Duquesne Looks to Extend Win Streak to Four at Sacred Heart on Saturday
Nov. 7, 2011
Game #11 - Dukes look to extend win streak to four at Fairfield, Conn.
RADIO: WMNY-AM 1360 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
FIRST-PLACE DUKES HEAD TO SACRED HEART: Duquesne (7-2, 5-1), which moved into a tie for first in the Northeast Conference during its off week, looks to extend its win streak to four when it heads to Fairfield, Conn. to face Sacred Heart (5-4, 3-3) on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 12:00 (WMNY-AM 1360). The Dukes benefitted from Bryant's 31-17 win at Albany that dropped UA to 5-1 in the NEC. Sacred Heart will have a lot to say about the 2011 NEC title chase as the Pioneers conclude their season at Albany on Nov. 19. As it stands, Duquesne would lose a tiebreaker with Albany by virtue of its 38-10 loss to the Great Danes on Oct. 8. Bryant and Monmouth, both 4-2 are also alive in the title chase.
DUKES AND PIONEERS: This is the seventh meeting between the Dukes and Pioneers with DU leading 4-2 ... in the first game, Sacred Heart defeated Duquesne 31-15 in the 2001 ECAC Classic at Rooney Field ... three of the past five meetings - all Duquesne wins - have been decided on the game's final play ... five years ago, SHU drove to the Duquesne three with three seconds left but was unable to get a field goal snap down as time expired to give Duquesne a dramatic 24-21 win at Rooney Field ... in 2007 at Sacred Heart, Aaron Strader's interception in the end zone in overtime preserved a 30-23 victory for the Dukes ... in 2008, Sacred Heart, down 17-0 midway through the second quarter, scored 29 unanswered points to hand Duquesne a 29-17 Homecoming loss at Rooney Field ... in DU's last trip to Fairfield, Conn., Charlie Leventry kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired to cap a wild fourth quarter and give Duquesne a 45-42 win ... Leventry's heroics capped a fourth quarter that saw a total of 45 points scored, and overshadowed outstanding performances by DU RB Larry McCoy, who tied a school record with five TDs, and QB Kevin Rombach who completed a school record 26-of-30 passes (.867) for 252 yards ... SHU QB Dale Fink was also outstanding, throwing for six TDs, including four to wideout Steve Tedesco in that game ... last year, Duquesne took advantage of four Sacred Heart turnovers in a 37-17 win over Pioneers at Rooney Field ... the Dukes scored a pair of touchdowns off fumbles in a 21 second span of the first quarter to jump out to a 21-3 lead and never looked back as the DU defense held Sacred Heart to seven points - on a lone late fourth quarter touchdown - in the second half.
DU AMONG FCS LEADERS: Duquesne enters the Sacred Heart game ranked 2nd nationally in pass defense (134.1 ypg.). SHU leads the NEC with an average of 241 ypg. (28th nationally). The DU secondary has allowed just eight TD passes while posting seven interceptions. The Dukes are also in the Top 20 in total defense (5th at 290.2 ypg.), rushing offense (15th at 214.3 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (14th at 107.5) and scoring defense (19th at 19.6 ppg.). Individually, running back Larry McCoy (233-1,126-9) ranks 8th in rushing (125.1 ypg.). Duquesne leads the NEC in rushing offense, total defense, scoring defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense and kickoff return average (21.7). McCoy needs one more 100-yard game to break the school single-season record of seven (shared with three players).
The Dukes are 9-2 in their past 11 NEC games dating back to last season. DU was 5-13 in its first 18 NEC games while integrating a scholarship model.
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's four-game win streak earlier this season (at Dayton, Valparaiso, at Saint Francis and Bryant) was the school's longest since a five-game streak in 2007. The streak was DU's longest since moving to the NEC in 2008. DU is looking to match that streak at Sacred Heart.
DU is looking to post back-to-back road wins in NEC play for the first time (DU won 16-0 at Monmouth on Oct. 29).
Duquesne has won six in a row at home. It is the longest home streak since six in a row at home was 2005 (four games) & 2006 (first two games).
Three of Duquesne's games have been decided in the final minute. DU dropped its opener at Bucknell when the Bison scored a TD and extra point with 57 seconds left in a 27-26 win. The next weekend, Charlie Leventry kicked a field goal with 30 seconds left and Jared Williams blocked and returned a blocked field goal as time expired in a 22-13 victory at Dayton. On Oct. 15, Sean Patterson capped a 90 yard drive with a four yard run with 42 seconds left in a 28-21 win over CCSU.
QB Sean Patterson, who ranks 28th nationally in pass efficiency (140.67), is 11-3 in his past 14 starts. The junior lefty has thrown for 30 touchdowns with 10 interceptions over that span.
Patterson became the first DU quarterback to rush for 100 yards since the Dukes moved to the FCS level in 1993 with his 111 yards on 12 carries against CCSU on Oct. 15. Patterson's last run in that game, a 4-yard TD with 42 seconds left, proved to be the game-winner. Patterson currently ranks ninth in the NEC in rushing with a 49.8 yards per game average. He is averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
Receiver Connor Dixon has caught eight touchdown passes in DU's past six games. Eleven of his 29 receptions in 2011 have gone for scores.
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)
DU was the first team to shut out Monmouth (16-0 win on Oct. 29) since Stony Brook did it on Sept. 25, 2004.
Twenty-two of DU's 32 touchdown drives this season have covered 60 or more yards.
Junior running back Larry McCoy eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season and 3,000-yard mark for his career with his 149-yard, three-touchdown performance against Wagner on Oct. 22. McCoy has seven 100-yard games in nine starts this season. He shares the DU single-season record for 100-yard games in a season with Mike Hilliard (2002 & 2003), Donte Small (1999 & 2000) and Bill Green (1995).
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 11-of-16 on field goal attempts (including of four of 40 yards or longer, including a school-record 51-yarder vs. Wagner) with 61 points through nine games. Leventry, a two-time NEC Special Teams Player of the Week, is averaging 37.5 yards per punt with 17 of 39 punts placed inside the 20 and just two touchbacks.
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. took over Layhue's vacated spot. Summers is the brother of San Diego Chargers fullback Frank Summers. The O-line has helped the Dukes produce 396.9 yards per game - good for 32nd 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 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.
The Dukes have lost four starters/key reserves for the season: receiver Akeem Moore (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood) torn ACL at practice on Sept. 21; defensive end Reggie Eiland (Accokeek, Md./Gwynn Park) ankle injury on Sept. 22; running back/return specialist Ryan Ho (Pearl City, Hawaii/Kamehameha Schools) dislocated ankle in the opener at Bucknell and receiver/return specialist David Thomas (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic) broken foot vs. Valparaiso. One other, linebacker Tyler Zimmer (Harrison City, Pa./Penn-Trafford), is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
MONMOUTH LEFTOVERS: Duquesne is 9-2 in its past 11 Northeast Conference games dating back to last season ... the win was Duquesne's first over Monmouth in NEC play ... the Dukes, who are in their fourth season in the conference, have now defeated every NEC school in league play ... this was the first time Monmouth was shut out since a 27-0 NEC loss at home to Stony Brook on Sept. 25, 2004 ... it was the DU defense's first shutout since a 14-0 win at Wagner on Nov. 8, 2008 ... Duquesne held Monmouth to zero yards on eight third quarter plays ... the D held on three of Monmouth's four fourth down conversion attempts ... safety Serge Kona (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg), who entered the season tied for fifth nationally among returnees in fumbles forced per game, caused three of Monmouth's five fumbles to earn NEC co-Defensive Player of trhe Week ... DU turned the first force into a 33-yard field goal to go up 9-0 and the second led to the TD that put the Dukes up 16-0 at the half ... the 5-10, 215-pounder, who moved from linebacker to safety this season, posted his first sack of the season as well ... Kona finished with six tackles (5 solo) and a team-high 1.5 tackles for loss ... Larry McCoy (Wytheville, Va./George Wythe) ran for 110 yards on a career-high 35 carries ... it was the school record-tying seventh 100 yard game of the season and 17th of his career .... with the 110 yards, McCoy passed Mike Hilliard (3,188 yards from 1999-03) to move into the No. 3 spot in DU's all-time rushing list ... McCoy, who has 1,126 yards on the season, is up to 3,224 for his career ... Hilliard (2002 & 2003), all-time leading rusher Donte Small (1999 & 2000) and Bill Green (1995) are the only other players in school history to post seven 100-yard games in a season ... Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch to 24 with an 11-yard reception ... 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 a touchdown pass in seven of nine games this season ... 11 of his 29 catches in 2011 have gone for touchdowns.
POINTS IN THE POLLS: DU, which appeared in the "others receiving votes" category of the Sept. 12 Sports Network FCS Top 25 poll with an NEC-best 10 points following its win at Dayton, disappeared from the poll for two weeks following a 49-14 win over Valpo & 41-14 victory at Saint Francis, Pa. The Dukes were back the week of Oct. 3 - following a 31-28 win over Bryant - with an NEC-best 17 points. The Dukes were also tied for 36th in the Oct. 3 FCS Coaches Poll with six points. DU was dropped from both polls following its loss at Albany on Oct. 8 before reappearing in the Sports Network poll with four points on Oct. 24. DU recevied a season-high 24 points this week (T40th in poll):