Oct. 18, 2017
The Dukes (5-1, 2-0) take a five-game winning streak into this week's NEC matchup with Saint Francis (4-2, 2-0) at Rooney Field.
Duquesne topped crosstown foe Robert Morris 51-14 last week while the Red Flash defeated Bryant on the road by a score of 30-14.
Duquesne and Saint Francis shared the 2016 NEC championship with the Red Flash earning the league's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs by virtue of a 14-10 win over the Dukes on Oct. 21, 2016 in Loretto.
DU was picked as the NEC favorite in 2017 while SFU was selected to finish second. Both the Dukes and Red Flash are receiving votes in the latest STATS FCS Top 25.
After throwing for a career-high five touchdowns at Robert Morris last week, quarterback Tommy Stuart is tied for the FCS lead with 20 touchdown passes on the season. Wide receiver Nehari Crawford paces the country with 10 touchdown receptions on the year.
Duquesne is coming off a 51-14 win on the road at Robert Morris last week at Joe Walton Stadium. The Dukes have now won five straight games over the Colonials.
DU is riding a five-game winning streak into Saturday's matchup. This marks the first time the Dukes have won five games in a row since closing out the 2011 campaign with five consecutive victories. DU's last six-game winning streak was in 2002 when the Dukes started the season 11-0.
DU is receiving 12 votes in the latest STATS FCS Top 25 released on Monday afternoon. Defending national champion James Madison owns the top spot in the rankings, followed by North Dakota State second and Jacksonville State third. Saint Francis is receiving one vote in the poll.
The Dukes were selected as the 2017 NEC favorite while the Red Flash was picked to finish second. The two teams shared the 2016 NEC title.
The Dukes own a 35-8 series lead over SFU, including a 20-2 edge in Pittsburgh and an 8-0 advantage at Rooney Field.
Saturday's matchup features the top scoring offense in the NEC in Duquesne (35.5 ppg.) and the top scoring defense in the league in Saint Francis (12.0 ppg.).
Wide receiver Nehari Crawford (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central) leads the FCS with 10 receiving touchdowns on the season.
Quarterback Tommy Stuart (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall/Boise State) is tied for the national lead with 20 passing touchdowns on the year.
Stuart is second in points responsible for (23.0), fifth in passing efficiency (176.1) and sixth in completion percentage (68.9 percent).
After sitting out two games with an injury, running back A.J. Hines (Wilson, N.C./Fike) has the Dukes on the ground in each of the last two weeks, including a 130-yard performance last week at Robert Morris. Just a sophomore, he now has nine career 100-yard rushing games.
DU ranks second in the FCS in red zone offense, scoring on 95.5 percent of trips inside its opponents' red zone. In addition, the Dukes are fourth in team passing efficiency (174.88) and seventh in tackles for loss allowed (4.00).
After dropping its season opener at fourth-ranked South Dakota State, DU is outscoring opponents by an average of 40-18 during the Dukes' five-game winning streak.
Linebacker Nathan Stone (Scottdale, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) was recently named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, awarded to the top scholar-athlete in college football.
Duquesne is 33-17 in NEC play over the past seven seasons. The Dukes went 4-11 in their first two years in the conference while making the transition to a scholarship model. DU is 12-2 in NEC play over the past three years.
The victory over WV Wesleyan marked Duquesne's 100th win at Arthur J. Rooney Field, which has served as the home of the Dukes since the1993 season. With the triumph, Duquesne has now won 10 straight home openers.
With both Hines and P.J. Fulmore (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Catholic) sidelined against West Virginia Wesleyan, freshman running back DeWayne Murray III (Homestead, Pa./Steel Valley) rushed for a game-high 83 yards on 14 carries in his collegiate debut, an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
Nehari Crawford has paced the Duquesne receivers this season with 38 catches for 607 yards and ten touchdowns.
Senior Chavas Rawlins (Monessen, Pa./Monessen/West Virginia) has 22 receptions for 190 yards and two touchdowns while junior Kareem Coles (San Diego, Calif./Madison/Idaho) has caught 14 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns.
Sophomore Kellon Taylor (Landover, Md./DeMatha Catholic) has three touchdown catches on the year. Taylor, also a member of the DU basketball team, has 11 receptions for 178 yards on the season.
Linebacker Brett Zanotto (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional/Maryland) leads the Dukes with 39 tackles on the season (team-high 23 solo) with 4.0 tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Fellow Murrysville native Carter Henderson (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional/Penn State) has 36 tackles (18 solo) in four games on the year to go with 2.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.
Nathan Stone has 29 tackles (13 solo) this season with 4.5 tackles for loss including 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. Junior defensive back Abner Roberts (Pittsburgh, Pa./University Prep) has also tallied 29 tackles (16 solo) with an interception and two pass breakups.
This marks the 44th meeting between the Dukes and Red Flash in the series that dates back to the 1913 season.
DU has won 15 of 18 against Saint Francis, but the Red Flash has claimed victories in two of the last three season.
The Dukes are 8-0 all-time at Rooney Field against SFU. The last Red Flash win in Pittsburgh was in 1992. DU owns a 20-2 series advantage in Pittsburgh.
SAINT FRANCIS 14, DUQUESNE 10 - Zack Drayer scored from one yard out with 50 seconds left to give Saint Francis a 14-10 win over Duquesne at DeGol Field.
The Dukes took over on their own 33 and moved to the SFU 36 in the closing seconds before Jalen Wells picked off a Dillon Buechel pass at the 20 to end it.
DU ran for 172 yards against an SFU defense that entered the game giving up 95 yards per game on the ground,
A.J. Hines topped the 100-yard mark for the fourth time in five games with 128 yards rushing on 25 carries with a touchdown.
SCOUTING SAINT FRANCIS
Wide receiver Kamron Lewis, the 2016 NEC Offensive Player of the Year, had a career day last week at Bryant, catching 15 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. For his performance, he was named NEC Offensive Player of the Week. Lewis is sixth in the country with 8.2 receptions per game.
Quarterback Bear Fenimore, a graduate transfer from Houston, is 16th in the country with 14 passing touchdowns on the year.
SFU running back Jymere Jordan-Toney paces the NEC with 92.3 rushing yards per game.
The Red Flash features the top scoring defense in the NEC, limiting opponents to just 12.0 points per game. Saint Francis also ranks atop the league in total defense, holding teams to 299.7 total yards per game.
LAST TIME OUT
DUQUESNE 51, ROBERT MORRIS 14 - Tommy Stuart threw for a career-high five touchdowns to help Duquesne earn a 51-14 victory over Robert Morris on Saturday night at Joe Walton Stadium.
The Colonials got on the board first when Drew Allen returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown, giving Robert Morris a 7-0 lead with 7:47 to play in the first quarter.
The Dukes would respond with 44 unanswered points, 34 of which came in the first half en route to the triumph. Stuart threw his five touchdowns on five straight possessions.
The Dukes outgained Robert Morris 457-248 in the victory with advantages of 238-86 on the ground and 219-162 through the air.
The Duquesne defense held the Colonials under 100 yards of total offense into the third quarter. The Dukes also held their opponent under 100 rushing yards for the third game this year.
Freshman defensive lineman Roman Macek (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour) recorded a team-high five tackles including a sack. Freshman defensive back Aaron Morton (Royersford, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown.
SAINT FRANCIS 30, BRYANT 14 - Karom Lewis had a career day while the Red Flash defense forced four Bryant turnovers in a 30-14 NEC victory.
Lewis set career highs with 15 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown.
Jalen Wells picked off two passes and sophomore safety Nick Rinella had an interception and a forced fumble.
SFU held Bryant to 214 total yards, 270 yards below their season average.