Duquesne opens the 2012 season Saturday at Old Dominion.
Aug. 27, 2012
Game:#1 - Dukes open on road at night vs. highest FCS ranked opponent in school history
DUQUESNE (0-0) at No. 8/6 OLD DOMINION (0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 1 at 6:00 p.m.
Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium (19,818/Astroturf) • Norfolk, Va.
Rankings - Sports Network (media)/AFCA (coaches)
RADIO: WMNY-AM 1360 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
STREAMING AUDIO: RedZoneMedia.com or GoDuquesne.com
LIVE VIDEO & GAMETRACKER: ODUSports.com
Duquesne kicks off its 86th season of football under the lights at Old Dominion on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 6:00 p.m. (WMNY-AM 1360). Overall, the Dukes are 49-22-3 in season openers (records available since 1902, DU fielded its first team in 1891), including a 3-4 mark under eighth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt. This is the first time since 2005 Duquesne is not facing Bucknell in the season opener. The Dukes are 13-7 in season openers since 1992 with all seven losses coming to Bucknell. Last year, DU finished 9-2 and tied for the regular-season league title in its fourth season in the Northeast Conference (7-1 with Albany). This is Duquesne’s fifth 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 32 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 third season the NEC regular season champion will be an automatic qualifier for the Division I Football Championship. Duquesne returns nine position starters from last year’s co-championship team.
DUKES AND MONARCHS: This is the first meeting between Duquesne and Old Dominion ... ODU, ranked No. 6 in the coaches and No. 8 in The Sports Network preseason polls, represents the highest ranked FCS team Duquesne has ever faced ... the Monarchs, who played before an average crowd of 19,818 last season, will challenge the largest crowd Duquesne has played before since reinstatement of the football program in 1969 (18,922 at No. 11/12 Delaware on Sept. 18, 2010) ... Delaware, which went on to advance to the 2010 FCS title game, was the first - and highest ranked - FCS team Duquesne has faced ... Duquesne has played at three 15,000+ seat venues under head coach Jerry Schmitt ... Schmitt’s first two road games at Duquesne were at 52,593-seat Franklin Field (a 41-14 loss to Penn) at Columbia’s 17,000-seat Lawrence Wein Stadium (a 23-13 defeat) ... the third was UD’s Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium which seats 22,000 ... this is Duquesne’s second trip to the state of Virginia ... on Sept. 20, 2000, DU opened the season with a 57-31 win at VMI.
ON OLD DOMINION: The Monarchs went 10-3 and 6-2 in the CAA (2nd place) in advancing to the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs ... ODU finished the season ranked tenth nationally in just the third year of the program’s existence ... ODU, the winningest start-up program in FCS history with a three-year record of 27-8, has sold out all 21 home games since reinstating football in 2009 ... Old Dominion returns 17 starters including seven each on offense and defense.
VERSUS RANKED FCS TEAMS
Duquesne is 0-1 against nationally ranked FCS opponents:
SN AFCA Opponent Date W/L Score
#11 #12 at Delaware 9/18/10 L 6-30
Rankings: Sports Network (media)/AFCA (coaches)
LARGEST ROAD CROWDS
Here is a list of the largest crowds Duquesne has played in front of since reinstatement of the program in 1969. DU regularly played before large crowds from the 1930s until the program was disbanded following the 1950 season:
18,922 -- at #11/12 Delaware, 9/18/10 (L, 6-30)
8,672 -- at Penn, 9/17/05 (L, 14-41)
8,181 -- at Penn, 9/20/03 (L, 10-51)
8,016 -- at Robert Morris, 10/8/94 (L, 6-28)
6,972 -- at Bucknell, 9/6/97 (L, 16-23)
6,478 -- at Holy Cross, 9/4/04 (W, 31-7)
• Duquesne, which returns nine starters, won its final five games to finish the 2011 season 9-2 (7-1 in the NEC).
• Duquesne’s current five-game win streak (CCSU, Wagner, at Monmouth, at Sacred Heart and Robert Morris) is the school’s longest since a five-game streak in 2007. The streak is DU’s longest since moving to the NEC in 2008. The last time DU won six in a row was in 2002 (first 11 games of an 11-1 season).
• The Dukes, who ranked 4th nationally in total defense (281.6 ypg.), surrendered just two touchdowns in the last 12 quarters of 2011. DU returns just four starters on defense in senior linebackers Derrick Lakins, Chidozie Oparanozie and Horvin Latimer and senior AP All-America safety Serge Kona.
• Duquesne ranked in the Top 10 nationally in four defensive categories last season: pass defense (1st), total defense (4th), pass efficiency defense (6th) and scoring defense (8th).
• DU is 12-4 in NEC play over the past two seasons (5-3 in 2010 and 7-1 last year). The Dukes went 4-11 in their first two seasons in the conference (2-5 in 2008 and 2-6 in 2009).
• DU has now defeated every team in the NEC under current head coach Jerry Schmitt.
• Four returnees who suffered season-ending injuries in the span of 20 days last September are back: RB Ryan Ho (ankle on Sept. 3 at Bucknell), WR Dave Thomas (foot on Sept. 17 vs. Valparaiso), WR Akeem Moore (knee in practice on Sept. 21) and DL Reggie Eiland (off field ankle injury on Sept. 22). Two of the four - Moore and Eiland - started at least once before being injured. The other two - Ho and Thomas - were playing prominent roles on DU’s kickoff return team before getting hurt. Three of the four participated in spring drills (all but Moore).
• DU’s first scholarship class, signed in February of 2008, makes up the majority of this year’s senior class. Duquesne offered 18 scholarships to the first class. That number has been increased to the current number of 32.
• Duquesne returns 85.5 percent of its rushing yards mainly in the legs of senior running back Larry McCoy. McCoy carried 288 times for 1,381 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior (ranked 9th nationally). McCoy, who topped 100 yards a school record nine times in 2011, leads all FCS returnees with 700 career carries (21.2 carries/g.). In all, the Dukes return rushers who accounted for 17 of 19 rushing TDs last season.
• On the other hand, DU will have to replace 89.9 percent of its receiving yardage which came primarily in the form of Isaac Spragg (59-662-5), Connor Dixon (40-792-16) and Brooks Roorback (30-254-0). Spragg led the NEC in receptions (5.4) while Dixon, whose 16 TD receptions were the third-most by an FCS receiver last season, was a first team All-NEC pick. In all, six departed pass catchers (including Joe Cangilla, tight end Brian Layhue and running back Bill Bair) accounted for 143 of 159 receptions, 1,912 of 2,033 yards and 22 of 23 touchdown catches in 2011. Senior running back Larry McCoy is DU’s top returning receiver with five catches. Returnees Noel Oduho, Akeem Moore and fullback Ethan Dorsey had three receptions each. Wide receivers Dave Thomas and Sean Brady had one apiece.
• Duquesne is 17-14 in non-conference games under 8th year head coach Jerry Schmitt (11-2 at home and 6-12 on the road). The Dukes snapped a seven-game road non-conference losing streak with a 22-13 win at Dayton last season. The Flyers entered the game with the nation’s longest FCS win streak at 10.
• The Dukes bring a seven-game home win streak into the 2012 season. The last time DU won seven in a row at home was from 2002 into 2004 when Duquesne reeled off a Rooney Field record 16 in a row.
• DU has posted back-to-back road wins in NEC play for the first time (16-0 at Monmouth and 29-15 at Sacred Heart in the last two conference road games of 2011).
• QB Sean Patterson is 13-3 in his past 16 starts. The junior lefty has thrown for 36 touchdowns with 11 interceptions over that span.
• A major renovation of the home locker room as well as coaches offices located in the fieldhouse located off the east end of Rooney Field was completed prior to last season. The newly named Keller Fieldhouse project comes on the heels of a renovation of Rooney Field which was completed in 2009.
• Two familiar faces are part of the DU coaching staff this season. Niel Loebig, who served on Duquesne’s coaching staff from 2006 through 2010, has returned as passing game coordinator and receivers coach. Loebig, who threw for over 10,000 yards (10,254) and 100 touchdowns (103) for the Dukes from 2001-04, spent last season at Lely High School in Naples, Fla. He was DU’s quarterbacks coach from 2006-09, added the title of passing game coordinator in 2009 and served as offensive coordinator in 2010. Connor Dixon, a first team All-NEC receiver for the Dukes last season, is in his first year as tight ends coach. Dixon, a western Pennsylvania native, attended Michigan State as a quarterback before to transferring to Duquesne prior to the 2008 season. He started at QB for the Dukes in 2008 before shoulder injuries forced him to move to receiver. Granted a rare sixth season of eligibility the day before last year’s opener, he completed his career with a unique stat line that included 26 touchdown passes thrown and 23 touchdown passes caught in his four seasons at Duquesne.