The University of Dubuque took control of the line of scrimmage on an all-run 66-yard opening drive for a touchdown and on the next series the Spartans defensive line exhibited the same dominance with both fronts leading the US collegiate team to a decisive victory over the Dublin Rebels, reigning Shamrock Bowl champions, in Ireland. On a mostly sunny, 66-degree day at the Dublin Sportslink facility the Spartans offense was not to be stopped – nor stopped themselves – while their defense was very stingy giving up little yardage and adding a few scores of their own.
On the games opening offensive play the Spartans Dwayne Allen Jr. went 54-yards, then 10-yards and finished with a 2-yard touchdown scoring run. Brayden Neuendorf added the first of 12 extra-points and the Spartans were up early 7-0. On the Dublin Rebels first possession, Jacob Beasley batted down a pass forcing 4th down. An errant Rebels punt snap gave Dubuque the ball on the Irish teams 6-yard line and on 1st down Michael Briscoe booted to find his tight end Trenton Grana-Curry available in the end zone for a 14-0 Spartans lead.
The next series the Rebels achieved one first down then had to punt. Though a penalty on Dubuque pushed them back, Tyson Russell ripped off a 18-yard run for a 1st down and then Patrick Ryan hit a streaking Kody Reimer down the sideline for a 41-yard scoring strike. On the next possession, after a Rebels reception the Spartans defense stripped the ball and Dalton Knaack scooped up the loose football going 27-
yards for Dubuque’s first defensive score. This put Dubuque up 28-0 at the end of one quarter.
The Spartans defense produced another three-and-out and then it was Keyshawen Carr’s drive as he had big runs sandwiched around a 14-yard, 1st down reception by Emmanuel Jenkins. Carr converted from 6 yards out to push the advantage to 35-0.
Neuendorf’s kickoffs continually pinned the Rebels deep and after another 3-and-out the Spartans took over at their own 49. This time Briscoe threw for 6-yards then 16 to Nick Resch. Standing in the pocket with ample time provided by the offensive line, he then capped off the drive with a 21-yard scoring strike to Jenkins.
Before the end of the half Russell added another touchdown this time from 11-yards out and and the Spartans defense got in on the scoring party when Casey Larson jumped a hook route and went 37-yards with the interception to paydirt.
Dubuque’s Carr again lead a drive going 32-yards on the last two snaps to start the second half scoring. After the Rebels could not convert on 4th-and-short the Spartans took over with favorable field condition and after a 22-yard completion Allen went in from 2-yards out. Later in the 3rd quarter Chad Marsh had a fumble recovery on a mishandled Rebels exchange and a 23-yard pass put the Spartans on the board again. To cap off the 3rd quarter scoring, Tyler Gordon booted the ball in from 3-yards out.
As the Rebels tried to work on their passing game in the 4th quarter and showed some success, eventually the Spartans pounced on errors with Conor Feckley (44-yards) and Grana-Curry (31 yards) both adding interceptions that went back to the house. Chad Marsh scored in the waning moments on a 4-yard run to end the touchdown barrage of the Spartans.
Following the friendly contest, members of both teams and staffs spent time on the field and in a post-game social at the Sportslink dining facilities. Some activities spilled over into Dublin later in the evening.
This was the Dubuque Spartans third NCAA permissible foreign competition to Europe with previous journeys to Italy, Spain-France and now Ireland.