McCoy becomes Duquesne's all-time leading rusher in loss to Monmouth
Duquesne senior running back Larry McCoy walked along the home bleachers and shook hands with fans, some of whom came from his hometown of Wytheville, Va., and wore apparel from his high school, George Wythe.
McCoy smiled all the while as men, women and children congratulated him for becoming the Dukes' all-time leading rusher. But he knew a more somber setting waited in the locker room.
A record-breaking afternoon also included heartbreak, as a second-half rally by Duquesne (5-3, 3-2) did not suffice against Northeast Conference foe Monmouth (4-4, 3-2), which won, 28-27, after leading by 14 points at the half. The loss snapped the Dukes' 10-game home winning streak.
“It kills you, because we fought for this,” McCoy said. “We fought to the end, and we were there. We had so many chances, and they got away from us.”
McCoy, who rushed for 116 yards on 29 carries, needed 69 yards to pass Donte Small, a standout from 1998 to 2001 who finished with 4,260 yards in his career. Monmouth's conference-leading run defense (105.9 yards allowed per game) made certain that McCoy's moment of glory didn't arrive too quickly.
“You're not going to stop a great back like Larry McCoy,” Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan said. “He's all-conference, and you see all the records he has because he is a great back. … We wanted to jam up some of the inside running lanes and made sure we had all the runs leveraged so that he couldn't pop anything for big gains.”
The senior reached the magic number with his 21st carry, which came with 6:15 left in the third quarter. He swept to the left and fought through traffic for a 4-yard gain that gave him 69 yards exactly.
But he then lost four yards on his next rush. A one-yard dive followed.
McCoy reclaimed the all-time lead for good in the fourth quarter with his 24th carry, a 22-yard draw up the middle that came with 8:30 left on the clock.
“We knew he'd get it,” Duquesne coach Jerry Schmitt said. “Eventually this year, he'd get it. We're proud of him, happy for him. He's a great young man, and he'd trade that for the win any day.”
McCoy now has 880 rushes for 4,308 yards in his career.
“Winning is most important,” McCoy said, “winning with my teammates and getting better.
“It's definitely an honor (to break the record). … Coming from a little school in Wytheville, a single A school, I really had to work hard, and I really never thought of anything like this, like breaking Donte Small's record. He's a legend around here.”
Quarterback Sean Patterson provided offensive balance, as he threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns. Receivers Sean Brady and Gianni Carter combined for 15 receptions, 200 yards and two touchdowns.
Monmouth sophomore running back Julian Hayes upstaged all other playmakers, as he rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries, with 108 of those yards coming in the first half.
A silver lining for Duquesne's conference title chances: The Dukes still have to face the top two teams in the standings, Albany and Wagner.
“If you want to show that you're the best team in the conference, you go win out and show that you're the best team,” Schmitt said. “Forget about the stats and all that stuff. Play hard and show that you're the best team. If you get some help, you get some help. If not, you know you did the best you can.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303.