The Duquesne Dukes scored first and last in their season opener, and downed the Universit..."/> The Duquesne Dukes scored first and last in their season opener, and downed the Universit..."/> The Duquesne Dukes scored first and last in their season opener, and downed the Universit..."/>

Duquesne takes down Albany in season opener


The Duquesne Dukes scored first and last in their season opener, and downed the University of Albany 35-24 on Saturday afternoon at Rooney Field.

The victory over Albany was just the second in the Dukes seven games against the Great Danes, who left the Northeast Conference for the Colonial Athletic Associatin this season.

Redshirt freshman Dillon Buechel completed 21 of 28 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns in his Duquesne debut. The McKees Rocks native is the first freshman to start an opener for the Dukes since 2005. The main targets of the Red and Blue aerial attack were senior wide receiver Gianni Carter, who had 103 yards on six receptions and one touchdown; sophomore wide receiver Dave Thomas, who contributed 107 yards receiving on five catches; and senior wide receiver Sean Brady, who hauled in four passes for 60 yards and one touchdown.

UAlbany junior quarterback Will Fiacchi went 27 of 45 for 346 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Senior wide receiver Kevin Chillis had 135 yards on nine receptions and two touchdowns, while junior running back Omar Osbourne ran for 79 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown for the Great Danes.

Duquesne got on the scoreboard on the game’s first play when Chillis, took a handoff under pressure and was dropped in the end zone by redshirt freshman linebacker Aaron Reed for a 13-yard loss and a safety, that gave the Dukes a 2-0 early lead.

Five minutes later, the Dukes’ Ryan Ho capped off a five play, 90-yard drive with a 1-yard burst into the end zone to make the score 9-0 with 9:35 left to go in the first quarter. It was the first of two touchdowns on the afternoon for the junior running back to go along with 76 yards on 23 carries.

The Great Danes scored at 2:09 on redshirt sophomore Tom O’Riordan’s 39-yard field goal making it 9-3 after one quarter of action.

Duquesne came right back when Ho got his second touchdown on a 25-yard run at 3:45 of the second quarter to finish an eight-play, 74-yard drive, giving the Dukes a 16-3 lead.

Albany reduced the deficit to six with a successful final drive in the closing 1:26 of the half as Fiacchi hit Chillis for a 35-yard touchdown strike to make the score 16-10 at the break.

The Dukes started the second-half with a nine-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a fantastic 27-yard, one-handed, leaping catch by Brady, giving Duquesne a 23-10 lead at 11:03 in the third.

Following a sack-fumble recovery that allowed the Dukes to start their next drive on the Albany 29-yard line, Buechel threw a touchdown strike to a streaking Carter, stretching the lead to 19 points, 29-10.

The Great Danes battled back with their own five-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped off with 35-yard touchdown pass from Fiacchi to Chillis that made it 29-17 with 7:56 remaining in the third quarter.

Redshirt freshman Austin Crimmins made it 32-17 at 4:35 in the third on his 30-yard field goal for the Dukes.

UAlbany cut the lead to eight points, 32-24, on a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Osbourne late in the fourth quarter while the Dukes’ Crimmins added a 22-yard field goal with just 1:08 remaining in the contest to close out the offensive fireworks.

On Saturday, Sept 7, Duquesne hits the road to take on the University of Dayton at Welcome Stadium at 1 p.m. The Flyers went 6-5 last season in the Pioneer Football League under head coach Rick Chamberlain.

Dayton lost in their season opener 28-10 at Youngstown State on Thursday, Aug 29. The YSU Penguins host the Dukes at Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday, Sept 21 at 4 p.m.