Turnovers cost Dukes homecoming game

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics Dillon Buechel throws a pass against Kennesaw State.
Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics Dillon Buechel throws a pass against Kennesaw State.
Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics
Dillon Buechel throws a pass against Kennesaw State.

By David Borne | Staff Writer

The Duquesne Dukes suffered their first loss at Rooney Field this season on Saturday as they were defeated by the Kennesaw State Owls 36-28. The loss not only snapped the Dukes’ eight game win streak at home, dating back to last season, but also their streak of five straight wins in homecoming games.

The Dukes led 17-16 at halftime but came out flat in the second half and, aside from a 39 yard touchdown grab late in the fourth quarter from sophomore Nehari Crawford, the Red & Blue was unable to get much going offensively after the break.

Redshirt senior Dillon Buechel, a preseason All-NEC selection, had a rare rough performance as he threw a career-high four interceptions. Kennesaw State cornerback Dante Blackmon had Buechel’s number all day as he was responsible for three of the team’s four interceptions and managed to return one of those for a touchdown. He also limited redshirt senior wideout Wayne Capers to just two receptions for 59 yards on the day.

Buechel completed 56 percent of his passes, which is actually an increase from his completion percentage (46) in last week’s win versus Dayton. However, dropped passes were largely responsible for his low completion percentage against Dayton. In the loss to Kennesaw State, it’s fair to say that Buechel’s accuracy was more of the issue.

The slew of interceptions was something we rarely see from Buechel, who has proven to be one of the top quarterbacks. Buechel had only one pass intercepted in 2016 prior to Saturday’s game. He hasn’t thrown even three interceptions in a game since he did it twice in 2013, once against Bryant and again at Monmouth.

It’s more than reasonable to say that Buechel has contributed more to the Duquesne football program than basically any other quarterback in the school’s history, and it shows in the record books.

He sits behind Niel Loebig for most passing attempts, most passing yards and pass completions in school history. He is also second all-time in completion percentage and led the program to its first ever FCS playoff appearance in 2015. Everybody has a tough day once in awhile, and Saturday just so happened to be that day for Buechel.

Buechel and the Dukes take on Jacksonville University this Saturday in the first ever meeting between the two schools. Jacksonville has been allowing 182.7 passing yards per game so far. On the other side, Duquesne has been averaging 263 passing yards per game.  

It will be interesting to see if Buechel is able to regain the success that fans have become so accustomed to in their next contest against the Dolphins. Buechel has proven that he is capable of performing like one of the best in the FCS. There were even talks of him being a potential FCS Player of the Year candidate before the season started, and expect him to show fans why on Saturday.