ATHENS, Ohio — All the fans flocked to Peden Stadium expecting to witness a first.
It just wasn’t the first that a good majority of those people expected to see.
Visiting Duquesne — a Football Championship Subdivision program — claimed its first-ever win over a Football Bowl Subdivision team on Saturday afternoon with a shocking 28-26 victory over the Ohio Bobcats in a Week 2 non-conference contest in Athens County.
The Dukes (1-1) — who moved from Division III to their current FCS status in the fall of 1993 — found themselves in a 13-3 hole less than five minutes into regulation, but the Red and Blue reeled off 22 consecutive points from there to secure a 25-13 advantage just five seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Bobcats (0-2) — who are still looking for their first win under first-year coach Tim Albin — rallied with 13 of the final 16 points over the last 10:45 of regulation, but the hosts failed to convert an all-important 2-point conversion that left the contest at 28-26 with nine seconds left.
OU also failed on its bid to recover an onside kick in the ensuing moments, allowing Duquesne to simply take a knee on its final offensive snap of the game to lock up the 2-point triumph.
The Dukes easily won the time of possession battle after running offensive plays for 41:02 of the 60-minute affair. DU also outgained the Green and White by a 362-307 margin that included a 168-139 advantage on the ground.
Duquesne was 7-of-16 on third down conversions and also went 2-for-2 on fourth down tries. The Bobcats, conversely, were 1-of-7 on third down plays and went 1-for-1 on fourth down.
Ohio needed just 13 seconds to secure a quick 6-0 advantage as De’Montre Tuggle returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown. Stephen Johnson’s extra point attempt, however, sailed wide.
Brian Bruzdewicz cut the DU deficit in half with a 23-yard field goal at the 10:56 mark of the first, but a 15-yard Tuggle run — and a Johnson PAT boot — put Ohio ahead by a 13-3 count with 10:25 left in the opening period.
Bruzdewicz added a 38-yard field goal with 4:19 left in the first to trim the deficit down to 13-6, then the Dukes recorded a safety as O’Shaan Allison was tackled in the end zone on the final play of the first quarter — making it a 13-8 contest.
Bruzdewicz nailed a 21-yard field goal with 49 seconds left in the second quarter to make it a 13-11 Ohio lead at the break.
The Dukes — who ran 42 of the 61 offensive plays in the first half — strung together a 10-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in an 18-13 lead when Darius Perrantes scored on a 1-yard run with 9:41 left in the third frame.
Perrantes then found Joey Isabella with a 3-yard touchdown pass five seconds into the fourth quarter, allowing Duquesne to take its largest lead of the game at 25-13.
Quarterback Kurtis Rourke scored on a 2-yard scamper with 10:45 left in regulation for a 25-20 deficit, but a 27-yard Bruzdewicz field goal with 2:46 remaining increased the DU lead back out to 28-20.
Ty Walton hauled in a 3-yard pass from Rourke with nine seconds left in the game, but Rourke’s 2-point conversion pass attempt ultimately went incomplete and allowed the Dukes to maintain a 28-26 cushion.
Duquesne went a perfect 6-for-6 in red zone opportunities and converted all six of its kicking attempts, including four field goals and a pair of extra points. The Bobcats, on the other hand, were 3-of-4 inside the red zone and missed both an extra point and a 30-yard field goal with 9:06 left in the first half.
DU claimed a 26-15 advantage in first downs and was also flagged eight times for 46 yards, while Ohio was penalized a dozen times for 112 yards. Neither team had a turnover in the contest.
Allison led the Bobcats with 76 rushing yards on 12 attempts, while Rourke completed 14-of-22 passes for 168 yards and one score. Walton led the hosts with six catches for 44 yards and Cameron Odom hauled in three passes for 74 yards.
Jett Elad and Bryce Houston paced the OU defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
Garrett Owens led the DU rushing attack with 82 yards on 23 carries, while Perrantes completed 23-of-34 passes for 194 yards and a score. Isabella hauled in eight passes for 45 yards.
Jeremiah Josephs paced the Dukes defensively with eight tackles.
Duquesne had previously lost its four matchups against FBS opponents by 10-or-more points on all four occasions. OU hadn’t lost to an FCS opponent since suffering a 31-0 setback to Northeastern back on Sept. 7, 2002.
The Bobcats haven’t started a season with consecutive losses since dropping four straight at the beginning of the 2008 campaign. Ohio finished 4-8 that fall … the last season in which Ohio posted a losing record.
The Bobcats make a quick return to action on Thursday night as they travel to Lafayette to battle the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns in a non-conference matchup at 8 p.m.
Editor’s Note: This story will appear in the Wednesday sports editions of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Point Pleasant Register and The Daily Sentinel.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.