Nine Dukes Named All-Northeast Conference
Nov. 27, 2013
PITTSBURGH - Nine Duquesne players - including six underclassmen - were named All-Northeast Conference in a vote of league coaches released today. The Dukes, who tied Sacred Heart for the NEC title with a 4-2 record, finished 7-4 overall.
Sophomore linebacker Christian Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley), who tied for the team lead with 74 tackles, was named First Team All-NEC.
Kuntz, who was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week twice during the season, led the Dukes in tackles for loss (19.5) and sacks (9.0) and tied for team-high with two fumbles forced.
The Dukes had eight players named Second Team including: freshman quarterback Dillon Buechel (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour), junior tight end Kyle Shuman (Edinboro, Pa./General McLane), senior guard Frank Balmaceda (Miami, Fla./ASA Institute), senior center Nick Redden (Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield Area), sophomore defensive tackle Zach Zidian (Youngstown, Ohio/Boardman), senior linebacker Dorian Bell (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway), junior safety Rich Piekarski (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and freshman placekicker Austin Crimmins (Ebensburg, Pa./Central Cambria).
Buechel, who set a DU freshman passing record with 2,569 yards, set single-season school marks for pass attempts (373) and completions (217) on his was to earning NEC Rookie of the Week honors three times.
Shuman came back from an achilles injury to be one of the top blocking tight ends in the NEC. The junior finished with 11 catches for 89 yards.
Balmaceda and Redden, who started 22 consecutive games side-by-side, helped power a Dukes offense that averaged 346 yards and 22.4 points per game.
Zidian was a big reason linebackers ranked first, second and fourth on the team in total tackles. The Youngstown, Ohio native - when he wasn't occupying multiple offensive linemen - had 44 tackles (including 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks). In addition, Zidian has showed a nose for the football with a team-high four fumble recoveries.
Bell finished with 47 total tackles including 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. He also led the team with six quarterback hurries.
Piekarski, who finished third on the team with 70 tackles, led the team with two interceptions and seven passes broken up.
Crimmins, kicked a school record-tying 15 field goals in his first season as the everyday placekicker. He had seven field goals in DU's last two games, including a school record four in the season-ending 33-23 win at Monmouth.
The Dukes will return 15 starters - seven on offense and eight on defense - in 2014.