The Central Connecticut football team dropped a 38-31 decision to Duquesne in the final game of the 2018 season on Saturday. The loss ends the Blue Devils' season with a 6-5 overall record and a 4-2 record in Northeast Conference play. Sophomore wide receiver Tyshaun James finished the game with four catches for 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the loss. The Blue Devils posted 351 yards of total offense in the loss, including 132 on the ground. Sophomore Aaron Dawson had 81 yards on 19 carries in the game.
The Dukes earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs with the win, and are 8-3 overall and 5-1 in NEC play. They earn the tiebreaker over Sacred Heart, who also finished with a 5-1 league record.
With the game tied 31-31 with under 30 seconds to play, Duquesne quarterback Daniel Parr hit Nehari Crawford with a 56-yard touchdown to give the Dukes the victory. Crawford finished the game with 124 receiving yards and the touchdown.
The Blue Devils had tied the game 31-31 on a five-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Jacob Dolegala with 5:35 on the clock. The teams traded punts after the CCSU touchdown before Duquesne got the ball with 1:41 left in the fourth quarter on their game-winning drive.
Dolegala finished the game 13-of-28 for 219 yards and three touchdowns, moving over 8,000 career passing yards in the game. He is the program's all-time leader and is fifth in NEC history with 8,129 total passing yards in his career. He also rushed four times for 29 yards in the game.
Sophomore defensive back DJ Exilhomme finished the game with 16 tackles and three forced fumbles in the game. He added two pass break-ups and a tackle for a loss. Senior Kenneth Keen finished the game with 10 tackles, one sack and a pair of tackles for a loss.
James had a career-high 94 yards receiving and his two touchdowns. His first score came as the first quarter came to a close and it went for 62-yards. His second was an 18-yarder in the third quarter that cut the Duquesne lead to 28-24.
The Blue Devils opened the scoring in the first quarter on an eight-yard pass from Dolegala to Dawson. It was one of three scoring passes on the day for Dolegala. The Dukes led 21-17 at halftime and scored on their first drive of the second half to extend the lead to 28-17, the largest lead of the game for either team.
Central was just 3-of-12 on third downs in the game, while Duquesne was 11-of-18 and also was good on their only fourth down conversion attempt. The racked up 388 yards of total offense, including 277 in the air. They also held a 34:29-25:31 advantage in time of possession.