A.J. Hines ranks third in FCS football with 115.0 rushing yards per game.
Nov. 8, 2017
The Dukes (7-2, 4-0) and Blue Devils (6-3, 4-0) clash with the NEC title on the line Saturday at Rooney Field. The winner of the matchup will claim at least a share of the conference crown as well as earn the NEC's automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs.
Duquesne will look to win its fifth NEC championship and its third conference title in a row. The Dukes are seeking their second FCS Playoff appearance after earning a bid to the postseason with an outright conference title in 2015. Duquesne also won a share of the league crown in 2011, 2013 and 2016.
CCSU is seeking is first NEC title since 2010. The Blue Devils have won four NEC championships, sharing the crown in 2004, 2005 and 2010 with an outright title in 2009. CCSU is looking to make its first ever FCS Playoff appearance.
The last team to finish undefeated in NEC play was Albany in 2008. The Great Danes finished with a perfect 7-0 ledger in league action.
Quarterback Tommy Stuart was recently one of five players added to the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List.
Running back A.J. Hines had a career day last week at Liberty, tallying a career-high 253 rushing yards on 25 carries with a pair of touchdown runs.
Duquesne battles Central Connecticut State for the NEC title and the conference's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. Both teams are looking for their fifth NEC crown.
The Dukes won the conference outright in 2015, earning their first-ever bid to the FCS Playoffs, where they fell in a shootout to No. 13 William & Mary by a score of 52-49.
The Blue Devils last won an NEC title in 2010. CCSU is seeking its first trip to the FCS Playoffs.
The Dukes return to NEC play after stepping out of conference action last week for a matchup against Liberty, a member of the Big South Conference.
Duquesne dropped a 27-24 decision to the Flames last week, who are in their last season in a transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
DU is off to its first 4-0 start in the Northeast Conference (NEC) era. The Dukes last started 3-0 in conference play in 2005 as members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
DU is receiving 11 votes in the latest STAS FCS Top 25 released on Monday.
Quarterback Tommy Stuart (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall/Boise State) was one of five players added to the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List released on Tuesday. The Payton Award is given to the offensive player of the year in FCS football. 33 players have been named to the watch list.
Stuart was also recently named to the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) FCS National Performer of the Year Trophy Midseason Watch List. Stuart was one of 36 FCS players named to the midseason watch list. The award winner will be announced Jan. 10, 2018.
Dukes running back A.J. Hines (Wilson, N.C./Fike) is coming off a pair of career performances, rushing for a career-high 253 yards on 25 carries with a pair of touchdowns last week at Liberty. This followed a three-touchdown day at Sacred Heart, a figure which matched a career-high for the sophomore. Hines' 253 rushing yards against Liberty are the fifth-most by a Duquesne player in a single game.
Wide receiver Nehari Crawford (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central) is second in the FCS with 11 receiving touchdowns on the season. He has four 100-yard receiving performances on the season.
Tommy Stuart is sixth in the country with 23 passing touchdowns on the year. His 23 touchdown passes are tied for seventh all-time on the single-season list with two regular season games remaining.
In addition, Stuart is fourth in completion percentage (68.3 percent), sixth in pass efficiency (172.8) and eighth in points responsible for (162). He has completed 157-of-230 pass attempts on the year for 1,914 yards.
After sitting out two games with an injury during the early stages of the season, A.J. Hines has paced the Dukes on the ground in each of the last five weeks, including a combined 594 rushing yards the last four games. Just a sophomore, he now has 11 career 100-yard rushing games.
Hines leads the NEC and ranks third in the FCS with 115.0 rushing yards per game.
DU ranks second in the FCS in red zone offense, scoring on 93.5 percent (29-of-31) of trips inside its opponents' red zone.
The Dukes are outscoring NEC opponents 150-42 in four conference games on the year. The Dukes held Wagner scoreless before limiting St. Francis to seven points two weeks later.
Saturday's matchup features the top two scoring offenses in the NEC, as Duquesne leads the league averaging 33.1 points per game and CCSU is second at 31.3 points per contest.
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 35-17 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 14-2 in NEC play over the past three years.
The Dukes will honor senior players and support staff prior to Saturday's game, including: Cody Collins, Adam Clopton, Lukas Damian, Chandler Daniel, Bryan Fegley, Joshua Gills, Carter Henderson, Ben Huss, Thomas Lucas, Stephan Osong, Chavas Rawlins, Justice Rawlins, Thomas Rizza, Malik Shegog, Nathan Stone, Andy Struttmann, Tommy Stuart, Markus Colin and Morgan Starczewski.
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 the 1993 season. With the triumph, Duquesne has now won 10 straight home openers.
Nehari Crawford has paced the Duquesne receivers this season with 49 catches for 782 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Senior Chavas Rawlins (Monessen, Pa./Monessen/West Virginia) has 36 receptions for 329 yards and four 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 17 receptions for 242 yards on the season.
Linebacker Carter Henderson (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional/Penn State) leads the Dukes with 66 tackles (39 solo) in eight games on the year to go with 7.0 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a sack and three quarterback hurries. Fellow Murrysville native Brett Zanotto (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional/Maryland) is second on the team with 50 tackles on the season (33 solo) with 7.0 tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Nathan Stone has 42 tackles (23 solo) this season with a team-high 8.0 tackles for loss including 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
Junior defensive back Abner Roberts (Pittsburgh, Pa./University Prep) has tallied 47 tackles (32 solo) and leads the conference with four interceptions on the year.
Junior cornerback Jonathant Istache (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central) has a team-high 10 passes defended on the season including nine pass breakups and an interception. In addition, he has forced a pair of fumbles and had a 40-yard fumble recovery against St. Francis. Istache also has 33 tackles (26 solo) on the season.
Duquesne posted an 8-3 record last season with a 5-1 mark in Northeast Conference play, earning a share of the conference crown. The Dukes have captured at least a share of the NEC title in four of the last six seasons. (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016). Duquesne returns 13 position starters entering the 2017 season (five on offense, eight on defense).
The Dukes are 35-25 in non-conference games under 13th-year head coach Jerry Schmitt with wins over Robert Morris (three times prior to joining the NEC), Dayton (seven times), Bucknell (four times), Fordham (twice), Albany (once as a CAA member) and Monmouth (as an independent). At home, the Dukes are 23-3 in non-league play.
This is the 11th chapter in the Duquesne-Central Connecticut State series which dates back to the 1993 season.
The two teams have met every season since 2008 when the Dukes joined the Northeast Conference.
The all-time series is locked at 5-5, but Duquesne has won four straight over the Blue Devils, including a 52-19 victory last season in New Britain. That win clinched a share of the NEC title for the Dukes.
CCSU's lone victory at Rooney Field came on Oct. 17, 2009 in a 31-24 triumph over Duquesne.
After dropping the first three games of the season, CCSU has won six consecutive games including its four NEC contests. The Blue Devils also own a win over Ivy League member Penn.
CCSU is second in the NEC in scoring offense (31.3 ppg.) but sixth out of seven teams in total defense (413.4 ypg.). The Blue Devils are seventh in rushing defense, allowing opposing teams to tally an average of 184.7 yards per game on the ground.
CCSU has the most rushing touchdowns in the NEC with 22, including a league-high 10 TDs by Cameron Nash and six by Drew Jean-Guillaume.
Randall Laguerre is third in the NEC with 9.0 tackles per game while Jarrod Cann is tied for the conference-lead with four interceptions on the season.
LAST TIME OUT
LIBERTY 27, DUQUESNE 24 - A.J. Hines rushed for a career-high 253 yards with a pair of long touchdown runs, but Liberty outscored Duquesne 17-0 in the second half to earn a 27-24 win over the Dukes.
Hines' 253 rushing yards are the fifth-most by a Duquesne player in program history and the most since Mike Hilliard's school-record 323-yard performance in 2003. He is the first Duke to rush for over 200 yards since Larry McCoy tallied 246 yards on the ground against Central Connecticut in 2010.
Carter Henderson registered a career-high 16 tackles for the Dukes, including nine solo stops and 1.5 tackles for loss. Abner Roberts added a career-high 12 tackles (nine solo).
Duquesne outgained the Flames 434-421 in the game, including a 295-210 advantage on the ground.
The loss snaps Duquesne's seven-game winning streak.
CCSU 28, ST. FRANCIS 10 - Fueled by four caused turnovers from the CCSU defense, the Blue Devils extended their winning streak to six games with a 28-10 victory over St. Francis.
Cameron Nash carried 21 times for 93 yards with a touchdown rush while Drew Jean-Guillaume also ran for a touchdown in the win. Nash became the the seventh player in school history to rush for over 2,000 yards in the game.
Randall Laguerre and Carlton Nash each had seven tackles to lead the defense. Nash forced a fumble and had a tackle for a loss in the game. The defense had five sacks in the game, two of which led to turnovers.
During the six-game winning streak the Blue Devils have outscored their opponents 245-111. The Blue Devils are now +13 in turnovers during their six game winning streak.