@DUQFB Travels to Albany Saturday for 3:00 pm Contest
Sept. 23, 2015
DUKES AND DANES: This marks the eighth meeting between Duquesne and Albany with the Great Danes holding a 5-2 advantage. The teams did not meet last season, but did play the previous six seasons, both in conference and non-conference play. Duquesne and Albany first met in 2002 with Albany winning the ECAC Classic, 24-0 in New York. The Dukes and Danes then met five times in NEC play with Albany winning four of those contests, before leaving for the CAA. DU won the last meeting in Pittsburgh in 2013, a 35-24 non-conference victory at Rooney Field.
LAST MEETING: Two years ago, the Dukes hosted the Danes and handed the visitors a 35-24 loss in the season opener. In the game, DU got a pair of touchdown passes from freshman Dillon Buechel in a one-minute span of the third quarter to break open a tight game at Rooney Field. Buechel, the first freshman to start an opener for the Dukes since 2005, completed 21-of-28 passes for 309 yards, including TD passes of 27 yards to Sean Brady and 29 yards to Gianni Carter that turned a 16-10 halftime lead into a 29-10 advantage with 10:03 left in the third quarter.
LAST WEEK FOR DU: The Dukes traveled to Dayton last week and dropped its first game of the season by a score of 24-13. The Dukes held a 13-3 advantage mid-way through the third quarter, but allowed three straight rushing touchdowns by Connor Kacsor to end the game. The Dukes trailed the Flyers, 3-0 late in the first quarter before Troy Gethers forced a fumble at the Dayton one yard line and Sam Martello pounced on it in the end zone for a 6-3 lead. The Red and Blue took a 13-3 lead mid-way through the third quarter as Dillon Buechel connected with Wayne Capers for a 26-yard touchdown pass. UD however scored the final three touchdowns for the final tally.
ABOUT ALBANY: A member of the Colonial Athletic Association, the Danes are under the direction of second-year head coach Greg Gattuso. Gatusso was the head coach at Duquesne for 12 seasons (1993-2004). The Danes, who finished 7-5 overall and 3-5 in CAA play in 2014 were picked by the league's coaches and media relations directors to finish 10th in the 12-team league in 2015. Albany is led by sophomore wide receiver Josh Gontarek. Gontarek, who was was the CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 and the Danes' lone 2015 CAA Pre-Season All-Conference choice, leads the team with 14 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns through three games.
CAPTAINS: Duquesne's captains for the 2015 season are senior OL Dan Buchholz (Malvern Pa./Great Valley), junior QB Dillon Buechel (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour), senior WR Chris King (Crofton, Md. DeMatha Catholic), junior linebacker Christian Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley), senior linebacker Sam Martello (Westlake, Ohio/St. Edward) and senior DL Zach Zidian (Youngstown, Ohio/Boardman).
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.
DU'S EIGHTH SEASON IN THE NEC: Duquesne, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League from 1994 to 2007, is beginning its eighth 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 36. 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.
IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY: Duquesne is 28-20 in non-conference games under 11th-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 19-2 in non-league play under Schmitt, while on the road Schmitt's Dukes have fashioned an 8-18 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 3-2 in non-conference games in 2013 and finished 4-2 last year.
2015 AWARDS: In addition to the 2015 NEC Pre-season All-Conference accolades listed to the right, senior wide receiver Chris King was also named a 2015 STATS FCS Preseason Second Team All-American. The 2014 Sports Network Third Team All-American and NEC First Team All-Conference honoree led the NEC and was 7th in the country in receiving yards per game with 102.5. He also led the Dukes last season with 14 touchdown receptions. Freshman running back P.J. Fulmore was named the NEC Rookie of the Week on Sept. 14. He led the Dukes in rushing for a second straight week in a 26-7 victory at Bucknell, carrying the ball 11 times for 87 yards (7.9 ypc) and rushing for four first downs.
NATIONAL EXPOSURE: Duquesne is slated to play twice on ESPN3 this season. Thanks to the Northeast Conference's television package, Duquesne's game at Bryant on Oct. 17 will be aired on the trey as will its season finale on Nov. 21 as the Dukes host Saint Francis at Rooney Field. Neither of these games will be available on NECFrontRow.com.
NEW KID ON THE BLUFF: In addition to the 17 incoming freshmen, Duquesne added Penn State transfer Carter Henderson to its roster in the spring. A redshirt sophomore linebacker and 2013 graduate of Franklin Regional High School, Henderson was on the Penn State roster for two seasons, but did not see any game action.
NEW FACES ON THE SIDELINE: Head coach Jerry Schmitt added two new staff members for 2015, both of which have previous ties to the program. Terry Russell (`75), who has been affiliated with Duquesne football for over 30 years as a player, assistant and head coach, returns to the DU sidelines in 2015. Russell, who had been away from the program for six-years prior to re-joining Jerry Schmitt's staff, will coach the running backs this year. Russell, who was an integral part of DU's 1973 Club Championship team, played for the Dukes from 1971-74. He also served as Duquesne's head coach from 1984-87 - taking the reins for Dan McCann who was on a medical leave of absence. This is Russell's 24th season as an assistant at Duquesne. Khiry Carter (`11) makes his collegiate coaching debut as a defensive backs coach for his alma mater. Carter, who played for the Dukes as a defensive back from 2008-2011, brings a wealth of DB experience and knowledge to the Red and Blue in 2015. Carter played in 42 career games for the Dukes, making 27 starts. He accumulated 168 tackles (93 solo) and had three interceptions and nine pass break-ups.
FBS INFLUENCE: Six players who were previously on FBS rosters are on the Duquesne roster in 2015, including four who saw FBS playing time during their careers and were on the Dukes' opening day 2-deep: senior WR Wayne Capers (Arizona), junior DB Trenton Coles (Pittsburgh), senior WR Dominique Terrell (Virginia) and senior ILB Armstead Williams (Purdue) had all played in a FBS game prior to coming to Duquesne. Redshirt sophomore Matt Barone OL (Temple) and redshirt sophomore LB Carter Henderson (Penn State) were also previously on FBS rosters.
NATIONALLY RANKED: Duquesne is listed among the FCS top 20 in 13 team statistical categories. Among those are being 7th in red zone defense (0.50), 12th in 3rd down defense (.292), 15th in sacks (3.00) and 17th in rushing offense (220.0). All of these rank either first or second in the NEC. Individually, the Dukes have four players ranked among the top 20. Sam Martello is second in the nation in fumble recoveries with two, followed by Dan O'Driscoll who is tied for 14th with one. P.J. Fulmore is 8th in the country in yards per carry at 7.46 and Nathan Stone is 12th in sacks with 1.00 per game.