Red and Blue Open Conference Play at Home Versus CCSU
Oct. 1, 2015
DUKES AND DEVILS: This is the ninth meeting between Duquesne and CCSU with the Blue Devils holding a 5-3 advantage in the series. After opening the series 0-4, Duquesne has won the last two meetings and three of the past four. Duquesne is 6-1 all-time in Northeast Conference openers (see below).
LAST MEETING: Last year, Duquesne captured a 28-20 NEC-opening win at CCSU. In that game, Dillon Buechel threw for 333 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes, including a career-best three to WR Chris King. Defensively, Sam Martello was the leading tackler with 13 stops (3 solo), Nathan Stone chipped in 11 tackles (2 solo) and Jake Radziukinas added 10. Malik Shegog recorded the lone interception.
LAST WEEK FOR DU: The Dukes (2-2) are coming off a 17-14 loss at Albany. DU held Albany to 32 yards rushing, but it was not enough as the Red and Blue fell to 2-2 on the season. Chris King had a career high 11 catches for a DU season-best 153 yards and a touchdown while Rafiq Douglas scored the Dukes only other touchdown on a one-yard run. Defensively, Nathan Stone led the Red and Blue with eight tackles (6 solo) while Christian Kuntz and Zach Zidian each had seven stops. Kuntz, Jake Radziukinas and Andy Struttmann each recorded sacks.
ABOUT CCSU: CCSU (1-3), under the direction of second-year head coach Pete Rossomando, is coming off a 57-14 loss at New Hampshire. The Blue Devils, who finished 3-9 overall (1-5 NEC) in 2014, were predicted to finish 6th of seven teams in the conference in 2015. Last week, CCSU fell behind 32-0 early at UNH in the second quarter and could not fight their way back. The Devils trailed 46-7 at the half as the Wildcats cruised to victory. The team is led by freshman quarterback Jacob Dolegala who has thrown for just one touchdown pass, but has rushed for three more.
QUICK START WHEN IT COUNTS: Duquesne’s football team, which joined the Northeast Conference in 2008, is 6-1 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 five NEC openers dating back to its 2010, 28-17 win over Albany.
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 28-21 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 8-19 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, Jr. (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 several team statistical categories. Among those are being 6th in scoring defense (13.8 ppg), 6th in red zone defense (0.50), 10th in passing efficiency defense (100.2), 15th in sacks allowed (0.75), 18th in sacks (3.00) and 20th in 3rd down defense (.292). 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 Dane O’Driscoll who is tied for 16th with one. Christian Kuntz is 13th in tackles for loss with 1.8 per game. and P.J. Fulmore is 17th in the country in yards per carry at 6.93.