It has been four years since Duquesne opened its season at Arthur J. Rooney Field.
The Dukes wasted little time Saturday afternoon in making themselves right at home and making things uncomfortable for visiting Edinboro’s offense.
Duquesne, member of the Division I FCS Northeast Conference, forced four first-quarter turnovers and raced to a 49-7 victory against the Division II Fighting Scots.
“I’m very pleased with our performance here at Rooney Field,” Duquesne coach Jerry Schmitt said. “It was the first time in a few years that we opened at home, and our guys responded.”
That’s especially true of the Dukes defense.
Cornerback Ayden Garnes intercepted a pass from Edinboro quarterback Matt Carlisle and returned it for a touchdown on the game’s second play from scrimmage.
Graduate student defensive back Tim Lowery then followed with an interception of his own.
Junior linebacker Gianni Rizzo, a Norwin graduate and Youngstown State transfer, sacked Carlisle and forced a fumble later in the quarter before defensive lineman Kevin Kurzinger recorded a sack and forced a fumble of his own.
“We’ve been hard on turnovers,” Garnes said. “We say it every meeting, ‘Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers,’ and getting the ball back to our offense.”
Duquesne’s defense conceded just 170 yards of total offense, 107 through the air and 63 on the ground. The Dukes ended the game with five turnovers, six sacks and allowed just 12 first downs.
“I thought that their speed and strength was very apparent, and their depth, because it was a warm afternoon,” Schmitt said of his defense.
Duquesne’s rushing attack also took control of the game against an overmatched Fighting Scots defense.
The Dukes rushed for 263 yards, led by running back Taj Butts, who carried the ball nine times for 104 yards.
Quarterback Darius Perrantes also completed 7 of 13 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns for the Dukes, while backup Matt Robinson passed for another second-half score.
Receiver Keshawn Brown had two receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown for Duquesne, and Darryl Powell Jr. added three catches for 57 yards and two scores.
“I’m extremely proud that they represented Duquesne and got this,” Schmitt said. “I told them to celebrate here. We’ve got 24 hours, and then we get back to work.”
Safety Malcolm Johnson, a graduate student from Moon, led Edinboro’s defense. He recorded a team-high nine tackles.
Pitt overwhelms Wofford in Acrisure Stadium opener
Across town on the North Shore, Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec, a Pine-Richland graduate and Boston College transfer, led the Panthers to a 45-7 win against Wofford in his hometown debut.
Jurkovec completed 17 of 23 passes for 214 yards and one touchdown. He also carried the ball seven times for 41 yards and another score.
Robert Morris overpowered by Air Force on the ground
Bethel Park graduate Anthony Chiccitt was efficient in leading the Robert Morris offense in the first start of his second season as the Colonials starting quarterback but was unable to lead his team past Air Force.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound redshirt junior completed 14 of 18 passes for 99 yards and one touchdown, as the host Falcons emerged with a 42-7 victory in Colorado Springs.
Air Force outrushed Robert Morris, 374-43, and scored five touchdowns on the ground.
Chiccitt connected with tight end Chaese Jackson for a 1-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass to account for Robert Morris’ lone score.
Robert Morris was nearly forced to play the game in Air Force’s practice jerseys after a reported mix up resulted in the Colonials receiving their uniforms just before kickoff.
Slippery Rock grounds out tough win over Wayne State
Slippery Rock and Wayne State combined to rush for 466 yards Saturday night at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.
It was Slippery Rock quarterback Brayden Long’s two second-quarter touchdown passes, however, that proved the difference as The Rock never relinquished its early 14-point lead and held on to defeat visiting Wayne State, 28-17.
Slippery Rock rushed for 225 yards, led by Khalid Dorsey, who carried the ball nine times for 81 yards, and Chris D’Or, who contributed 69 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.
Long completed 11 of 18 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Logan Ramper on a 35-yard touchdown pass to open the game’s scoring and found Dorsey on a 6-yard scoring strike to put Slippery Rock’s early lead at two touchdowns.
Morgan leads Shepherd to late victory in first start
Mt. Lebanon graduate Seth Morgan tossed a touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining to lead Shepherd to a thrilling 27-26 victory against Southern Connecticut State.
Morgan completed 16 of 28 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns in his home debut with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division power Rams. He transferred to the Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Division II school after four seasons at Division I Virginia Military Institute.
It was Morgan’s flair for the dramatic that stood out.
Shepherd trailed Southern Connecticut State, 26-21, with 1:28 left in the game, and Morgan led the Rams on a five-play, 61-yard drive, which culminated with a 12-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to Dustin Fisher.
Morgan made his first start replacing former quarterback Tyson Bagent, who after setting the NCAA career record for touchdown passes at any level at 159 last season, was named to the Chicago Bears roster as an undrafted free agent.
Carnegie Mellon flexes muscles against Geneva
Carnegie Mellon showed why it was picked to finish atop the PAC in the preseason coaches poll by turning in a dominant showing on both sides of the football in a 31-0 victory against Geneva at Reeves Field in Beaver Falls.
Tartans quarterback Ben Mills completed 19 of 28 passes for 196 yards with an interception and touchdown pass. He completed passes to eight different receivers, finding Dominic Voiland five times for 57 yards and a score.
Running back Tre Vasiliadis also carried the ball 15 times for 72 yards and a touchdown to help lead Carnegie Mellon to its first PAC victory of the season.
As strong as the offense was, the defense was equal to the task.
Linebacker Robert Coury led the Tartans shutout effort, finishing with 10 tackles and one sack, while Evan Roper added nine tackles and Moon graduate Logan Young contributed eight.
Battle of former WPIAL quarterbacks ends in victory for Grove City
Peters Township gradate Logan Pfeuffer, now in his second season as Grove City’s starting quarterback, did not throw for as many yards as Westminster quarterback and Moon graduate Ty McGowan.
Pfeuffer did, however, manage to lead the host Wolverines to a 17-7 victory against the Titans.
McGowan completed 8 of 16 passes for 116 yards, but his team only managed to score once on a first-quarter, 1-yard run by running back Ryan Gomes.
Pfeuffer completed just 6 of 11 passes for 69 yards but led Grove City on three consecutive scoring drives. His 28-yard touchdown pass to Scott Fraser in the second quarter ended up being the difference for the Wolverines.
Washington & Jefferson dominates Saint Vincent
Junior quarterback Jacob Pugh, a Thomas Jefferson graduate, led Washington & Jefferson to a dominant 51-0 Presidents’ Athletic Conference victory against Saint Vincent at Chuck Noll Field in Latrobe.
Pugh completed 19 of 30 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball six times for 29 yards and one score.
Bentworth graduate Owen Petrisek rushed for 66 yards and one touchdown on eight carries for the Presidents, while Bethel Park native Troy Volpatti carried the ball nine times for 27 yards and one score.