Dukes Face Defending Conference Champion Wagner in NEC Opener

Oct. 9, 2013

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The Last Meeting
November 17, 2012
Staten Island, N.Y.
Dukes Give Wagner All it Can Handle in 23-17 Defeat
Duquesne gave Wagner all it could handle, but a Dominique Williams touchdown with 5:54 left proved to be the difference as the Seahawks defeated the Dukes 23-17 to earn the Northeast Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Championship.

Game:#5 - Dukes face defending conference champs in NEC opener
WAGNER (2-4, 1-1) at DUQUESNE (2-2, 0-0)
Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1:10 p.m.
Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field (2,200/Sportexe) • Pittsburgh, Pa.

RADIO: WJAS-AM 1320 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
STREAMING AUDIO: RedZoneMedia.com or GoDuquesne.com

Duquesne (2-2), which snapped a two-game losing streak with a 27-14 win over Division II West Liberty last weekend, stays home to face defending NEC champion Wagner (2-4, 1-1) in its conference opener on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1:10 p.m. (WJAS-AM 1320). The Wagner game is part of Homecoming Weekend on the DU campus. Duquesne is 4-1 in NEC openers including a 2-0 mark at home. This is the first time since 2010 that the Dukes have opened conference play on Rooney Field.

Duquesne has won four of the past six meetings to tie the overall series at 4-4 ... the Dukes hold a 3-2 advantage in five NEC games ... last year, DU gave the Seahawks all they could handle, before a Dominique Williams touchdown run with 5:54 left proved to be the difference in a 23-17 Wagner win that gave the Seahawks the Northeast Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Championship ... Duquesne, which rallied from an early 14-3 deficit to take a 17-14 fourth quarter lead, recovered two Wagner fumbles late in the game - the first in the end zone two plays prior to Williams' score and the second at the Wagner 44 on a free kick following Wagner's late-game safety - but had both plays nullified by offside calls ... Wagner and Duquesne were picked to finish first and second, in the NEC preseason coaches' poll.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Dillon Buechel (pronounced BEE-kull), who has earned NEC Rookie of the Week honors twice (Sept. 2 & 23), has thrown for 1,159 yards and six TDs in his first four collegiate games. The 6-3, 176-pounder from nearby Montour High School ranks 12th nationally in passing yards per game (289.8 ypg.). Buechel came within five yards of becoming the first freshman in school history to throw for 300 yards in back-to-back games when he threw for 295 yards on Sept. 7 at Dayton. He followed that with 362 yards - three shy of the DU freshman record - at Youngstown State (he had 309 against Albany in the season opener on Aug. 31). Sophomore linebacker Christian Kuntz, another WPIAL product (Chartiers Valley), leads DU with 32 tackles. Kuntz also leads the nation with 2.5 tackles for loss per game (10.0 on the season), including a team-high 4.0 sacks. Redshirt freshman linebacker Aaron Reed, Buechel's high school teammate at Montour, ranks second on the team with 29 tackles. Preseason All-NEC pick Gianni Carter opened the season with three-straight 100-yard games (6-103-1 vs. Albany, 7-135-2 at Dayton & 4-134-1 at Youngstown State) before catching four balls for 40 yards vs. West Liberty. It was the first time since 2002 (Jeremy Conley) that a DU receiver posted three-straight 100-yard games. Carter ranks 12th nationally in receiving yards per game (103.0). Sophomore Chris King, who has posted back-to-back 100-yard games (6-101-0 at Youngstown State and 10-127-1 vs. West Liberty), leads DU with 21 catches. Redshirt freshman Austin Crimmins has made good on all five of his field goal attempts (30, 22, 26, 27, 30). DU is averaging 75.8 yards rushing and 292.0 yards passing per game. DU opponents are averaging 124.5 yards rushing and 262.0 yards passing per game.

Wagner, the defending NEC champion, was picked to repeat by the league's coaches ... the Seahawks are led by fifth-year senior running back Dominique Williams, who enters Saturday's game needing 49 yards to become the seventh 4,000-yard rusher in NEC history ... Williams' 3,951 yards rank 7th on the conference's all-time list ... he has topped 100 yards rushing 25 times in 38 career games ... he had 108 yards on 29 carries in Wagner's 23-20 road win over previously unbeaten Sacred Heart last weekend ... the Seahawks pulled out the win on a 45-yard Bryan Maley field goal with 0:04 left ... Wagner entered the fourth quarter up 20-3 ... Maley was 3-of-3 for the game with FGs of 32, 45 & 45 yards ... Wagner is 1-2 on the road with losses at Syracuse (0-54) and Delaware (9-49) in addition to last week's victory over Sacred Heart ... Wagner ranks 12th nationally in fewest penalties per game (4.67) and 8th in fewest penalty yards per game (36.17).

Senior preseason All-NEC pick Gianni Carter opened the season with three-straight 100-yard receiving games. It was just the fifth time it has been done since the Dukes moved to the FCS level in 1993. No Duke has ever recorded four consecutive 100 yard receiving games.

Although Gianni Carter's streak of three-straight 100-yard receiving games was snapped vs. West Liberty (3-40-0), sophomore Chris King was able to extend his streak of 100-yard games to two. The 6-1, 206-pounder, who had 6 catches for 101 yards at Youngstown State, followed that with 10 receptions for 127 yards vs. West Liberty (both career highs). The 10 catches were the most by a DU player since Dave Williams caught 10 passes for 145 yards at Bucknell on Sept. 5, 2009.

Head coach Jerry Schmitt passed the legendary Elmer Layden on Duquesne's all-time coaching victories list with the Dukes' Oct. 5 victory over West Liberty. 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 assistant head coach/defensive line coach at Maryland.

• Duquesne, which returns 13 position starters, lost five of its last six to finish 5-6 last season (3-5 in the NEC). All five of DU's NEC losses were by seven or fewer points (the average margin of defeat was -5.0 ppg.).

• Eleven freshmen have seen action this season: QB Dillon Buechel (RS), WR Chavas Rawlins, CB Sterling Parks, spec teams Xavier Nelson (RS), spec teams Anthony Alimenti (RS), LB Aaron Reed (RS), OL Larson Graham (RS), PK Austin Crimmins (RS), PR Bobby Gustine, TE Kevin Enright (RS) and DL Jake Radziukinas (RS). Buechel, Parks, Reed, Graham and Crimmins have started all four games.

• Twenty-five returnees started at least once last season.

• In addition, nine additional first-year players have seen action in 2013, with three having started at least once: SS Chris Johnson, DB Nick Floyd, OL Ezek Suivaaia.

• Redshirt freshman Dillon Buechel, who has completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 1,159 yards and six touchdowns, has a 147.4 efficiency rating through four games. The first freshman to open the season under center since 2005 (Scott Knapp), Buechel earned NEC co-Offensive Player of the Week honors after throwing for 309 yards and two TDs in the season-opening win over Albany and earned ROW honors a second time after throwing for 362 yards in the loss at Youngstown State. Buechel is replacing Sean Patterson, who started 33 consecutive games from 2010-12 (536-955-63-6,762-28). Patterson accounted for over 95 percent of DU's pass attempts, passing yards and touchdown passes since 2010. Buechel beat out senior Marty Mitchell (14-29-6-189-2) - the only quarterback on the roster who had attempted a college pass entering the season - for the starting job.

• Sophomore LB Christian Kuntz, DU's leader in tackles (32), also leads the nation in tackles for loss per game at 2.5. He has 10.0 tackles for 24 yards in losses (including 4.0 sacks) in four games.

• Junior Ryan Ho (45-184-1 last year) has rushed for 198 yards and two TDs in four games. He posted 76 yards and touchdown runs of 1 and 25 yards vs. Albany. Ho is replacing all-time rushing leader Larry McCoy (956-4,549-37) - another three-year starter.

• LB Sam Martello earned NEC co-Defensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 2 after helping force a safety on the first play from scrimmage and adding a sack and forced fumble in the third quarter of the Aug. 31 win over Albany. He followed that with 10 stops, including 3.0 tackles for loss (2.0 sacks) and a fumble recovery at Dayton.

• DU has defeated every team in the NEC under current head coach Jerry Schmitt.

• Senior receiver Sean Brady's leaping, one-handed, 27-yard TD catch in the third quarter of the opener vs. Albany was No. 3 on ESPN's College Football Plays of the Week on Sept. 2. You can see the catch on DU's YouTube page by following this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP70eu_X2Uk. The play had over 26,000 views in its first week. Brady had 8 catches for 109 yards in DU's first two games before suffering a wirst injury. He will be sidelined indefinitely.

• Duquesne ranks 17th nationally in passing offense (292 ypg.), 13th in yards per completion (14.24 ypc) and 25th in team passing efficiency (144.97). The Dukes are 15th in fewest first downs surrendered (78) and 24th in rushing defense (124.5).

• DU is 15-9 in NEC play over the past three seasons (5-3 in 2010, 7-1 in 2011 and 3-5 in 2012). The Dukes went 4-11 in their first two seasons in the conference (2-5 in 2008 and 2-6 in 2009).

• DU is facing former NEC members Albany (W, 35-24) and Monmouth. Albany is competing in the Colonial Athletic Association, while Monmouth will be an independent this season before joining the Big South in 2014.

• With the NEC departure of Albany and Monmouth, DU is playing five non-conference games: Albany (W, 35-24, Colonial Athletic Association), Dayton (L, 20-23, Pioneer Football League), Youngstown State (L, 17-59), Missouri Valley Football Conference), West Liberty (W, 27-14, Division II Mountain East Conference) and Monmouth (Independent).




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