Duquesne football dominates VU-Lynchburg in home opener

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics | Fans and cheerleaders celebrate as Duquesne’s Spencer DeMedal returns an interception for a touchdown during the Dukes’ 56-7 victory over Virginia University of Lynchburg on Saturday.

Spencer Thomas | Staff Writer

Sept. 30, 2021

Taking the field for the first time following arguably its biggest win in program history, the Duquesne football team showed very few signs of a hangover in its 56-7 victory over Virginia University of Lynchburg on Saturday afternoon at Rooney Field.

After throwing an interception on the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Darius Perrantes locked in. He completed six passes for 78 yards before exiting the game near the end of the second quarter, just as Head Coach Jerry Schmitt began removing starters.

The Dukes’ defensive line dominated for a good majority of the afternoon. They applied pressure in the Dragons’ backfield on seemingly every single play, preventing Virginia-Lynchburg quarterback Darrius Sample from getting the ball down the field in any capacity.

It seemed that the only times Virginia-Lynchburg gained any yards were in the rare instances when they made a Duquesne defender miss in the backfield. Even then, they could only make it a couple yards before being swarmed by a new round of defenders.

The Dragons managed a mere total of 13 rushing yards on 29 attempts, good enough for an average of just 0.4 yards per carry.

Their best opportunity of the day came off of the early interception, when they started their drive on the Duquesne 21-yard line. After three plays and several penalties, they were punting, as they had been backed up 19 yards from where the drive originally started.

For Virginia-Lynchburg, passing the ball proved to be equally as difficult. Sample completed just six passes and was intercepted twice. The first of his two interceptions was an early backbreaker, as Duquesne defensive back Spencer DeMedal picked off a screen pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.

The Dukes’ offensive attack was heavily characterized by the ground game, with running back Garrett Owens getting the bulk of the touches. He ran wild on the Dragons, averaging 12 yards per carry en route to rushing for a total of 108 yards and a touchdown.

In the second half, JaMario Clements kept up the energy, rushing for 58 yards and reaching the end zone once.

Duquesne’s offensive line proved to be just as successful as its defensive counterpart. The line consistently provided a clean pocket for Perrantes, while also allowing Owens to break free and rush for a 55-yard score early in the second quarter.

“The offensive line always does a great job,” Owens told The Duke following the victory. “It was awesome to see all the running backs get in and make great plays”.

The victory — Duquesne’s 14th straight win in a home opener — helped the Dukes move to 2-1 on the season.

Despite the team’s first victory coming over an FBS opponent in Ohio, Owens believes that every win is equally as important.

“There was a lot to build off of. But it’s just like any other week,” Owens said. “Get in the film room, critique all the little things we need to improve and carry it on into the next [game].”

Following the win, Duquesne will now turn its focus toward Northeast Conference action.

The Dukes will travel to North Andover, Mass., where they’ll take on Merrimack this Saturday afternoon.