Dawson scored on 9- and 18-yard runs as the Warriors (4-2, 2-0 Northeast Conference) scored 21 straight points to take a 28-14 lead late in the third quarter.
The Dukes (1-5, 0-2) quickly answered with a 48-yard deep strike from Darius Perrantes down the left sideline to Abdul Janneh in the final minute of the quarter.
Merrimack fumbled the ball inside the Duquesne 5-yard line and the Dukes pinned the Warriors at their one. However, Merrimack put together a 12-play drive, chewing up 6:33, before punting the ball to the Dukes' 15. Duquesne reached its own 41-yard line with a pair of first downs before four straight incompletions.
Gavin McCusker threw for a touchdown to Hayden Fisher and Donvan Wadley ran for his first career score for Merrimack. Tyvon Edmonds Jr. ran for 99 yards as the Warriors piled up 256 of their 419 total yards on the ground.
Joe Mischler and Perrantes each had a touchdown pass for the Dukes, who were 4 of 12 on third down, while Merrimack was successful on 11 of 15.
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