Pat Higgins | Sports Editor
In the program’s first matchup against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, the Duquesne football team was on the brink of making history on the road against the University of Buffalo on Saturday. Despite a valiant effort in the second half, the Dukes fell to the Bulls 38-28.
After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter and heading into halftime down 21-7, the Red & Blue stormed back in the third quarter to knot the game at 21 on an 88-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Dillon Buechel to junior wide receiver Chris King with just over seven minutes to go in the quarter.
The Bulls took a 24-21 lead on the ensuing drive, but the offense once again had an answer for their Division I opponent. Dillon Buechel found sophomore wide receiver Chavas Rawlins twice for a combined 28 yards, and then connected with tight end Kevin Enight for 45 yards to bring the Red & Blue to the UB two-yard line. Two plays later, Buechel again found King for a six-yard touchdown to give the Dukes a 28-24 lead.
From there, the Bulls were able to regain control of the game, scoring on consecutive drives and burning the clock to put the game out of reach.
The Bulls outgained the Dukes by 100 yards on offense behind solid efforts from quarterback Joe Licata (25 for 36, 298 yards and 3 touchdowns) and running game that grinded out 153 yards on 39 carries.
Buechel finished the game with 322 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Chris King finished with 8 catches for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. His 199 yards were good enough for the seventh-highest total in the program’s history and earned him honors as the College Football Performance Awards FCS Wide Receiver Performer of the Week. Senior safety Rich Piekarski led the team with a career-high 15 tackles.
The Dukes will travel to Ohio this Saturday to face Youngstown State at 4 p.m. They lost 59-17 in last year’s road matchup with the Penguins. The Red & Blue will make their home debut on Sept. 13 against Dayton, which starts a 3-game home stretch against Monmouth and West Liberty. They will open NEC play on the road against Central Connecticut on Oct. 11.