Dukes Conclude Regular Season Saturday vs. Robert Morris
Nov. 16, 2011
Game #11 - Dukes host Colonials on Senior Day
RADIO: WMNY-AM 1360 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
FIRST-PLACE DUKES NEED A LITTLE HELP: Duquesne (8-2, 6-1) remained in a first place tie for the Northeast Conference title with Albany (7-3, 6-1) by virtue of its 29-15 win at Sacred Heart last Saturday. To win the NEC's automatic bid to the Division I Football Championship, the Dukes will need help from those same Pioneers this week. The only way the Dukes can qualify is with an Albany loss. DU can garner the automatic bid outright with a win over Robert Morris (2-8, 2-5) this Saturday at 12:10 (WMNY-AM 1360) combined with an Albany home loss to Sacred Heart (1:00 p.m.). If the Dukes and Great Danes both win, there would be co-Champions, however, UAlbany would move on to the playoffs by virtue of its 38-10 win over DU on Oct. 8. There is one other scenario that would give the Dukes the bid with a loss: losses by Duquesne and Albany and wins by Bryant (7-3, 5-2) (vs. CCSU at 12:00) and Wagner (3-7, 3-4) (vs. Monmouth at 12:00) would create three-way ties for both first and fourth. Since Albany, Bryant and Duquesne would own 1-1 records against each other, the three would move to the next tiebreaker which is record against the three schools tied for fourth (potentially Monmouth, Sacred Heart and Wagner). Duquesne would have a 3-0 record against that group, while Albany would be 2-1. Bryant, which is still in its transition to NCAA Division I, is not eligible for the NEC's automatic bid. DU enters Saturday's game having won four in a row. RMU has dropped its last five.
DUKES AND COLONIALS: Duquesne has won of six of the past nine meetings in the series which is tied at 6-6 ... DU has won the last five on Rooney Field ... in the last Rooney Field meeting, Duquesne saw a 27-0 third quarter lead cut to seven before adding a fourth quarter Larry McCoy TD run to defeat the fast-closing Colonials 34-20 ... quarterback-turned-receiver Connor Dixon threw for 201 yards and two TDs and McCoy ran for 107 yards and two scores to lead the Dukes ... last year, Myles Russ ran for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Jeff Sinclair threw for a score and ran for two more as Robert Morris defeated Duquesne 34-11 at Joe Walton Stadium ... RMU held McCoy to 81 yards rushing in the win ... Duquesne head coach Jerry Schmitt is 4-2 vs. RMU, including a 3-0 mark on Rooney Field.
DU AMONG FCS LEADERS: Duquesne enters the Robert Morris game leading the nation in pass defense at 138.9 ypg. The DU secondary has allowed just nine TD passes while posting nine interceptions. The Dukes are also in the Top 20 in total defense (5th at 284.1 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (8th at 102.0), scoring defense (14th at 19.1 ppg.) and rushing offense (17th at 208.38ypg.) . Individually, running back Larry McCoy (263-1,275-11) ranks 8th in rushing (127.5 ypg.) and Jared Williams is tied for 15th in interceptions/g. (.40). Duquesne leads the NEC in rushing offense, total defense, scoring defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense and kickoff return average (20.97).
The Dukes are 10-2 in their past 12 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. The Dukes will finish no worse than tied for second this season.
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. That streak has been matched with wins over CCSU, Wagner, at Monmouth and at Sacred Heart. The streaks are DU's longest since moving to the NEC in 2008. The 2007 season was DU `s last in the MAAC.
The DU defense has allowed just one touchdown in the past eight quarters - a 13 yard run by Sacred Heart's Greg Moore last weekend. The score followed a DU turnover that gave the Pioneers the ball at the Duquesne 24. Second-year defensive coordinator Dave Opfar and the defensive staff have taken a unit that ranked 83rd in total defense in 2009 to a group that finished 50th last season. DU enters the RMU game leading the FCS in total defense.
DU has posted back-to-back road wins in NEC play for the first time (16-0 at Monmouth and 29-15 at Sacred Heart).
Duquesne has won six in a row at home. It is the longest home streak since six in a row at home in 2005 (last four games) & 2006 (first two games). The last time DU won seven in a row at home was from 2002 into 2004 when Duquesne reeled off a Rooney Field record 16 in a row.
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 is 12-3 in his past 15 starts. The junior lefty has thrown for 32 touchdowns with 11 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 10th in the NEC in rushing with a 42.9 yards per game average. He is averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
Receiver Connor Dixon has caught 10 touchdown passes in DU's past seven games. Thirteen of his 35 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.
The Dukes held Sacred Heart to 229 yards - 117 below their season average, in the 29-15 win on Nov. 12.
Twenty-five of DU's 36 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 a school record eight 100-yard games in 10 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 11-of-16 on field goal attempts (with four of 40 yards or longer, including a school-record 51-yarder vs. Wagner) with 64 points through 10 games. Leventry, a two-time NEC Special Teams Player of the Week, is averaging 36.7 yards per punt with 20 of 45 punts placed inside the 20 and just two touchbacks.
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), who was forced to leave the Valparaiso game with an ankle injury, was back in uniform at Sacred Heart (after missing six games).
SACRED HEART LEFTOVERS: The win was Duquesne's third in a row over Sacred Heart ... it was also DU's third consecutive victory at Fairfield, Conn. ... this is Duquesne's second four-game win streak of the season ... the DU defense, coming off a 16-0 shutout of Monmouth two week's ago, gave up just one short-yardage touchdown on the afternoon ... the Dukes held Sacred Heart to 229 yards - 117 under its season average ... Larry McCoy (Wytheville, Va./George Wythe) ran for 149 yards on 30 carries ... it was his school record eighth 100 yard game of the season breaking the record of seven he shared with Mike Hilliard (2002 & 2003), Donte Small (1999 & 2000) and Bill Green (1995) ... it was also the 18th career 100-yard game for the DU junior ... only all-time leading rusher Donte Small (21) has more career 100-yard games ... McCoy ranks third on DU's all-time rushing list with 3,373 yards ... Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch to 25 with 6 catches for 95 yards including touchdowns of 33 & 35 yards ... 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 eight of 10 games this season ... 13 of his 35 catches in 2011 have gone for touchdowns ... the 13 scores this season are the fifth-most in school history, three behind the school record of 16 set by Bruce Hocker in 2006 ... first-year Ohio State transfer Dorian Bell (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) earned NEC Defensive Player of the Week honors after posting a season-high 8 tackles (6 solo) including two tackles for loss ... the sophomore linebacker also added a quarterback hurry and broke up three passes ... defensive lineman Alex Inda (San Fernando, Calif./St. Genevieve) had a game-high nine tackles including a big sack late that ended Sacred Heart's final attempt at a comeback.