Duquesne quarterback Dillon Buechel threw for 330 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Wayne Capers ran for two more scores Saturday afternoon as the NCAA Division I FCS Dukes coasted to a 39-13 win against West Liberty at Rooney Field.
Duquesne (3-2) jumped out to a 15-0 lead after one quarter on a 25-yard scoring toss from Buechel to Dave Thomas and a 2-yard TD burst by Capers but the Hilltoppers (2-3) appeared ready to answer after DB Charles Simon picked off a Buechel pass near midfield and ran it all the way back to the Dukes’ 22.
The West Liberty offense couldn’t move the sticks, however, and Shawn Carl’s 33-yard field goal try twisted wide left.
After holding Duquesne to an unsuccessful 45-yard field goal attempt, the Hilltoppers quickly found themselves knocking on the door again when QB Dakota Conwell led a 7-play march that set up a first-and-goal inside the Dukes’ 10.
West Liberty came away empty-handed again when Duquesne’s Devin Williams picked off a Conwell pass at the 3 with just under 2 minutes to go in the half.
Unfortunately for the visitors, that proved to be just enough time for Buechel to lead the Dukes the length of the field for a back-breaking TD. Marcus Hughes ran it in from 5 yards out with only 15 seconds remaining in the half for a 22-0 Duquesne lead at the break.
The Dukes added insult to injury on the opening possession of the second half when Buechel hit Chris King – the nation’s leading receiver – with a 75-yard touchdown pass to make it 29-0 at 12:24 of the third quarter.
Conwell answered that score by capping a 60-yard, 10-play drive with a 5-yard TD toss to TE Daree Goodwin and then followed a short Duquesne field goal with a 13-yard scoring strike to Anton McCallum but it was too little, too late. The Dukes wrapped up the scoring on the first series of the fourth quarter with another short touchdown run from Capers.
Conwell completed 14-of-34 passes for 134 yards and 2 TDs with 2 interceptions. Isiah Moody led West Liberty on the ground with 60 yards on 14 carries while McCallum topped the Hilltopper receivers with 5 catches for 71 yards.
Buechel completed 22-of-34 passes for 330 yards and 2 TDs with 3 interceptions. King caught 7 balls for 142 yards and Thomas added 87 yards on 3 grabs. Klartel Claridy led the Duquesne ground game with 64 yards on a dozen carries.
West Liberty returns home Saturday to host Fairmont State in the annual Homecoming Game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at West Family Stadium.