This is the seventh meeting between Duquesne and former six-time Northeast Conference champion Albany.
Aug 26, 2013
Game Notes vs Albany
Game:#1 - Dukes open against former NEC foe Albany
ALBANY (0-0) at DUQUESNE (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 at 12:10 p.m. Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field (2,200/Sportexe) Pittsburgh, Pa.
RADIO - WJAS-AM 1320 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
STREAMING AUDIO - RedZoneMedia.com or GoDuquesne.com
FREE STREAMING VIDEO & GAMETRACKER - GoDuquesne.com
Duquesne kicks off its 87th season of football against former Northeast Conference opponent Albany at home on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 12:10 p.m. (WJAS-AM 1320). Overall, the Dukes are 49-23-3 in season openers (records available since 1902, DU fielded its first team in 1891), including a 3-5 mark under ninth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt. This is the first time since 2010 the Dukes are opening at home. The Dukes are 12-8 in season openers since moving to the FCS level in 1993, with seven losses coming to Bucknell and the eighth coming on the road to nationally ranked Old Dominion last year. Last year, DU finished 5-6 and tied for sixth in the Northeast Conference with a 3-5 record. Duquesne returns 13 position starters from last year's team. This is Duquesne's sixth season as a scholarship-granting football program. With the move to the NEC, Duquesne offered 18 scholarships in February of 2008. That number has increased to 35 this season. Duquesne granted only need-based financial aid for football playing student-athletes as a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League from 1994 through 2007. The NEC competed as a non-scholarship member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision until 2006 when the conference adopted an athletics-based aid model. This is the fourth season the NEC regular season champion will be an automatic qualifier for the Division I Football Championship.
DUKES AND GREAT DANES
This is the seventh meeting between Duquesne and former six-time Northeast Conference champion Albany ... it is the first non-conference meeting between the two since the Nov. 23, 2002 ECAC Classic (a 24-0 Albany home win) ... Albany, which competed in the NEC from 1999 through 2012, is in its first season competing in the Colonial Athletic Association ... UAlbany leads the all-time series 5-1, including a 38-31 win on Nov. 10 at Rooney Field last year ... the game was DU's 2012 home finale ... last year - in a tale of two halves - Duquesne allowed a season-high 309 yards rushing, including 229 in the first half as UA jumped out to a 35-7 halftime lead ... DU pulled to within seven on a Sean Brady TD catch with 11 seconds left ... Albany, which was held to three second-half points, covered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win ... Albany leads the series 2-1 in games in Pittsburgh.
Duquesne, which dropped a 38-31 decision to Albany in its final home game last season (Nov. 10), will be looking across the field at the same uniforms in this year's opener. This marks the first time since 1983 that DU has faced the same team in back-to-back home games (DU played Geneva in its final home game of 1982 and first home game of 1983).
The Aug. 31 opener vs. Albany is the earliest since 2003 (Aug. 30 at Bucknell) and earliest home opener since 2001 (Aug. 30 vs. VMI).
Albany returns 11 starters from last year's 9-2, Northeast Conference (7-1) co-championship team ... the Great Danes are in their first season as a football playing member of the Colonial Athletic Association ... UAlbany was picked to finish 10th of 11 teams in the CAA preseason poll ... the Great Danes, who did not land a player on the CAA preseason all-conference team, return junior quarterback Will Fiacchi who set a school single-season record for pass completions last season (188-of-309 for 2,156 yards, 11 TD, 5 int) ... Albany led the NEC in scoring offense (34.1 ppg.), was second in total offense (408 ypg.) and third in total defense (337.9 pyg.) a year ago ... Bob Ford is beginning his final season as head coach of UA ... Ford, who was hired on April 27, 1970, is the longest active tenured coach in all of college football ... the only head football coach UAlbany has ever known, he has amassed 264 wins (255 at the varsity level) - first among active NCAA Division I coaches ... Ford was the youngest head football coach in the nation when he took over the St. Lawrence University program in 1965 ... he will turn 76 on Sept. 11.
YOUTH IS SERVED
The Dukes enter the season with just 13 seniors and 16 returning juniors. Of the 93 players on the roster (as of Aug. 26) the class breakdown is as follows: seniors (13) (including grad students), juniors (27) (includes 11 first-year transfers), sophomores (20), redshirt freshmen (16) and freshmen (17). Of the 2013 returnees, 25 started at least once last season.
IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
Duquesne is 19-15 in non-conference games under ninth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt with wins over Robert Morris (three times prior to joining the NEC), Dayton (three times), Bucknell (twice) and Fordham (twice). At home, the Dukes are 12-2 in non-league play, while on the road Schmitt's Dukes have fashioned a 7-13 mark. DU snapped a seven-game skid in non-conference road games with a 22-13 win at Dayton on Sept. 3, 2011. The win snapped Dayton's FCS-best win streak at 10. DU went 2-1 in non-conference games last season.
Captains for the 2013 season are: senior DL Reggie Eiland (Accokeek, Md./Gwynn Park), senior OL Nick Redden (Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield Area) and senior WR Gianni Carter (Eugene, Ore./Marist). A fourth captain will be named for each game. The fourth captain for Albany will be senior OL Frank Balmaceda (Miami, Fla./G. Holmes Braddock).
Three players with BCS game experience are on the opening day 2-deep: back-up RB Jason Douglas (Pitt), starting LB Dorian Bell (Ohio State) and starting S Chris Johnson (Florida) have all played in a BCS game. Back-up CB Ken Egu ran track and was on the football team at Washington, but did not see action.
NEW FACES ON THE SIDELINE
Head coach Jerry Schmitt added three new staff members for 2013 in linebackers coach Matt Raich, running backs coach Ryan Lehmeier and outside linebackers coach Zach Richert. Raich spent the past six seasons on Ken Whisenhunt's Arizona Cardinals staff - the last four as linebackers coach. The Monaca, Pa. native worked as a offensive assistant for the Pittsburgh Steelers before moving to Phoenix. Raich has also coached collegiately at his alma mater Westminster College, Robert Morris and Glenville State. Lehmeier comes to DU from Finday (Ohio) where he spent the past two seasons as running backs coach. A graduate of nearby North Hills High School, Lehmeier had a standout playing career at running back for Slippery Rock. Richert, who played in 43 games for the Dukes from 2009-12, was DU's Male Student-Athlete of the Year for 2012-13. In additional coaching moves, Michael Craig has moved from coaching linebackers to secondary and Darnel Richardson has moved from secondary to coaching DU's receivers.
Duquesne, which returns 13 position starters, lost five of its last six to finish 5-6 last season (3-5 in the NEC). All five of DU's NEC losses were by seven or fewer points (the average margin of defeat was -5.0 ppg.).
Twenty-five returnees started at least once last season.
Seven true freshmen (NT Zach Zidian, DE Dane O'Driscoll, DE Luis Quintana, LB Christian Kuntz, LB Sam Martello, DB Josh Jordan and DB Adam Clopton) saw meaningful playing time on the defensive side of the ball last season.
Redshirt freshman Dillon Buechel is first in line to replace three-year starting quarterback Sean Patterson (536-955-63-6,762-28). Patterson, who started 33 consecutive times, accounted for over 95 percent of DU's pass attempts, passing yards and touchdown passes since 2010. Beuchel beat out senior Marty Mitchell (14-29-6-189-2) - the only quarterback on the roster who has attempted a college pass - for the start vs. Albany.
DU also lost all-time rushing leader Larry McCoy (956-4,549-37). McCoy accounted for 66.3 percent of Duquesne's rushing yards, 61.9 percent of DU's rushing attempts and 61.7 percent of the Dukes' rushing TDs over the past three seasons. Junior Ryan Ho (45-184-1 last year) will get the start at tailback vs. Albany.
The Dukes have to replace a three of four starting linebackers. Departed seniors Horvin Latimer, Chidozie Oparanozie and Derrick Lakins combined for 565 tackles and 98 starts. The projected starters at those three positions - sophomores Sam Martello & Christian Kuntz and redshirt freshman Aaron Reed - have combined for 71 tackles and three starts.
DU's first scholarship class, signed in February of 2008, made up the majority of last year's senior class. Duquesne offered 18 scholarships to the first class. That number has been increased to the current number of 35.
DU is 15-9 in NEC play over the past three seasons (5-3 in 2010, 7-1 in 2011 and 3-5 in 2012). The Dukes went 4-11 in their first two seasons in the conference (2-5 in 2008 and 2-6 in 2009).
Duquesne is 19-15 in non-conference games under ninth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt with noteworthy wins over Robert Morris (three times prior to joining the NEC), Dayton (three times), Bucknell (twice) and Fordham (twice). At home, the Dukes are 11-2 in non-league play, while on the road Schmitt's Dukes have fashioned a 7-13 mark. DU snapped a seven-game skid in non-conference road games with a 22-13 win at Dayton on Sept. 3, 2011. The win snapped Dayton's FCS-best win streak at 10. DU is 5-2 in non-conference games over the past two seasons.
DU has defeated every team in the NEC under current head coach Jerry Schmitt.
DU will play FCS power Youngstown State for the first time in school history on Sept. 21. YSU, which won at Pitt last year, will play at Michigan State the week before it hosts the Dukes.
DU will face former NEC members Albany and Monmouth. Albany is competing in the Colonial Athletic Association, while Monmouth will be an independent this season before joining the Big South in 2014.
With the NEC departure of Albany and Monmouth, DU will play five non-conference games: Albany (Colonial Athletic Association), Dayton (Pioneer Football League), Youngstown State (Missouri Valley Football Conference), West Liberty (Division II West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) and Monmouth (Independent).