Duquesne Picked to Finish Second in NEC
Defending co-champion Sacred Heart was tabbed as the preseason favorite with six first place votes while Duquesne received one first place vote. The Dukes were followed by Robert Morris, Central Connecticut State, Wagner, Bryant and Saint Francis.
This is the fourth straight year Duquesne has been picked second in the NEC's preseason poll. In 2011, DU tied for the league title with Albany with a 7-1 record, in 2012 Duquesne tied for sixth at 3-5 and last year the Dukes finished tied for first with Sacred Heart at 4-2.
Tenth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt returns 16 starters, including nine on defense and seven on offense.
Three Dukes who were Second Team All-NEC picks last season - senior defensive back Rich Piekarski (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson), junior defensive lineman Zach Zidian (Youngstown, Ohio/Boardman) and sophomore placekicker Austin Crimmins (Ebensburg, Pa./Central Cambria) - were named to the preseason All-NEC team. They are joined by junior offensive lineman Dan Buchholz (Malvern, Pa./Great Valley) and sophomore linebacker Aaron Reed (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour).
The Dukes open the 2014 season at Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference on Saturday, August 30. The UB game will be DU's first against a Bowl Championship Subdivision team.
2014 Northeast Conference Football League Preseason Poll