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Duquesne at Dayton Pregame Notes
Duquesne Number 1 in Total Defense
Duquesne Number 1 in Total Defense

Sept. 23, 2002

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#2 DUQUESNE (3-0, 2-0) at #1 DAYTON (3-0)
Saturday, September 28 at 1:00 p.m.
Welcome Stadium (11,000) - Dayton, Ohio

Radio: (Fox Sports Pittsburgh - WBGG-AM 970)
On the internet at:


Duquesne, coming off an impressive 36-0 home win over Marist, heads west for a key non-conference showdown with top-ranked Dayton (3-0) of the Pioneer League on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Welcome Stadium (kickoff at 1:00 p.m. - WBGG-AM 970, on the web at

DU, ranked No. 2 in both The Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major Poll, is looking to avenge a 42-16 defeat at the hands of the Flyers last season. This marks the second consecutive season Duquesne and Dayton have met holding the first two spots in The Sports Network poll. Last year, the Dukes were ranked No. 1 with Dayton ranked No. 2. This year, the Flyers have held the top spot in the poll for five consecutive weeks. Both teams have been outstanding defensively with Duquesne leading the nation in total defense (159.0 ypg.) and Dayton ranked first in scoring defense (3.3 ppg.) in the latest NCAA Division I-AA statistics. Dayton, a 42-0 winner at Austin Peay last week, also owns wins over Robert Morris (24-10 at home) and at St. Francis (39-0 in the season opener).

Note: Dayton and Duquesne are also one and two in Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette poll.


Duquesne enters Saturday's game ranked No. 1 nationally in total defense, surrendering an average of 159 yards per game, while Dayton ranks first among I-AA schools in scoring defense - giving up an average of 3.3 points per game.

    1. Duquesne 159.0 ypg.
    8. Dayton 225.3 ypg.

    1. Dayton 3.3 ppg.
    T4. Duquesne 7.0 pp.g


The Duquesne vs. Dayton game matches two of the seven most successful teams in NCAA Division I-AA over the last five seasons (see box on page two). Entering this year, Duquesne ranked fourth on the list with a .759 winning pct. since 1997 (41-13-0), while Dayton, who is seventh, went 39-13-0 (.750) over that same span.


In addition, the Duquesne/Dayton clash features two of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division I-AA. Entering this season, Dayton's Mike Kelly had a 195-40-1 (.828) record in 21 seasons as a head coach, while Duquesne's Greg Gattuso began the year with a .740 winning percentage (71-25-0 in nine seasons). According to the 2001 NCAA Football Records book, Kelly's winning percentage ranked first, and Gattuso's fourth among I-AA coaches with a minimum of five years as a I-A/I-AA head coach.


Although Dayton and Duquesne share membership in the Atlantic 10 Conference, football meetings between the two schools have been scarce. The Dayton/Duquesne football series dates all the way back to a 20-0 Duquesne home win over the Flyers on Nov. 13, 1920. The two also met in a home-and-home series in 1923 and 1924 with Dayton winning 27-0 at Duquesne on Oct. 6, 1923 and also taking a 28-0 decision on Oct. 18, 1924 at Dayton. Last season's game at Rooney Field marked the renewal of the series.


The quarterback and placekicker for the Dukes in the 1920 win over Dayton was none other than Art Rooney. Rooney, for whom Duquesne's home field is named, went on to become one of the most respected figures in the history of the National Football League as the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rooney was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964.


  • The 36-0 victory over Marist extended Duquesne's MAAC Football League win streak to 18 games.

  • The Dukes have now won the last eight meetings with the Red Foxes

  • Marist running backs Chris Price. (46-328-3) and Alfredo Riullano (37-236-5), who entered the game averaging a combined 6.8 yards per carry, were limited to 23 yards on 17 carries (1.3 ypc.) by the DU defense.

  • Marist's defense, which came into the game ranked second nationally (127.5 ypg.) was victimized for 460 yards by the Dukes.

  • Sophomore quarterback Niel Loebig (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette) completed 20-of-39 passes for 257 yards and two scores (5, 44). Loebig has now thrown for two or more TDs in 11 of 13 regular-season starts

  • Junior placekicker Earl Bellisario (Oakmont, Pa./Riverview) kicked a career-long 39-yard field goal. His 43-yard attempt in the second quarter hit the upright.

  • Junior running back Mike Hilliard (Homer Center, Pa./Homer Center) posted his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game with a career-high 114 yards on 23 carries. Hilliard scored on runs of 10 and 14 yards.

  • Duquesne's top two tacklers were true freshmen - safety Javonn Bradley (Rochester, Pa./Rochester) and middle linebacker Harry Carter (Lanham, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) who finished the game with seven stops each. On Monday, Bradley was named the MAAC Football League's Rookie of the Week.

  • Bradley's award marked the third straight week a Duquesne football player was honored by the conference. Freshman quarterback Ben Palumbo (Canton, Ohio/McKinley) last week was named Rookie of the Week following the Dukes' 17-7 win over Siena. Senior cornerback Leigh Bodden (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) was Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Duquesne's 35-14 win over Bucknell in the opening week of play.

  • The Dukes held the Red Foxes without a first down in the first half and enjoyed a 27-5 edge at the end of the game.

  • Marist, which rushed for 17 yards on 27 carries, was held to minus 5 yards on 16 second-half carries.

  • The Marist offense was unable to cross midfield at any time in the game.

Dukes Move Up On MAAC Tote-Board

Throught three game, the Dukes are now number one in the MAAC Football League in the following eight categories: scoring offense, scoring defense, pass offense, total offense, total defense, pass efficiency, opponent first downs, and opponent penalties.

Loebig tops the total offense (148.3 ypg) and pass efficiency (132.2) lists; senior wide receiver Jeremy Conley (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Allderdice) leads with 84.0 receiving yards per game; and, DU's current placekicker, Earl Bellisaro, heads the kick scoring (4.7 ppg) and field goal accuracy (0.67%) lists.



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