@DuqFB Opens Home Slate Saturday at 6:00 pm Versus Bucknell
Sept. 8, 2016
DUKES AND BISON: This is the 17th meeting between Duquesne and Bucknell with BU holding a 10-6 advantage in the series. The Dukes have won three of the past four meetings, including last year's 26-7 win at Bucknell, their first win in Lewisburg. The series initially started in 1933 and 1934 with Duquesne winning both contests. This is Bucknell's first visit to Rooney Field since 2010.
LAST MEETING: Duquesne scored on its first possession of the game and never looked back in defeating Bucknell, 26-7 for its first win in eight attempts in Lewisburg, Pa. Dillon Buechel threw short touchdown passes to three different receivers and Sam Martello made a career-high 15 tackles (10 solo).
ABOUT DUQUESNE: The Dukes won their third Northeast Conference title in five years, finishing the 2015 season 8-4 (5-1 NEC) and playing in their first ever FCS Playoff. Picked to defend as NEC champions by the league's coaches, the Red and Blue return seven starters on offense and six on defense, including six players who were named to the 2016 NEC Preseason Team. Duquesne is led by senior All-American linebacker Christian Kuntz, who led the nation in tackles for a loss in 2015 with 26 and senior preseason All-Conference quarterback Dillon Buechel, who enters his senior campaign second all-time at Duquesne in career completions (593), completion percentage (.583) and passing yards (7,465). The Red and Blue are coming off a 45-10 loss at Youngstown State. Senior QB Dillon Buechel threw for 188 yards and a touchdown pass to sophomore WR Nehari Crawford. Senior LB Carter Henderson led the DU defense with 10 tackles (6 solo) while senior LB Christian Kuntz added eight stops (7 solo), including two tackles for a loss.
ABOUT BUCKNELL: The Bison are coming off a 4-7 season under seventh year head coach Joe Susan, finishing with a 1-5 mark in Patriot League play. The Bison were predicted by the coaches and sports information directors of the league to finish fifth in the seven-team conference in 2016. Last week, the Bison opened their 2016 campaign with a 26-10 win at Marist. Junior RB Joey DeFloria rushed for 145 yards in his first career start and the BU defense posted six sacks and forced six Marist turnovers.
HOME SWEET HOME: Duquesne is 93-26-0 all time at Rooney Field including winning streaks of 16, 14 and 10 games (twice). Duquesne owns non-conference home wins over Dayton (four times), Bucknell (three times), Lafayette (twice), Albany, VMI, Monmouth, Butler, Morehead State and Fordham among others over the past 16 seasons. DU is 37-11 all-time in non-conference home games (21-2 under Jerry Schmitt) on Rooney Field, including a current string of 16 straight wins. The Dukes have won the past eight home openers dating back to their 28-19 loss to Bucknell on 9/1/07 and are currently riding a six-game home winning streak.
IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY: Duquesne is 29-23 in non-conference games under 12th-year head coach Jerry Schmitt with wins over Dayton (four times), Robert Morris (three times prior to joining the NEC), Bucknell (three), Monmouth (twice) and Fordham (twice). At home, the Dukes are 21-2 in non-league play under Schmitt, while on the road Schmitt's Dukes have fashioned an 8-21 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 4-2 in non-conference games in 2014 and finished 3-3 last year.
PRE-SEASON ALL-NEC: Six Dukes were named to the 2016 Northeast Conference Preseason All-Conference Teams as senior quarterback Dillon Buechel, senior wide receiver Wayne Capers and junior lineman Ben Huss were all named on offense and senior linebacker Christian Kuntz, senior lineman Jake Radziukinas and junior linebacker Nathan Stone were tabbed on defense.
MAKING A CAREER OF IT: Seniors Christian Kuntz, Austin Crimmins and Dillon Buechel climbed their ways onto Duquesne's all-time career leaders list last season and look to climb higher in 2016. Kuntz registered 10 sacks last season to give him 21 on his career and move him into fifth place all-time at Duquesne. He is 6.5 behind the school leader Antoine Bullock (2002-05). Crimmins has sole possession of the top spot in career field goals made with 45. The placekicker was good on a Duquesne single season record 15 as a freshman, had 13 in 2015, had a new single-season record 16 last year and has added one this season. He is currently second all-time in career points by a kicker with 232, one point off the leader Mark Troyan (2005-08), and is fourth in career PAT's with 97. Buechel is second all-time in completions with 608 and second in attempts with 1,046. He is also second in career pass completion percentage at .581, second in yards at 7,653 and fourth in career touchdowns with 53 .
SUCCESSIVE STARTS: Senior right tackle Larson Graham has started all 36 games of his collegiate career and has the longest current starts streak on the team. He is followed by junior linebacker Nathan Stone who has 25 consecutive starts, including all 12 games in each of his first two seasons. The next closest is senior tight end Kevin Enright who has 14 straight starts.
NATIONAL EXPOSURE: Duquesne is slated to play six games on ESPN3 this season, the most in program history. Thanks to the Northeast Conference's television package, Duquesne's home game versus Robert Morris on Oct. 15 will be aired on the trey as will its road contest on Oct. 21 as the Dukes travel to Saint Francis for a Friday night game. The season opener at Youngstown State on Sept. 1, home contests versus Dayton (Sept. 17) and Kennesaw State (Sept. 24) and the Oct. 1 contest at Jacksonville will also be available to a national audience on ESPN3.
ALL-AMERICAN PERFORMANCE: Senior linebacker Christian Kuntz has received Preseason All-America laurels from four organizations. Kuntz, who received six postseason All-America accolades last season, was also the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He led the nation in tackles for a loss in FCS in 2015 with 26 for a total of 114 yards while adding 72 total tackles (47 solo), four interceptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns, 11 sacks for a loss of 70 yards, six pass break-ups and six quarterback hurries.
FBS INFLUENCE: There are 12 players who were previously on FBS rosters on the Duquesne roster in 2016, nine of whom are on the Dukes' opening day two-deep. Those players include senior WR Wayne Capers, Jr. (Arizona), sophomore QB Kareem Coles (Idaho), junior WR Jaquan Davidson (Pitt), sophomore LB Bryan Glover (Eastern Michigan), junior LB Carter Henderson (Penn State), junior WR Thomas Lucas (UConn), redshirt P/PK Mitch MacZura (Ohio State), junior WR Chavas Rawlins (West Virginia), graduate transfer WR Blair Roberts (Old Dominion), sophomore DB Brandon Stanback (Buffalo), senior LB Gary Wooten (Penn State) and sophomore DB Daquan Worley (Penn State).
QUICK START WHEN IT COUNTS: Duquesne's football team, which joined the Northeast Conference in 2008, is 7-1 in NEC openers. The Dukes won its initial NEC game at home versus Saint Francis, 21-7 in 2008 before falling at Monmouth in year two, 17-10. Since then, DU has won its last six NEC openers dating back to its 2010, 28-17 win over Albany.
CAPTAINS: Duquesne's captains for the 2016 season are senior QB Dillon Buechel (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour), senior OL Larson Graham (Wyoming, Ohio/Wyoming), junior OL Ben Huss (Upper St. Clair, Pa/Upper St. Clair), senior LB Christian Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley), senior DL Jake Radziukinas (Upper St. Clair, Pa./Upper St. Clair) and junior LB Nathan Stone (Scottdale, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic).
DU'S NINTH SEASON IN THE NEC: Duquesne, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League from 1994 to 2007, is beginning its ninth season as an associate member of the Northeast Conference Football League. With the move to the NEC, Duquesne offered 18 scholarships beginning in February of 2008. That number currently rests at 38. Duquesne granted only need-based financial aid for football playing student-athletes as a member of the MAAC. 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. Duquesne started its program in 1902 and competed at the highest level - winning a pair of New Year's Day Bowl games (1934 Festival of Palms and 1937 Orange) - before disbanding following the 1950 season. DU returned at the Club level prior to the 1969 season and won a National Club Championship in 1973. The Dukes competed at the NCAA Division III level from 1979-92 before moving up to the non-scholarship Football Championship Subdivision in 1993. The NEC Football League, which was established in 1996, includes full-time conference members Bryant University, Central Connecticut State University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University, Saint Francis (Pa.) University and Wagner College along with associate member Duquesne University.
SURPASSING A LEGEND: In 2013, head coach Jerry Schmitt surpassed the legendary Elmer Layden on Duquesne's all-time coaching victories list. Layden - one of Notre Dame's famed "Four Horsemen" - coached at Duquesne for seven seasons from 1927-33. It was under Layden that the Dukes first became recognized as a national football power. After leading DU to a 10-1-0 record and an appearance in the 1934 Festival of Palms Bowl, Layden left Duquesne to take over head coaching duties at Notre Dame. Duquesne's all-time wins leader is Greg Gattuso, who preceded Schmitt at DU. Gattuso, who led the Dukes to eight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League titles and a I-AA Mid-Major National Championship in 2003, is currently the head coach at Albany.