The Central Connecticut football team earned a 38-31 victory over Duquesne on Saturday at Arute Field. The victory is the first of the season for the Blue Devils and comes on CCSU's annual homecoming weekend. Junior Andrew Clements and sophomore Rob Hollomon led the way with career-high performances.
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The Blue Devils (1-5, 1-2 NEC) recorded a season-high 495 yards of total offense with Clements throwing for a career-high 188 yards. On the ground, CCSU ran for 293 yards with Hollomon rushing for a career-high 164 yards.
The Blue Devil defense capped the game by forcing a turnover-on-downs on the Dukes' final drive of the game. Duquesne's Sean Patterson threw a pair of incomplete passes and then was sacked by redshirt freshman Mark Robinson and junior Chuck Watson on third down. Facing a fourth and 16, Duquesne threw deep down the right sideline, in a last effort to tie the game, but junior Chris Linares broke up the pass and secured the win for the Blue Devils.
Senior Juan Duque capped CCSU's first drive of the game with a 22-yard field goal, which gave the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead in the game and their first lead of the season. The Blue Devils got the ball when junior Markeith Cirinna forced a fumble deep in Duquesne's territory. The loose ball was recovered by junior Aaron Strumski.
Central expanded the lead by scoring touchdowns on its next two drives. Both scores came via short touchdown runs by Clements who finished with 83 yards on the ground in addition to his passing yardage.
Duquesne (4-2, 2-1 NEC) cut into the lead with a Ryan Ho touchdown run with 6:17 remaining in the half.
The Dukes tied the game in the second half with a touchdown and a field goal to start the third quarter.
The Blue Devils quickly grabbed the lead back on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Clements to senior Deven Baker and extended the lead on their next drive with a 14-yard touchdown run by senior Nate Pagan.
The Dukes continued to fight, scoring on a 18-yard touchdown pass from Patterson to Ryan Ho.
CCSU's offense again answered quickly, this time on a 29-yard scoring run by Hollomon. The big play of the drive was a 42-yard pass from Clements to sophomore Thomas Tarantino that pushed the Blue Devils into Duquesne territory.
Duquesne found the end zone again in the fourth quarter, but the Blue Devils held on for the 38-31 victory.
The defense was led by junior Patrick Atkinson who recorded nine tackles, including three solo stops. Cirinna totaled five solo-tackles and eight total for the game, in addition to his forced fumble.
The CCSU offensive line helped the team rush for 5.6 yards per attempt and average 6.6 yards per play.
Clements was 14-of-22 passing with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also carried 17 times. Hollomon rushed 23 times and was not stopped behind the line on any of his carries.
Duque was 5-of-5 on point after attempts and hit his only field goal attempt of the game.
The Blue Devils return to action next Saturday at Robert Morris. Fans can watch that game on NECFrontRow.com and listen to the game on Fox Sports Radio 1410 AM.