Dukes Complete Stretch of Three Road Games in Three Weeks at Dayton
Sept. 24, 2009
Game #4 - Dukes head to Dayon for final non-conference game
RADIO: WMNY-AM 1360 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
Duquesne (1-2, 0-1), coming off a 17-10 Northeast Conference-opening loss at Monmouth, completes the non-conference portion of its schedule at Dayton (1-1) on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1:00. Dayton, a member of the Pioneer League, is coming off a 21-14 win at NEC member Robert Morris last Saturday. This is the third of three consecutive road games for the Dukes who traveled 1,157 miles to Nicholls State in week two (L, 14-7). Duquesne, which has outgained each of its first three opponents (429-360 vs. Bucknell, 341-218 at Nicholls State and 387-278 at Monmouth), has turned it over a total of seven times in its two losses (two fumbles and an interception at Nicholls and two fumbles and two interceptions - all in the second half - at Monmouth). Duquesne's defense, which has been on the field for just five touchdowns in three games, ranks 35th nationally in total defense (285.3 ypg.). Nicholls State turned the game with a 63-yard TD run out of punt formation on a 4th-and-5 play with 8:25 left in the fourth quarter, while Monmouth returned an interception 65-yards for a score with 6:22 left in the third quarter for the game's final points. DU, which has played three ground-oriented teams, ranks seventh nationally in pass defense (110 ypg.) and seventh in pass efficiency defense (131.8). Duquesne's secondary features three first-year starters. DU has yet to give up more than 19 points in a game this season.
DUKES AND FLYERS: Although Dayton and Duquesne share membership in the Atlantic 10 Conference in other sports, 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 Pittsburgh on Oct. 6, 1923 and also taking a 28-0 decision on Oct. 18, 1924 at Dayton. Dayton's 42-16 win at Rooney Field in 2001 - in addition to ending a 14-game DU home winning streak - marked a renewal of the series. In 2002, Duquesne, ranked No. 2 in The Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major Top 10, went to Dayton and defeated the No. 1 Flyers 35-28. Duquesne defeated Dayton 24-16 last season in the Flyers' second trip to Pittsburgh since 1923 to even the series at 3-3.
HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: 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 fi gures 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.
NOTING DAYTON: UD opened the season with a 13-10 home loss to Urbana ... Dayton returns eight starters from a defense that finished in the FCS top 10 in pass efficiency defense (9th), total defense (6th), scoring defense (5th) and rushing defense (2nd) ... the Flyers have picked up where they left off, and enter the DU game ranked 10th nationally in total defense (224.5 ypg.) ... Dayton was picked to finish second in the annual PFL preseason coaches poll ... UD is 190-39-2 (.827) all-time at Welcome Stadium (since 1974), where Duquesne is 1-0 (a 35-28 win in 2002).
DUQUESNE VS. THE G-20: As if preparing for Dayton wasn't enough, Duquesne will have to contend with the G-20 Summit which will be held in Pittsburgh Sept. 24-25. The Summit has brought increased security to the city, which has led the University to close for the week beginning at Noon on Wednesday. Students and empoyees were asked "to leave campus in a timely manner" at that time. Various anticipated road closures and access restrictions have left the football practice and travel schedule for Dayton up in the air. With a number of players living off campus as well as part-time coaches who commute in every day for practice, the Summit has presented a unique challenge for the football program.
MONMOUTH LEFTOVERS: The Dukes are now 1-1 in NEC openers ... Duquesne, which outgained Monmouth 387 to 278, held the Hawks to five first downs and 92 yards in the second half ... DU nearly doubled Monmouth in first downs (23-to-12) ... DU limited MU tailback David Sinisi to 44 yards on 16 carries over the game's final 30 minutes ... Monmouth scored all 10 of its third-quarter points without the benefi t of a first down ... senior quarterback Kevin Rombach (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin), who completed 22-of-36 passes for 252 yards, threw for 196 yards in the second half ... Cleodis Williams (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle) ran for a season-high 109 yards on 23 carries ... it was the fifth 100-yard game of his career ... junior Michigan State transfer Dave Williams (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) finished with nine catches for 92 yards, but lost a pair of fumbles (one on a punt and one after a 31-yard reception that took the ball to the Monmouth 16-yard line) ... 20 of Williams' 21 catches have come in two games ... senior wideout Michael Rasky (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch to 23 with six receptions for 106 yards ... Rasky tied his career high for catches in a game (6) in posting the second 100-yard game of his career at MU... sophomore Anthony Rhoades (Oxford, Pa./West Philadelphia Catholic), JC transfer Devin Duggan (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic) and junior Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle) had a team-high eight tackles each.
RANDOM NOTES: Duquesne suffered a setback when preseason All-NEC tight end Sean Bunevich (North Ridgeville, Ohio/North Ridgeville) was lost for the season following a non-contact knee injury suffered at practice on August 11 ... sophomore Brian Layhue (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon), who filled in when Bunevich injured the same knee late last season, was expected to inherit the starting TE spot until he was sidelined with a back injury (he did not travel to Nicholls or Monmouth) ... Layhue caught all eight of his passes in DU's final three games last season, with two of his eight catches going for scores ... first-year Lafayette transfer Adam Gill (South Park, Pa./South Park) has been seeing extended time at tight end ... senior receiver Michael Rasky (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) has caught at least one pass in 23 consecutive games ... Rasky is coming off his second career 100-yard day with six catches for 106 yards at Monmouth ... three-quarters of DU's starting secondary is made up of newcomers ... JC transfers junior Justin Melhado (Ridgewater, Minn. Community College) is the starter at one cornerback spot with fellow junior Devin Duggan (Valley Forge, Pa. Military College) penciled in at free safety ... in addition, true freshman Derrick Lakins (Upper Marlboro, Md./DeMatha) is the starter at strong safety ... DU enters the Dayton game ranked seventh nationlly in pass defense (110 ypg.) ... junior linebacker Willie Milhouse (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone), who entered the season with two career interceptions in 16 games, has picked off three passes in DU's first three outings ... redshirt freshman Larry McCoy's (Wytheville, Va./George Wythe) 195 yards rushing at Nicholls State on Sept. 12 were the most by a DU back since Mike Hilliard ran for a school record 323 yards vs. La Salle in 2003 ... first-year defensive coordinator Ollie Phillips left the team (personal reasons) the week of the Nicholls State game ... Phillips has been replaced by veteran Dick Hopkins ... Hopkins, who was brought in to work with the defensive backs, brings nearly 30 years of college coaching experience to the DU sidelines ... Hopkins, who was a quarterback/tight end at Florida State in the early 1970's, has coached at 11 different schools since 1981 including Duke (1981-82), Cinicnnati (1983), Rice (1984-85) and Vanderbilt (1986-88) among others ... the DU defense, which hasn't given up more than 19 points in a game, enters the Dayton game ranked 35 nationally (285.3 ypg.).