawaii on Saturday, Sept. 22, but would eventually fall to the host Rainbow Warriors, 42-21, thanks in large part to 35 unanswered points.

The Dukes managed to force their opponent into making several mishaps within the game’s opening moments, including a Jonathant Istache interception on a Cole McDonald pass in the Duquesne end zone on the Rainbow Warriors’ first drive.

Prior to Istache’s snag, McDonald had yet to throw an interception in his collegiate career — the sophomore had thrown 15 touchdown passes on 152 attempts prior to the Duquesne game, but no interceptions.

Following a punt minutes later, defensive back Leandro DeBrito forced a fumble by Hawaii wideout Cedric Byrd that Dukes sophomore DB Spencer DeMedal would recover at the Hawaii 36-yard line.

On the ensuing drive, star Duquesne senior receiver Nehari Crawford would grab a 6-yard touchdown reception from Daniel Parr for the game’s first score.

Jacob Gill’s kick for the Dukes would then be recovered by linebacker Bryan Glover at the Hawaii 23-yard line, giving the Dukes yet another prime opportunity to pad their seven-point lead within only the first half of the contest’s first quarter.

Sure enough, freshman Aidan Cain secured his first career touchdown reception on a 20-yard connection with Parr, giving the Dukes a 14-0 lead.

Nevertheless, the Rainbow Warriors’ high-profile offensive attack eventually settled in, scoring the game’s next 35 points unanswered en route to a 21-14 halftime score and a 42-21 final.

The remaining Dukes score was made possible by sophomore defensive back Jassir Jordan’s 69-yard kick return, and came compliment of a 10-yard touchdown toss from Parr to wide receiver Kellon Taylor in the latter half of the fourth quarter.

On the evening as a whole, Parr completed 13 of 24 throws for 113 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Taylor led all Duquesne receivers with four receptions 66 yards and a touchdown, while Crawford hauled in five passes for 29 yards and a score. In addition, he added 51 kick return yards.

Duquesne, without lead back A.J. Hines (who was absent from Saturday’s contest due to an injury) was led in rushing yards by Crawford, who had 17 on three attempts. Lucas D’Orazio recorded 12 yards on eight carries, while P.J. Fulmore had nine yards on five carries.

Defensively, two FBS transfers led the Dukes in linebacker Brett Zanotto, who recorded a career-high 11 tackles plus eight solo stops in the contest, and defensive back Daquan Worley, who added seven total tackles to go along with six solo tackles.

The loss moves Duquesne to 0-3 all-time versus FBS opponents, with its other contests coming on Aug. 30, 2014, at Buffalo, and on Aug. 25, 2018, at UMass.

Next, the Dukes will have a bye week before beginning NEC play on Oct. 6 against Bryant at Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field.

With a 3-2 record thus far, the Dukes boast wins over D-II Lock Haven and FCS opponents Valparaiso and Dayton, with losses against UMass and Hawaii.

DU’s remaining games are all NEC contests.

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