Freshman quarterback Dillon Buechel - who set school records for passes attempted and completed in a season - was one of six underclassmen who earned NEC All-Conference honors.
Jan. 8, 2014
Complete 2013 Season Review
7-4 Overall, 4-2/T1st in Northeast Conference
Six minutes and thirty-seven seconds were all that separated Duquesne from its first NCAA Football Championship appearance in 2013. Instead, the Dukes - who were coming off a 5-6 season - had to settle for a tie for their second Northeast Conference title in three years with a 4-2 league record.
The Dukes, who finished tied with Sacred Heart for the title, were tied at 0-0 with the Pioneers at SHU's Campus Field in a Nov. 9 showdown game, before the Pioneers scored a field goal and touchdown in the final 6:37 to pull out the win and take command of the NEC race.
For the Dukes, who finished with a 7-4 record, the 2013 season was one of redemption.
Led by a redshirt freshman quarterback, a talented group of receivers and a defense that ranked fifth nationally in total first downs allowed, Duquesne won six of its final eight games in re-establishing itself as a force in the NEC.
Dillon Buechel set school records for pass completions (217) and attempts (373) in throwing for a DU freshman record 2,569 yards - the sixth-highest yardage total in school history. In the process, he became the first DU player named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List (presented annually to the top freshman in the FCS).
Five receivers finished with 24 or more catches led by Second Team All-NEC senior Gianni Carter (51-737-6). The other four were all underclassmen: sophomore Dave Thomas (49-592-1), junior Devin Rahming (32-395-3), sophomore Chris King (26-311-2) and junior Noel Oduho (24-238-0).
Second Team All-NEC picks senior center Nick Redden , senior guard Frank Balmaceda and junior tight end Kyle Shuman anchored an offensive line that helped the Dukes average 22.4 points and 346 yards per game.
A talented group of linebackers helped the DU finish 16th nationally in total defense (325.5 ypg.). OLB Christian Kuntz, who led the nation in tackles for loss/g. (1.8), became just the fifth Duquesne player to earn Sports Network All-American honors (Third Team). In so doing, he became the first sophomore in school history to earn All-American honors from any affiliate.
Kuntz, who was DU's lone First Team All-NEC pick, tied with redshirt freshman ILB Aaron Reed for the team lead in tackles with 74. Senior OLB Dorian Bell, who led the team with six quarterback pressures, was named Second Team All-NEC along with sophomore DT Zach Zidian and junior S Rich Piekarski. The 315-pound Zidian, who had 44 tackles, showed a nose for the football with a team-high four fumble recoveries. Piekarski, who finished third on the team with 70 tackles, led the team with two interceptions and seven passes broken up.
Freshman Austin Crimmins kicked a school record-tying 15 field goals and scored 70 points on his way to earning Second Team All-NEC honors.
SPORTS NETWORK ALL-AMERICAN
Christian Kuntz, So., LB • Third Team
Kuntz, who led the nation in tackles for loss per game (1.8), was just the fifth Duquesne player to be honored by TSN since the team's inception in 1987. In so doing, he became the first sophomore in school history to earn All-American honors from any affiliate. Kuntz, the only Duke who was named First Team All-NEC in 2013, finished tied for the team lead with 74 tackles (32 solo). The two-time NEC Defensive Player of the Week led the Dukes in tackles for loss (19.5) and sacks (9.0) and tied for team-high with two fumbles forced.
DU's Sports Network FCS All-Americans since 1987
Antoine Bullock, Sr., DE -- 2005+
Bruce Hocker, Jr., WR -- 2006*
Serge Kona, Jr., S -- 2011+
Dorian Bell, Jr., LB -- 2012+
Christian Kuntz, So., LB -- 2013+
* - second team
+ - third team
CAPITAL ONE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT 2
Sam Martello, So. LB (3.92 accounting)
Luis Quintana, So., DL (3.75 finance)
Christian Kuntz, So., LB
Dillon Buechel, Fr., QB
Kyle Shuman, Jr., TE
Frank Balmaceda, Sr. OL
Nick Redden, Sr., OL
Zach Zidian, So., DL
Dorian Bell, Sr., LB
Rich Piekarski, Jr., DB
Austin Crimmins, Fr., PK
BY THE NUMBERS
2 . . . Number of Northeast Conference titles the Dukes have shared in the past three seasons. Duquesne, which just completed its sixth season as an associate football-only playing member of the NEC, earned a share of the 2011 regular season title (with Albany) with a 7-1 NEC record and part of the 2013 crown with Sacred Heart with a 4-2 mark.
3 . . . Number of winning seasons the Dukes have posted in the past four years. DU is the ONLY NEC school that can make that claim.
3 . . . School record number of times DU had two 100-yard receivers in a game in 2013. Nov. 13, 2010 was the last time Duquesne had two 100-yard receivers in the same game before Dave Thomas (5-107-0) & Gianni Carter (6-103-1) turned the trick in the opener vs. Albany. The Dukes also had two 100-yard receivers on Sept. 21 at Youngstown State (Carter 4-134-1 & Chris King 6-101-0) marking the first time since 2006 that the Dukes had multiple 100-yard receivers in multiple games. DU posted its school-record third multiple 100-yard game vs. CCSU (Devin Rahming 9-116-0 and Carter 5-111-1).
4 . . . Number of 100-yard receiving games posted by Second Team All-NEC receiver Gianni Carter in 2013. Four DU receivers had 100-yard receiving games in 2013: Carter (4), Chris King (2), Dave Thomas (2) & Devin Rahming (1).
4:09 . . . Amount of time it took for the DU defense to post three first quarter touchdowns in the 27-14 win over West Liberty: Nick Floyd - 71 yard interception return, Zach Zidian - fumble recovery in end zone and Dane O'Driscoll - 33 yard interception return.
5-0 . . . Duquesne's home record in 2013. It was the seventh undefeated season the Dukes have had on Rooney Field (since 1993).
6 . . . Number of times the Duquesne defense scored in 2013: safety in the season-opener vs. Albany, two interception returns and a fumble recovery in the end zone vs. West Liberty and a pair of third quarter safeties at Robert Morris. DU was 3-0 when the defense scored.
8 . . . Number of conference championship teams nine-year head coach Jerry Schmitt has been part of at Duquesne both as an assistant (MAAC - 1995, 1996 & 1999) and head coach (MAAC - 2005, 2006 & 2007 and NEC - 2011 & 2013).
12 . . . Number of freshmen who saw action in 2013. Ten played in the opener vs. Albany.
0:12 . . . Number of seconds into the 2013 season it took for the Dukes to score. Linebackers Sam Martello and Aaron Reed dropped Kevin Chillis for a 13-yard loss in the end zone for a safety on the first play from scrimmage in the opening day win over Albany.
15 . . . School single-season record-tying number of field goals by freshman Austin Crimmins. Crimmins kicked seven field goals - including a school record four in the saeson finale at Monmouth - in DU's last two games.
16 . . . Years between punt returns for a TD before Devin Rahming took one 62 yards for a score vs. Wagner on Oct. 12 (previous was a 49 yard return by Joe Rosato at Iona on Nov. 1, 1997).
18-9 . . . Duquesne's record in its past 27 NEC games dating back to the 2010 season. DU was 5-13 in its first 18 games while integrating a scholarship model.
19 . . . Number of NEC wins posted by the Dukes over the past four seasons - three more than any other conference school.
19.5 . . . Team-high tackles for loss recorded by sophomore linebacker Christian Kuntz. Kuntz's 1.8 TFLs per game ranked 1st nationally.
28 . . . DU's 28 wins over the past four seasons are five more than any other NEC school.
2005 . . . The last year a freshman opened the season at quarterback for the Dukes (Scott Knapp vs. Robert Morris), prior to Dillon Buechel's start in the 2013 opener vs. Albany.
2,569 . . . Duquesne freshman record yards thrown for by Buechel in 2013.