Dukes Host Robert Morris Saturday in ESPN3 Senior Day Game

Nov. 19, 2014

Printable Game Notes

Game #12
ROBERT MORRIS (1-9, 1-4) at DUQUESNE (5-6, 1-4)
Saturday, Nov. 22 at 12:00 p.m.
Rooney Field (2,200/Sportexe) • Pittsburgh, Pa.
RADIO: 3WS HD2 / iHeartRadio with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)

DUKES AND COLONIALS: This is the 16th meeting between Duquesne and Robert Morris with Duquesne leading the series, 8-7 ... the teams have alternated the last seven decisions with the home team winning six of those games ... Robert Morris was picked to finish third in the NEC preseason coaches' poll (Duquesne was picked second).

LAST MEETING: Last season, the Dukes won at Robert Morris, 21-20. The Red and Blue trailed 7-0 at the half but scored 21 third quarter points on two touchdown passes, a field goal and two safeties. The safties were the results of a blocked punt by Charles Lipp and an RMU fumble in the end zone. Dillon Buechel connected with Gianni Carter and Devin Rahming on touchdown passes to give the Dukes a 21-7 lead. RMU responded with a pair of one-yard touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, the latter coming at the 4:43 mark. However, the Colonials missed the extra point and would not score again.

LAST WEEK FOR DU: The Dukes lost their third straight contest with a 23-13 blemish at Wagner. The score was tied 7-7 at the half before the Seahawks rattled off 16 straight points to take a 23-7 lead with 7:43 remaining. DU closed the deficit with a Ryan Ho one-yard touchdown run with 3:55 remaining, but could not get any closer.

ON ROBERT MORRIS: The Colonials are under the direction of first-year head coach John Banaszak. Last week the Colonials lost at home to visiting St. Francis, 40-7. They are led by quaterback Derik Abbot who has seven touchdown passes in his seven games played. Duane Mitchell has a team best 47 receptions for 453 yards and four touchdowns.

MORE ON DUQUESNE: Last year, DU finished 7-4 and tied for first in the Northeast Conference with a 4-2 record. Duquesne returns 16 position starters from last year's team, including nine on defense. This is Duquesne's seventh season as a scholarship-granting football program. With the move to the NEC, Duquesne offered 18 scholarships in February of 2008. That number has increased to 37 this season. Duquesne granted only need-based financial aid for football playing student-athletes as a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League from 1994 through 2007. The NEC competed as a non-scholarship member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision until 2006 when the conference adopted an athletics-based aid model. This is the fifth season the NEC regular season champion will be an automatic qualifier for the Division I Football Championship.

BIG PLAY ABILITY: Duquesne has used the big play to score in seven of its 11 games this season. In fact, 10 of its 38 touchdowns have come from over 50 yards. There was an 88-yard reception by Chris King at Buffalo, a 64-yard King reception and a 57-yard Devin Rahming reception at Youngstown State, a 75-yard Malik Shegog interception return, an 84-yard Rahming punt return and a 58-yard Noel Oduho reception vs. Dayton, a 55-yard King reception versus Monmouth, a 73-yard King reception versus West Liberty, a 58-yard TD pass from Ryan Egolf to King versus Sacred Heart and a 97-yard Rahming kick-off return for a score versus Alderson Broaddus.

SHARING THE CARRIES: Duquesne has had five different rushers lead the team in rushing this season through 11 games - game one at Buffalo was Klartel Claridy (12-39-0), game two at Youngstown State was Marcus Hughes (8-74-1), game three versus Dayton was Rafiq Douglas (11-69-0) and game four versus Monmouth was Ryan Ho (13-43-1). Claridy (12-64-0) again took team honors in the week five win over West Liberty and Ho led the team for a second time in week six at CCSU (7-68-0). Wide receiver Devin Rahming got into the mix in week seven, taking six carries for 43 yards in a 23-20 loss to Sacred Heart before Ho led the pack again in week eight's 48-27 win over Alderson Broaddus with a season-high 74 yards on 18 carries. Ho and Douglas shared top honors in week nine with 31 yards apiece in a 26-16 loss at St. Francis. In week 10, Douglas was the top rusher in a 20-17 loss to Bryant with 51 yards on eight totes. In week 11, Hughes put his name on the rushing leaderboard for a second time with 60 yards on nine carries at Wagner. The quartet of RB's minus Rahming has combined for 1,139 yards on 288 carries.

NATIONALLY RANKED: Several Dukes can be found near the top of the NCAA FCS National Statistics Rankings. Chris King is sixth in the country in receiving yards with 1,127, is second in receiving touchdowns with 14 and is seventh in the country in receiving yards per game with 102.7. Devin Rahming is second in the nation in kick return yardage at 31.4 per attempt and is tied for third in the land in kick return touchdowns with one. As a team, the Dukes rank fourth nationally in kick-off return average with 26.13 yards per attempt and are ninth in red zone defense with a .683 percentage.

AIRING IT OUT: With his 330 yards passing over West Liberty, Dillon Buechel surpassed the 4,000 career yard mark and now sits with 4,584. After his freshman record 2,569 passing yards last season and 2,015 through eight games played this year he needs just 101 yards to surpass Scott Knapp (2005-07) who is sitting fifth with 4,684. Buechel, who had missed three and a half games with an injury, returned to start the Wagner game, but left the game in the second quarter with an unrelated injury.

STONE COLD: After losing the top two tacklers from last season to injuries, freshman Nathan Stone has stepped up and leads the team in tackles from his linebacker position this year with 95 (51 solo) stops. He also has three sacks (25 yards), seven tackles for a loss of 29 yards, three pass break-ups, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. He is the third leading freshman tackler in the nation in FCS at 8.6 tackles per game.

STONE ON JERRY RICE AWARD WATCH LIST: Freshman linebacker Nathan Stone was one of 21 players - six of whom are linebackers - named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List on Oct. 8. The award is presented annually to the top first-year player in the Football Championship Subdivision. Named for the legendary wide receiver, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State, the Rice Award will be voted on by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The Watch List can undergo revision during the season. The winner will be announced at The Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation Dec. 15 in Philadelphia. Stone is the second Duquesne player ever named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List following Dillon Buechel last year.

DID YOU SEE THAT?: Chris King made it onto SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays for his acrobatic touchdown catch in the back of the end zone at Buffalo.

FBS INFLUENCE: Three players with FBS game experience were on the opening day 2-deep: back-up WR Wayne Capers (Arizona), starting S Chris Johnson (Florida) and projected starting OLB Armstead Williams (Purdue) had all played in a FBS game prior to this season. Back-up CB Ken Egu ran track and was on the football team at Washington, but did not see action. FB Randy Morris was a two-year walk-on at Pitt, but did not play. DB Trenton Coles (Pittsburgh), who played in 11 games last season, has since been added to the roster.

SEVEN AT HOME: The Dukes will play seven times at home and five times on the road. The seven home games are the most since 2001 when DU scheduled six home games and later added the ECAC Classic. It is the first time Duquesne has seven or more scheduled home games since 1934 (eight).

EARLY START: The August 30 game at Buffalo tied the earliest opener in school history (2001 vs. VMI & 2003 at Bucknell are the others).

BALANCED ATTACK: The Dukes entered the season with 17 seniors (including graduate students), 23 juniors, 19 sophomores, which includes 14 redshirt sophomores, 11 redshirt freshmen and 27 true freshmen. The 27 newcomers is Duquesne's largest class of newbies in the school's six-year involvement in the Northeast Conference.

2014 AWARDS: Duquesne has received 13 in-season awards through its first eight games. Austin Crimmins was named the NEC Special Teams Player of the Week and Chris King was named the CFPA FCS Wide Receiver of the Week after week one, Devin Rahming was named the NEC Special Teams Player of the Week, Malik Shegog was named the NEC Rookie of the week and Rahming was tabbed the CFPA FCS National Punt Returner of the Week after week three, Dillon Buechel was named the NEC Offensive Player of the Week, Austin Whalen was tabbed the NEC Defensive Player of the Week and Crimmins was named the NEC Special Teams Player of the Week following the Monmouth win and Nathan Stone was named the NEC Rookie of the Week and King was tabbed CFPA Honorable Mention National Wide Receiver of the Week after the week six win at CCSU. Following week eight, Rahming was again named the NEC Special Teams Player of the Week as well as the CFPA FCS National Kick Returner of the Week and Corvias ECAC Special Teams Player of the Week for Division I FCS.

NATIONAL EXPOSURE: Duquesne is slated to play three games on ESPN3 this season. The Dukes first appeared on the trey in its season opener at Buffalo on Aug. 30 and thanks to the Northeast Conference's television package, played CCSU on Oct. 11 and will host Robert Morris in the regular season finale on Nov. 22 at Rooney Field. None of those games are available on

IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY: Duquesne is 26-19 in non-conference games under tenth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt with wins over Dayton (four times), Robert Morris (three times prior to joining the NEC), Monmouth (twice), Bucknell (twice) and Fordham (twice). At home, the Dukes are 18-2 in non-league play under Schmitt, while on the road Schmitt's Dukes have fashioned an 8-17 mark. DU snapped a seven-game skid in non-conference road games with a 22-13 win at Dayton on Sept. 3, 2011. The win snapped Dayton's FCS-best win streak at 10. DU went 3-2 in non-conference games last season and finished 4-2 this year.

NEW KID ON THE BLUFF: Trenton Coles (Clairton, Pa/Clairton/Pittsburgh) transferred to Duquesne after week one and saw action in his first contest at Youngstown State ... the 6-3, 169-pound defensive back played in 11 games on special teams and as a reserve cornerback last season as a redshirt freshman at Pitt ... he is again slated to start for the Dukes this week.

CAPTAINS: Captains for the 2014 season are: junior OL Dan Buchholz (Malvern Pa./Great Valley), sophomore QB Dillon Buechel (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour), senior DB Rich Piekarski (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and junior DL Zach Zidian (Youngstown, Ohio/Boardman).

HOME SWEET HOME: Duquesne is 88-26-0 all time at Rooney Field including winning streaks of 16, 14 and 10 games (twice). Duquesne owns non-conference home wins over Dayton (four times), Bucknell (three times), Lafayette (twice), Albany, VMI, Monmouth, Butler, Morehead State and Fordham among others over the past 15 seasons. DU is 36-11 in non-conference home games (18-2 under Jerry Schmitt) on Rooney Field. The Red and Blue are 4-2 at home this season.

SURPASSING A LEGEND: Last season, head coach Jerry Schmitt surpassed the legendary Elmer Layden on Duquesne's all-time coaching victories list. Layden - one of Notre Dame's famed "Four Horsemen" - coached at Duquesne for seven seasons from 1927-33. It was under Layden that the Dukes first became recognized as a national football power. After leading DU to a 10-1-0 record and an appearance in the 1934 Festival of Palms Bowl, Layden left Duquesne to take over head coaching duties at Notre Dame. Duquesne's all-time wins leader is Greg Gattuso, who preceded Schmitt at DU. Gattuso, who led the Dukes to eight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League titles and a I-AA Mid-Major National Championship in 2003, is currently the head coach at Albany.

DU'S SEVENTH SEASON IN THE NEC: Duquesne, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League from 1994 to 2007, is beginning its seventh season as an associate member of the Northeast Conference Football League. With the move to the NEC, Duquesne offered 18 scholarships beginning in February of 2008. That number currently rests at 37. Duquesne granted only need-based financial aid for football playing student-athletes as a member of the MAAC. The NEC competed as a non-scholarship member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision until 2006 when the conference adopted an athletics-based aid model. Duquesne started its program in 1902 and competed at the highest level - winning a pair of New Year's Day Bowl games (1934 Festival of Palms and 1937 Orange) - before disbanding following the 1950 season. DU returned at the Club level prior to the 1969 season and won a National Club Championship in 1973. The Dukes competed at the NCAA Division III level from 1979-92 before moving up to the non-scholarship Football Championship Subdivision in 1993. The NEC Football League, which was established in 1996, includes full-time conference members Bryant University, Central Connecticut State University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University, Saint Francis (Pa.) University and Wagner College along with associate member Duquesne University.

NEW FACES ON THE SIDELINE: Head coach Jerry Schmitt added five new staff members for 2014 in defensive assistant Bret Colbert, co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Jason Makrinos, defensive line coach Tony Papley, linebackers coach Tyler Scudder and tight ends coach Chris Siegle. Colbert comes to Duquesne from Saint Vincent College where he held the titles of wide receivers coach, recruiting coordinator and video coordinator prior to being elevated to offensive coordinator in 2011. He began at Saint Vincent in 2007. Makrinos spent the past four seasons at Slippery Rock University where he coached defensive backs and also served as recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator. He was part of a staff that helped SRU to Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West championships in 2011 and 2013. Papley, who completed his playing career at Slippery Rock in 2013, is in his first season as graduate assistant defensive line coach. Scudder is the former director of player personnel at Western Michigan. Prior to accepting the position at Western Michigan, Scudder spent three seasons at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. While at IUP, he served as cornerbacks coach as well as the assistant recruiting coordinator. A three-year letterman at nose tackle for SRU, Papley earned first team All-PSAC West honors as a senior in helping the Rock defense rank fourth nationally in pass defense efficiency, fifth in third-down conversion and 25th in rushing defense. Siegle, a former quarterback for the Dukes in 2001, was most recently the head coach at his alma mater, suburban Pittsburgh's Shaler High School, Siegle has coached at West Virginia Tech, Milford Academy, Florida International and Hampton University.


• Duquesne, which returns 16 position starters, won three of its last four in 2013 to tie Sacred Heart for the regular-season Northeast Conference title. The lone loss, which came at SHU on Nov. 9 (10-0), prevented the Dukes from earning the NEC's automatic bid to the NCAA Football Championship.

• Twenty-three position returnees started at least once last season.

• Twelve freshmen saw action in 2103: 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 started every game. All but Parks (transfer) are back.

• In addition, nine first-year players saw action in 2013, with four starting at least once: SS Chris Johnson, DB Nick Floyd, OL Ezek Suivaaia & LB Austin Whalen.

• DU, which is 20-14 in NEC play over the past five seasons (5-3 in 2010, 7-1 in 2011, 3-5 in 2012 & 4-2 in 2013, 1-3 in 2014), won a share of the conference title for the second time in three years in 2013. 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 NEC team - both home and away - under current head coach Jerry Schmitt. On Oct. 11, the Dukes defeated CCSU at Arute Field for the first time under Schmitt.

Dillon Buechel completed 58.2 percent of his passes for a freshman record 2,569 yards and 14 touchdowns (120.37 efficiency rating) in earning NEC Rookie of the Week honors three times last season. Buechel was the first freshman to open the season under center since Scott Knapp in 2005. Buechel replaced Sean Patterson, who started 33 consecutive games from 2010-12.

• Junior LB Christian Kuntz, who tied for the team lead in tackles (74) and led the Dukes in TFL (19.5) and sacks (9.0) in 2013, is doubtful for the 2014 season after suffering an off-the-field knee injury in the spring. Kuntz, a Sports Network Third Team All-American, ranked 1st nationally in tackles for loss per game at 1.8. First-year Purdue transfer Armstead Williams has taken over at outside linebacker in place of Kuntz.

• 315-pound junior tackle Zach 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 stops of his own (including 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks). In addition, Zidian - a second team All-NEC pick, showed a nose for the football with a team-high four fumble recoveries.

• Returning linebackers sophomore Aaron Reed (74 tackles) and junior Sam Martello (65 tackles) both started all 11 games last season.

• Senior safety Rich Piekarski, who finished third on the team with 70 tackles in 2013, led the team with two interceptions and seven passes broken up.

• Duquesne is 26-19 in non-conference games under head coach Jerry Schmitt with wins over Dayton (four times), Robert Morris (three times prior to joining the NEC), Monmouth (twice), Bucknell (twice), Fordham (twice) and Albany (once as a CAA member). At home, the Dukes are 17-2 in non-league play under Schmitt. DU played its most ambitious non-conference game in recent history when it traveled to Buffalo (Mid-American Conference) for the 2014 season opener. It was DU's first game against a FBS school.
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