NEC Preseason Favorite Central Connecticut State to Visit Rooney Field
Oct. 11, 2011
Game #7 - Dukes welcome NEC preseason favorite Central Connecticut State
RADIO: WMNY-AM 1360 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
DU WELCOMES NEC PRESEASON FAVORITE CCSU: Duquesne (4-2, 2-1), which saw its longest win streak since 2007 snapped at four last weekend at Albany, returns home to face Northeast Conference preseason favorite Central Connecticut State (2-4, 1-2) on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 12:10 p.m. (WMNY-AM 1360). Duquesne was held to season-lows in yards (235), first downs (9) and points (10) and had a season-high five turnovers in the 38-10 loss at UA. It was the first time this season that DU was held under 342 yards and 22 points. Junior RB Larry McCoy, the nation's third-leading rusher (128.3 ypg.), was held under 100 yards for the first time this season by the Great Danes. McCoy finished with 75 yards on 20 carries. CCSU completed the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 42-26 loss at UMass. The Blue Devils, who received five of a possible nine first place votes in the NEC preseason poll, have lost three straight for the first time since the beginning of the 2003 season. The Blue Devils are 17-4 in their past 21 NEC games.
DUKES AND BLUE DEVILS: Central Connecticut State leads the series 4-0 ... last year, the Dukes scored two touchdowns in the final 2:07 - the last of which was a five-yard pass from Sean Patterson to Dave Williams on fourth-and-goal on the final play of the game ... Patterson then found Akeem Moore for an apparent game-tying two point conversion, but the play was denied when it was ruled that Moore had stepped out of the end zone prior making the catch as the Dukes fell 31-29 ... DU, behind a career-best 246 yards rushing from Larry McCoy, finished with 461 total yards ... CCSU, which got 142 yards rushing from Everette Benjamin, finished with 375 yards ... in the only meeting at Pittsburgh, Hunter Wanket threw for a career-high 233 yards and three second-half touchdowns as CCSU rallied from a 21-10 third quarter deficit to defeat Duquesne 31-24 at Rooney Field in 2009 ... Patterson, a redshirt freshman at the time, threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start ... three years ago, in the inaugural NEC meeting between the two, James Mallory ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns to give CCSU enough cushion to hold off a late Duquesne rally in a 35-23 Blue Devils win at New Britain, Conn. ... DU cut a 28-10 deficit to 11 midway through the fourth quarter and was on the doorstep to cut further into that lead when Alex Roberson fumbled into the end zone following a 43 yard catch-and-run ... CCSU scored on its next possession to ice the game ... Central Connecticut State, which entered the game ranked 10th nationally in rushing offense, gained 286 yards on the ground, including 150 in jumping out to a 21-10 halftime lead ... the first meeting between the two was on Nov. 13, 1993 ... in that game, the Dukes, in their first season at the I-AA non-scholarship level, jumped out to a 16-0 second quarter lead only to see CCSU reel off 27 consecutive points on the way to a 41-22 win in front of 880 fans ... the `93 Dukes finished 4-6 in their first season under head coach Greg Gattuso.
DU AMONG FCS LEADERS: DU despite being gouged for a season-high 493 yards by Albany, ranks 11th nationally in total defense (298.5 ypg.) and 4th in pass defense (139.0 ypg.). The Dukes also rank 14th in total offense at 431.5 ypg.
The Dukes are 6-2 in their past eight NEC games dating back to last season.
DU's 5-3 conference record and third place finish in 2010 were its best in its first three seasons of Northeast Conference play. The Dukes' five wins were one more than they had in their first two NEC seasons combined: DU went 2-5 (6th) in the NEC in 2008 and 2-6 (t7th) in 2009.
Duquesne, which returns 15 starters, won four of its final five games in 2010 - including road wins at Wagner and Bryant - to finish 7-4. Quarterback Sean Patterson threw for 13 touchdowns with just three interceptions in 118 pass attempts over that five-game span. Running back Larry McCoy averaged 119.0 rushing yards per game over that same span.
Duquesne ended the nation's longest FCS win streak at 10 with its 22-13 victory at Dayton on Sept. 10. DU, which has won four of its last five meetings with the perennial Pioneer Football League power, was the last team to defeat UD before the Flyers began their 10-game streak.
DU amassed 628 yards of total offense in its 49-14 win over Valparaiso on Sept. 17. The total yards were the most since 647 in a 36-14 win over Siena in 2003. Duquesne's 427 rushing yards were its most since 457 vs. La Salle in 2003. Larry McCoy (21-164) and Bill Bair (16-154) both topped 100 yards marking the first time since Oct. 26, 2002 that two Dukes ran for 100 yards in the same game (Kyle Postell: 17-130 & Mike Hilliard: 20-122 at La Salle). It was the first time since a 55-0 win over Siena on Oct. 27, 2001 that two Duquesne players rushed for over 150 yards in the same game (Donte Small 27-186 & Josh Rue 16-158)
Sixteen of DU's 21 touchdown drives this season have covered 60 or more yards.
QB Sean Patterson, who ranks 25th nationally in pass efficiency (145.38), is 8-3 in his past 11 starts. The junior lefty has thrown for 27 touchdowns with 10 interceptions over that span.
Receiver Connor Dixon has caught six touchdown passes in DU's past three games. Nine of his 18 receptions in 2011 have gone for TDs.
DU's first scholarship class, signed in February of 2008, makes up the majority of this year's junior and senior classes. Duquesne offered 18 scholarships to the first class. That number has been increased to the current number of 28.
A major renovation of the home locker room as well as coaches offices located in the fieldhouse located off the east end of Rooney Field was completed over the summer. The newly named Keller Fieldhouse project comes on the heels of a renovation of Rooney Field which was completed in 2009.
Duquesne returned 98.5 percent of its rushing yards mainly in the legs of junior running back Larry McCoy. McCoy carried 252 times for 1,291 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore (ranked 11th nationally). McCoy topped 100 yards six times in 2010 with all six coming in an eight-game span of NEC play. He has five 100-yard games in six starts this season.
DU had to find a replacement for kicker Eric Duale who chose not to return in 2011. Duale was one of the most improved players in the NEC last year with a team-high 73 points. The junior-to-be converted 14-of-18 field goal attempts and 31-of-32 extra points last season. Charlie Leventry, who has handled punting duties for the past two seasons, is 9-of-12 on field goal attempts (including of 40-yards or longer) with 46 points through six games. Leventry ranks tied for 13th nationally with an average of 1.50 field goals per game. He is averaging 37.0 yards per punt with 12 inside the 20.
The Dukes return four of five members of the 2010 offensive line: left tackle Ron Dunn, left guard Eric Warning, center Cameron Downey and left guard Jamaal Thomas. The fifth starter, Brian Layhue has moved from right tackle to tight end - a position he played in his first two seasons at DU. Jeremy Summers (6-2, 293), a JC transfer from Laney College in Oakland, Calif. has taken over Layhue's vacated spot. Summers is the brother of San Diego Chargers fullback Frank Summers. The O-line, which has given up just eight sacks in six games, has helped the Dukes produce 431.5 yards per game - good for 14th nationally.
Pittsburgh native Gary Dunn, who spent the previous 14 years at Morehead State, is in his first season as DU's offensive coordinator. Dunn replaces former DU quarterback Niel Loebig who moved with his wife to Florida. Loebig was on the staff for five seasons including the last two as offensive coordinator. Dunn, who was the OC at Morehead for his final 11 seasons, regularly recruited the western Pennsylvania area for the Eagles.
DU's first two games were both decided in the final minute. In week one, Bucknell ended an 82 yard drive with a one yard run on fourth-and-goal with 57 seconds left and tacked on the extra point for a 27-26 win. DU led 16-3 with possession with two minutes to go in first half. On Sept. 10 at Dayton, Duquesne scored nine points in the final 30 seconds to secure a 22-13 win. Charlie Leventry capped a 52 yard drive with a 24 yard field with 30 seconds left and cornerback Jared Williams blocked a 50 yard field goal attempt, scooped up the ball an ran 48 yards for a score as time expired. The win snapped Dayton's FCS-best win streak at 10.
The Dukes have lost four starters/key reserves for the season: WR Akeem Moore (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood) torn ACL at practice on Sept. 21; DE Reggie Eiland (Accokeek, Md./Gwynn Park) ankle injury on Sept. 22; RB/Return Specialist Ryan Ho (Pearl City, Hawaii/Kamehameha Schools) dislocated ankle in the opener at Bucknell and WR/Return Specialist David Thomas (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic) broken foot vs. Valparaiso. One other, LB Tyler Zimmer (Harrison City, Pa./Penn-Trafford), is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
ALBANY LEFTOVERS: The loss ended Duquesne's win streak at four ... it was the Dukes' longest streak since five consecutive wins in 2007 (DU's last season in the MAAC) ... Duquesne has been outscored 117-20 in three all-time visits to University Field ... Albany ran 87 plays to 52 for Duquesne ... the Great Danes posted 28 first downs to Duquesne's nine ... Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch to 21 with a 35 yard touchdown reception in the third quarter ... it was his lone reception of the game ... the 6-5, 212-pound graduate student has caught at least one pass in every game since moving from quarterback to receiver eight games into the 2009 season ... Dixon has caught at least one touchdown pass in all six games this season ...exactly half of Dixon's 18 catches this year have gone for touchdowns (9) ... junior linebacker Horvin Latimer (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) had a career high 18 tackles (six solo) ... his previous best was 14 stops at Saint Francis in 2009 ... the 18 tackles, which tied the fourth-highest total in school history, were the most by a DU player since Nathan Totino's school record 23 vs. Albany on Oct. 4, 2008 ... cornerback Aaron Fitzpatrick (Erie, Pa./McDowell), who had 14 tackles in 11 games last year, had a career-high 12 stops (seven solo) ... junior running back Larry McCoy (Wytheville, Va./George Wythe) saw his streak of consecutive 100 yard games snapped at seven ... his 75 yards were his fewest since a 74 yard effort last year vs. Monmouth (a span of 12 games) ... McCoy, who ranks fourth on DU's all-time rushing list (2,868 yards), needs 132 to reach 3,000 ... senior Isaac Spragg (Westfield, Va./Valley Forge (Pa.) Military Academy) had a team-high six catches for 58 yards ... Spragg, who entered the season with eight catches in 22 career games, leads DU with 34 catches for 403 yards.
HOME SWEET HOME: Duquesne is 73-22-0 all time at Rooney Field including winning streaks of 16, 14 and 10 games. Duquesne owns non-conference home wins over Bucknell (three times), Lafayette (twice), Dayton (twice), VMI, Butler, Morehead State and Fordham among others over the past 13-plus seasons. DU is 29-11 in non-conference home games (11-2 under Jerry Schmitt) and 44-11 in conference games (6-7 in the NEC) on Rooney Field.