Nov. 12, 2013
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The Last Meeting
October 13, 2012
New Britain, Conn.
Dukes comeback falls short in 38-31 loss at CCSU
Duquesne rallied from a 17-0 deficit to tie the game late in the third quarter, but could never gain the lead in seeing its Northeast Conference win streak snapped at seven in a 38-31 loss at Central Connecticut State.
Game: #10 - Dukes Host Blue Devils on Senior Day
CCSU (4-6, 2-2) at DUQUESNE (5-4, 3-2)
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 12:10 p.m.
Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field (2,200/Sportexe) Pittsburgh, Pa.
RADIO: WJAS-AM 1320 with Alex Panormios & Tad Maurey
STREAMING AUDIO: RedZoneMedia.com or GoDuquesne.com
FREE STREAMING VIDEO: GoDuquesne.com
Duquesne (5-4, 3-2), coming off a 10-0 loss at Sacred Heart, returns home to face Central Connecticut State (4-6, 2-2) at 12:10 p.m. in the final home game of the season (WJAS-AM 1320). In addition to being the final home game for 15 Dukes, it will also be Duquesne's last Northeast Conference game of the season. DU enters Saturday's game as one of four teams with a chance of earning the NEC's automatic bid to the NCAA Football Championship. The Dukes, who finish the regular season with a non-conference game at Monmouth next weekend, need a victory over CCSU combined with a Robert Morris win over Sacred Heart and Saint Francis win over Wagner. DU would then need Saint Francis to defeat Robert Morris at home next weekend to create a three-way tie with DU, RMU and SFU all at 4-2. Duquesne would then win that tiebreaker by virtue of its 2-1 record in that pool. CCSU could finish in a three-way tie with RMU & SFU, but would have to jump SFU in the Sagarin ratings to claim the bid - a scenario which would be highly unlikely, since both will have added two wins and SFU is already 46 spots ahead of CCSU.
DUKES & BLUE DEVILS
Duquesne notched its first series win in CCSU's last visit to Rooney Field (28-21 on Oct. 15, 2011) ... CCSU leads the all-time series 5-1, including a 4-1 advantage in NEC games ... last year, Duquesne rallied from a 17-0 deficit to tie the game late in the third quarter, but could never gain the lead in seeing its NEC win streak snapped at seven in a 38-31 loss at New Britain, Conn. ... he win was the first of the season for the Blue Devils who entered the game looking to avoid the school's first six-game losing streak since 1986 ... Ryan Ho, who rushed for a career-high 78 yards in place of injured Larry McCoy, ran for one touchdown and caught a scoring pass for DU which finished with 376 yards of total offense to 495 yards for CCSU ... Central Connecticut State was picked to finish sixth in the NEC preseason poll.
CCSU boasts the second-most potent offense in the NEC at 406.4 yards per game ... the Blue Devils have been led by second year junior Kent State transfer RB Rob Hollomon who ranks second nationally with 203.3 all purpose yards per game ... the 5-8, 170-pound Philadelphia native ranks fifth nationally with 18 rushing touchdowns ... he has topped the 100-yard rushing mark six times with a season-high of 212 on just nine carries against Salve Regina ... Hollomon ran for 164 yards and a TD in CCSU's 38-31 win over the Dukes last season ... sophomore quarterback Nick SanGiacomo, a Tulane transfer, has thrown for 1,528 yards and 16 TDs ... the most efficient signal-caller in the NEC (149.0), SanGiacomo is averaging over 13 yards per pass completion ... the Blue Devils are 2-4 on the road with wins at Albany (20-17) and at Wagner (52-17).
DU is 18-11 in NEC play over the past three seasons (5-3 in 2010, 7-1 in 2011, 3-5 in 2012 & 3-2 this year). The Dukes went 4-11 in their first two seasons in the conference (2-5 in 2008 and 2-6 in 2009).
DU has defeated every team in the NEC under current head coach Jerry Schmitt.
The Dukes are 1-4 when they commit three or more turnovers. They are 3-0 when committing fewer opponents than their opponent.
Twelve 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), DL Jake Radziukinas (RS) & RB Zach DeNardo (RS). Buechel, Reed, Graham and Crimmins have started every game.
In addition, nine first-year players have seen action in 2013, with four having started at least once: SS Chris Johnson, DB Nick Floyd, OL Ezek Suivaaia & LB Austin Whalen.
Redshirt freshman Dillon Buechel, who has completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 2,058 yards and 10 touchdowns, has a 115.77 efficiency rating. 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 - the only quarterback on the roster who had attempted a college pass entering the season - for the starting job.
Senior Dorian Bell is spending considerable time in opposing backfields. The All-American LB (38 total tackles) has 5.5 tackles for loss including 2.0 sacks. He also has a team-high four quarterback hurries. Bell had a team-high 3.0 TFL at Bryant.
Sophomore LB Christian Kuntz, DU's co-leader in tackles (59), leads the Dukes in TFL (14.5) and sacks (5.5). He ranks 7th nationally in tackles for loss per game at 1.6. Kuntz earned NEC co-Defensive Player of the Week honors on Nov. 4 after posting 3.0 tackles for loss, deflecting a pass that was intercepted and causing a fumble on a sack in the win over Saint Francis.
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. Martello ranks third on the team in tackles (55) and is tied with Christian Kuntz and Chris Johnson for the team lead with two fumbles forced.
315-pound tackle Zach Zidian is a big reason linebackers rank first, second and third on the team in total tackles. The Youngstown, Ohio native - when he isn't occupying multiple offensive linemen - has 37 stops of his own (including 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks). In addition, Zidian has shown a nose for the football with a team-high four fumble recoveries.
Junior safety Rich Piekarski, who is fourth on the team with 54 tackles, leads the team with two interceptions and six passes broken up.
Junior Ryan Ho has rushed for 342 yards and four TDs in eight games. He and senior Jason Douglas (69-238-0 this year) are filling the shoes of all-time rushing leader Larry McCoy (956-4,549-37). McCoy's 4,549 yards are the second-most in NEC history.
DU is facing former NEC members Albany (W, 35-24) and Monmouth (Nov. 23). 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).
DU AT A GLANCE
Redshirt freshman quarterback Dillon Buechel (pronounced BEE-kull), who has earned NEC Rookie of the Week honors twice (Sept. 2 & 23), was named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List (top FCS first-year player) on Oct. 9. Buechel has thrown for 2,058 yards and 10 TDs in his first nine collegiate games. The 6-3, 176-pounder from nearby Montour High School ranks second among freshmen - and 35th nationally - in passing yards per game (228.7 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). A pair of WPIAL products, sophomore linebacker Christian Kuntz (Chartiers Valley) and redshirt freshman Aaron Reed (Buechel's former teammate at Montour) are tied for the team lead with 59 tackles each. Kuntz' 1.6 tackles for loss per game (14.5 on the season, including a team-high 5.5 sacks), rank 7th nationally. Sophomore linebacker Sam Martello is close behind with 55 total tackles. Junior safety Rich Piekarski is the leading non-linebacker tackler with 54 stops. DU is averaging 99.7 yards rushing and 232.9 yards passing per game. DU opponents are averaging 137.7 yards rushing and 173.8 yards passing per game.
Duquesne leads the NEC in completion percentage (.586), fewest first downs allowed (145, 6th nationally), fewest penalty yards per game (44.6), passing offense (232.9) and total defense (311.4).