#DUQFB Picked to Finish Second in the NEC
PITTSBURGH - Duquesne University has been picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference Football League, according to a preseason poll of the league's seven head coaches released today.
Defending champion Sacred Heart was tabbed as the preseason favorite with six first place votes. Duquesne, which has won a share of two of the past three NEC titles, received the other 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 NEC record and last year the Dukes shared the crown with SHU with a 4-2 league mark. Both seasons DU lost the tiebreaker and automatic bid to the FCS Championship.
Duquesne has won more more overall games (28), more conference games (19) and posted more winning seasons (3) than any other NEC school - both overall and in league play - over the past four seasons.
Tenth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt returns 16 position starters, including seven on offense, and nine on defense in 2014.
Five Dukes were named to the NEC preseason team: sophomore placekicker Austin Crimmins (Ebensburg, Pa./Central Cambria), junior offensive lineman Dan Buchholz (Malvern, Pa./Great Valley), junior defensive lineman Zach Zidian (Youngstown, Ohio/Boardman), sophomore linebacker Aaron Reed (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour) and senior defensive back Rich Piekarski (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson).
Crimmins, Piekarski and Zidian were all second team postseason All-NEC picks in 2013.
Duquesne, which opened Fall camp today, kicks off the 2014 season at Buffalo at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 30. The game will air on ESPN3.
2014 Northeast Conference Football League Preseason Poll
1. Sacred Heart (6)