Jack Morgan | Staff Writer
Coming off a 39-point loss at West Virginia, Duquesne was dealt an even bigger blow from an FBS opponent on Saturday. Coastal Carolina controlled their game from start to finish, and they came away with a 66-7 win over the Dukes in Conway, S.C.
Duquesne got the ball first, but after JaMario Clements’ 17-yard run on the first play of the drive, they couldn’t get anything going and had to punt. Jared Brown returned the kick 51 yards to give Coastal prime field position. The Chanticleers only needed four plays to strike first, as Grayson McCall hit Kendall Kerr for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Dukes quarterback Darius Perrantes ran into trouble on the next possession, when he was picked off by JT Killen, who returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. Just like that, the Dukes found themselves down 14-0. Unfortunately for them, things only got worse.
With 9:09 left in the first, and Duquesne having gone three and out again, the Chanticleers methodically picked apart the Dukes on a 12-play, 83-yard drive that ended with McCall hitting Sam Pinckney for an 11-yard score.
When Duquesne got the ball back, they got their offense rolling a bit. But after Keshawn Brown caught a pass from Perrantes, he fumbled the ball trying to pick up extra yards in Coastal territory. On the first play of the Chanticleers drive, McCall hit Brown again, this time for a 51-yard reception as the first quarter ended. This led to Braydon Bennett punching it in from a yard out to put his side up 28-0.
Head Coach Jerry Schmitt felt like his team ran into a Coastal Carolina team that came out firing on all cylinders.
“We hit this team today, and they came out executing and playing hard, and like I said, momentum wise, they weren’t going to give us that chance to get any of it. We made a few mistakes, and they parked a few touchdowns on us.”
His team continued to struggle, as they were outscored 24-0 in the second quarter. They did hold Coastal Carolina to a field goal on their next drive, but then Perrantes made another mistake, throwing his second interception of the game on a deep ball. Lusk returned it from his own 37 to the Duquesne 20, leading to an easy score for the Chanticleers.
Perrantes then connected with Brown for 13 yards, Teddy Afful for 12 yards and DJ Powell for 14 yards. However, disaster struck, as Perrantes threw another intercepton, the Dukes fourth turnover of the first half. Tobias Fletcher returned it 100 yards the other way, giving Perrantes his second pick-six of the game. Duquesne was now down 45-0 heading into the half.
The second half started in disastrous fashion for Duquesne, as on the first offensive play of the third, second-string quarterback Jarrett Guest got the Chanticleers back on the board with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Duplessis. They finished off the ensuing drive with a handoff to Max Balthazar, who got the two yards needed to give his side a whopping 59-0 lead with only 4:07 gone in the third.
By this point, the Dukes were being beat up on both sides of the field, and it was a challenge that Schmitt is proud to say his team took on.
“We got some guys banged up, and we were just fighting to hang in there. We played hard the whole game, but it’s tough when you’re taking on a team like this, an FBS team, really talented team and a great program.”
The Dukes did fight back and finally got on the board. For the second game in a row, Duquesne recovered a muffed punt. Duquesne ended up facing a fourth down a few plays later, but veteran quarterback Matt Robinson saved the day. He hit Brown for a 23-yard score, and Duquesne finally got in the endzone with 6:26 remaining in the third.
The rest of the 4th was quiet from both sides, giving Coastal Carolina a 66-7 victory. Despite accumulating 347 yards of offense, Duquesne also gave up 515 yards and turned the ball over on four occasions.
Duquesne will get a bye this week before opening FCS and Northeast Conference play at LIU. The Dukes fell to the Sharks last season in a double-overtime thriller.