Sunday, September 27, 2009
Date Posted: Saturday, September 26, 11:47:05pm
I wonder if three straight tough road games finally caught up with the Dukes today. It seemed to me as I watched from behind the bench that the boys just weren't in it mentally or physically.
After a 67 yard run by Larry McCoy on the opening play, which to be honest was created by a missed tackle on a simple dive play, the Dukes shot themselves in the foot, over and over again.
A blown coverage led to UD's first TD, a 58 yd pass that tied the score. This was on a second and 18 play!
Duquesne, on its best drive of the game, went 66 yards but had to settle for a field goal and led 10-7. The Dukes had a chance to stretch the lead near the half, but with a 4th and 1 at the 15 were called for a false start and then missed a 32 yard field goal.
In the third quarter, another blown coverage and TWO missed tackles resulted in a 62 yard TD putting Dayton up 14-10.
After a 29 yard punt, the Flyers started in good position and drove for a field goal. 17-10
A one yard run, a dropped pass, a QB sack and a 28 yard punt put Dayton in good position again. Steve Valentino, the aforementiond WR turned QB, began to chew up our defense on the ground with ease. The boys were tired and over pursued. A face mask penalty contributed to the Flyer drive, 24-10.
Friends, this was a TEAM loss. The offensive line play was poor, take away McCoys TD run and the backs ran for 68 yrds on 30 plays. Dixon looked shakey. He was hurried and hit on almost every pass play. He did throw some nice balls but just as many poor ones. Our recievers had some drops that would have kept drives alive, our special teams were terrible and the play calling.....very, very predictable. Our linebackers were outstanding as usual, Totino and Scruggs were the lone bright spots in my opinion. Our D-line was suckered into an over-pursuit all day long and our DBs were torched.
As most of you know, I try to be optimistic, but this one was tough to watch. I'm hoping that it was simply a case of too much travel in too few days.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
That comment from the booth summed up the Duquesne effort for the second week in a row. For Duquesne fans, it is almost easier to witness a blowout defeat than see their team again give away a close one they should have won.
If John Madden were to draw up a game plan for Duquesne to win their NEC opening game against the Monmouth Hawks he would include the following:
1. Keep Monmouth’s Davis Sinisi from grinding down the defense as he did last year. Check- Sinisi got his yards, but was held to 44 yards on 16 carries in the second half.
2. Get the ball to game-breaker Dave Williams. Check- Williams had 9 catches for 92 yards.
3. Run the ball well to set up the passing game. Check- Cleo Williams was the second Duke in as many games to top 100 yards rushing (109 yards on 23 carries).
4. Move the ball through the air. Check- Kevin Rombach threw for over 250 yards (22 of 36 for 252 yards and a touchdown).
Add to it- Duquesne had 23 first downs to the Hawk’s 12 and out-gained them by more than 100 yards (387-278). The defense constantly got the ball back to the offense and gave the Hawks only one legitimate touchdown drive. The rest of Monmouth points were scored without the Hawks gaining a single first down.
So… What happened?
Fumbles, interceptions, shanked punts, mental mistakes, poor use of the clock, and dropped passes by the Dukes kept them from taking over the game in the Northeast Conference opener against Monmouth. The Dukes continued their sloppy play to give away a game for the second week in a row. Breaks and turnovers are part of any game, but they are particularly hurtful to the Dukes who haven’t found a way to dictate their will to win.
The Duquesne defense proved again that they are much improved over last year but the offense and special teams were just too generous to the Monmouth Hawks. The Dukes seemed capable, but inept at the little things it takes to win. For example, running third down routs short of the sticks.
Dave Williams fumbled twice and two critical interceptions (one ran back for a touchdown) from Kevin Rombach proved too much for the Dukes to overcome. Williams also dropped a wide-open fly pattern toss from Rombach in the third quarter.
The Dukes had three legitimate drives that could have led to scores at the end of the game.
On the third to last drive, Duquesne stalled when they couldn’t even throw the ball away correctly. Kevin Rombach was flagged for intentional grounding and loss of down for not throwing the ball past the line of scrimmage.
The Dukes second to last drive almost reached the red zone before Rombach threw an interception.
The Dukes last drive reached the14 yard-line with under a minute and no time outs. They ran a draw that took too much time off the clock before the last potential pass to tie the game went through the end zone.
The Dukes could easily be 3-0 this season. Instead, they are 1-3 and wondering what they have to do to win after outplaying their opponents.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
First, the good…
The Duke’s defense showed it could more than hold its own against a more established scholarship program on its own turf. The Nichols State Colonels brought a pair of bruising hard runners that the Duke’s D stood up to. The defense refused to give in as last year’s edition repeatedly did. Amid a question of just who is the Duquesne defensive coordinator, the defense actually got stronger as the game went on, not giving up a point over the final three quarters. Trey Hopson showed considerable power in the first TD drive but was held out of the end zone the rest of the game by a series of hard hits and determined stops.
Also good… Larry McCoy ran for 195 yards behind an offensive line that gradually took control of the game.
Also good… Dave Williams continued to show that he is a real impact player by tying the score late in the forth quarter.
And… The Dukes out-gained the Colonels by over total 100 yards (341-218) and had 22 first downs to Nichols State’s 8. Duquesne had almost ten more minutes with the ball as well (34:08 to 25:52).
Now the bad…
Duquesne’s passing game was non-existent except for one play late in the game. There is just too much talent and depth both throwing and catching the ball for this to have occurred. With Conner Dixon, Kevin Rombach and even Sean Patterson available to throw the ball to a stable of excellent receivers, there is no reason not to find a way to burn a young defense that got lit op for 72 points the week before.
The Dukes were 0-2 inside the Red Zone with a fumble and a blocked kick.
Finally, the ugly…
If the defense was good, the offense bad, the special teams were ugly.
A four-yard punt set up Nicols State’s only drive for a score.
Duquesne blew an opportunity to tie the game when it’s first down from the 16 ended with a blocked field goal. The defense didn’t even have to jump to block the attempt. The kick may have even hit off the back of the Duquesne players.
The winning score came on a complete breakdown in covering a fake punt. As Duquesne was in the process of taking over the game the Colonels ran a fake punt the resulted in their other score that was aided by a failure in special teams play. Duquesne had just driven 83 yards to tie the score when Earvin Moore took the snap and ran 63 yards unmolested to put Nichlos State up for good.
Duquesne’s next drive was fumbled away once into Nichols State territory.
Duquesne had 8 penalties for 133 yards fumbled 4 times- losing 2 and threw 1 interception and completed only 9 of 25 passes and was sacked 9 times losing 58 yards.
One last good and bad for the Duke’s… Next week’s game vs. Monmouth will be televised on Fox Sports Pittsburgh, but shown a day later on tape delay.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Kevin Rombach was red hot to start the game going 7-10 for 110 yards and a touchdown to Michael Rasky in the first quarter before going out with a concussion. Conner Dixon, still recovering from shoulder surgery found his rhythm mid-way through the second quarter with fellow Michigan State teammate and transfer Dave Williams among others.
Gateway grad Williams helped show that the Dukes could reload their receiver corps after considerable loses due to graduation. He was in step with both Rombach and Dixon all night catching 11 passes for 145 yards in his first game as a Duke. His third quarter touchdown reception held the crowd in brief, but deep suspense before the referee ruled it a score rather than a fumble into the end zone. Williams was lunging for the goal line when the ball came out just after he crossed. Akeem More, Jay Spinks, Williams and Rasky all looked good and should provide Rombach and Dixon with plenty of targets. Brian Layhue took over again for All Conference Sean Bunevich showing the Dukes depth at tight end as well.
The offensive line also showed a consistent and steady effort as well, opening up holes for a herd of young backs that kept the press box guessing just who would spring out of the backfield next. Feature back Cleo Williams looks to share the load with both Mars alum Bill Bair and Spring Game star Larry McCoy. Bair scored the Dukes second touchdown on a neat 32 yard run at 1:52 of the second quarter.
New kicker, Eric “Mule” Duale showed good hang time on kickoffs and seems able to take over for Mark Troyan kicking a 19 yard field goal, but narrowly missing a 23 yard attempt that could have proved the undoing of last year’s team. On Bucknell’s first play after taking over, QB CJ Hopson took it deep into Duquesne territory before the Bison turned the momentum back to the Dukes with a turnover.
Bucknell slowed the game down after both teams came out in a no huddle offense, scoring just before the half with Marcello Trigg barely getting the TD call after un-stacking the pile on Bucknell’s third attempt from inside the three.
The Dukes displayed depth defense too with a great new addition- freshman Horvin Latimer. Lehigh valley product Latimer intercepted when Bucknell tried to go on 4th and 10 from the Duquesne 32 in the third quarter. Linebacker Anthony Rhodes had 12 tackles. Nathan Totino’s knee was tested severely in 4th but held up well as he had to run with the Bucknell receivers as they desperately tried to come back.
The game ended with Duquesne gradually bending but taking time off the clock. The Bison scored late on a 4th and goal from the 5 with 1:01 left in game. Duquesne intercepted the 2-point conversion attempt. Mike Raskey recovered the following onside kick but got hurt going high in air to pull it down.
The stands were pretty much full on a beautiful opening evening as the Dukes got revenge from last year and their first win since 2002 vs. the Bison.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
OnTheBluff.com Football Analyst
Duquesne's recent football tradition has been both a blessing and a curse. Winning the now defunct MAAC Conference title so often made it a disappointing season if the team only tied for first place. The previous fourteen winning seasons in a row made last year's 3-7 season look like a gigantic failure no matter how long the NEC competition had been offering scholarships prior to Duquesne's first scholarship player since 1950. The Dukes made a habit of playing very well against one or two higher rated 1-AA teams and then mopping up on the likes of St. Peters and La Salle.
Now that the Dukes play a challenging schedule from beginning to end, they have discovered just how tiring a season can be. The Dukes have always managed to recruit a decent crop of skilled players, however, they have to discover that size and endurance matters too. Given the two year head start the rest of the NEC had in offering scholarships, we may have to be willing to concede that last season may have been the exception to the high standard and may not spell doom for the future of Duquesne Football. The silver lining to last year's disappointing season may be that we now have re-adjust expectations from the start for this young team. After the string of 14 winning seasons was ended, a winning season of any kind would actually look like dramatic progress.
According to most forecasts, finishing better than fifth in the NEC may actually exceed most expectations. The Sports Network picks the Dukes to finish 7th and the NEC Coach's Poll picks them to finish 6th.
Coach Jerry Schmitt, back for his fifth season is proud of his team's progress. "I think we got better as the year went on," said Schmitt. "Our defense was young last year and will mature."
Actually, Duquesne's best performances on the field occurred in the first half of the season if you consider the second half at Bucknell, the home win against Dayton and the near upset of Albany. The early St. Francis win and later win at Wagner were not all that impressive considering the opposition. The second half collapse at Robert Morris seemed to destroy any confidence to be contenders.
The expectations that matter most may actually come from the players on the field. The Dukes came closer than any other NEC to upsetting Albany. These players beat Dayton, yet lost to cross town rivals Robert Morris after blowing a lead. Last season's Bucknell game best showed the roller coaster Dukes to be susceptible of lacking the consistent attitude and confidence it takes to win. To win, they really do have to "believe".
Albany, incidentally just announced a 2011 game against Big East member Cincinnati. This may put the first Pitt-Duquesne game since 1939 within the realm of at least a remote possibility some day.
The Dukes open the 2009 Season this Saturday, Sept. 5 at home to Bucknell at 6:00 at Rooney Field. The game is broadcast on WMNY am 1360 and streaming on Redzone Media. Bucknell defeated Duquesne 48-42 when the two teams met last season.
What was the first collegiate team on record to play Duquesne? (Duquesne was known back then as Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost)
“For all the Marbles” in the Steel City
The Pittsburgh Coaching Legends Trophy will not be the first award offered to recognize the winner of local college football contests. In December of 1936, The Pittsburgh City Council authorized Mayor Cornelius D. Scully to award a Championship Cup not to exceed $2000 in cost to Duquesne as the top collegiate football program in the city that year. That year, the Dukes went on to win the Orange Bowl in Miami as well. The cup was presented each year until one of the three universities could win it three consecutive years, claiming permanent ownership of the cup. It would be interesting to know if either trophy still exists in a dusty trophy case somewhere on the campuses of Pitt, Duquesne, or CMU.
Pitt and Carnegie Tech had a still earlier similar cup awarded by the city until Pitt was able to win three years in a row, claiming ownership. Technically, Pitt and Carnegie Mellon could still play for the Layden Cup but it is unlikely in the near future given the differences in their assigned collegiate NCAA Divisions. At present, Duquesne and Robert Morris are the only two teams likely to play for the Cup although Pitt does usually play an FCS opponent each year.
I would like to offer the cup to the Heinz History Center’s Sports Museum to house and perhaps set up a small display recording all of the times the local teams went head to head against each other.
The Layden Cup
The games began with the first in 1901 between Duquesne (then the Pittsburg College of the Holy Ghost)and Pitt (then known as the Western University of Pennsylvania). Between Pitt (29 wins), CMU [originally Carnegie Tech] (18 wins), Duquesne (15 wins) and RMU (5 wins), I need 29 gold marbles, 18 red marbles, 15 or more blue marbles and 5 or more white marbles along with 2 clear marbles to represent the two ties. Overall there have been 69 games played in head to head Steel City College Football. This year's game allows either Duquesne or RMU to add the 70th marble.
One problem- I need help to find these marbles and my wife will shoot me if I spend any more on the trophy. Is anybody able to help? There will soon be a picture of the cup here on this blog when the face plate is added. There already are some articles from the past below as the idea of a Steel City Challenge Cup developed.
Alternate colors to represent the teams could be Pitt (gold), Duquesne (red), CMU (white) and RMU (blue).
The Elmer Layden Cup Steel City Collegiate Football Challenge Cup
Elmer Layden was the first Duquesne coach to play both Pitt and Carnegie Tech (Later Carnegie-Mellon). Layden had been one of Grantland' Rice's famed Four Horsemen of Notre Dame and later went on to become the NFL's first commissioner. The Dukes would win their first New Years Day game under Layden, the 1934 Festival of Palms Bowl. The bowl was re-named the Orange Bowl the following year. Duquesne would win the Orange Bowl again later that decade.
Past winners of head to head Pittsburgh Rivalry games are listed below.
1901- Pitt over Duquesne 18-0
1903- Duquesne over Pitt 10-6
1910- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 35-0
1923- Carnegie Tech over Pitt 7-2
1924- Carnegie Tech over Pitt 6-0
1925- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 12-0
1931- Duquesne tied Carnegie Tech 0-0
1932- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 6-0
Pitt over Duquesne 33-0
1933- Pitt over Duquesne 7-0
1934- Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 3-0
1935- Duquesne over Carnegie Tech, 7-0
1936- Duquesne over Pitt 7-0
Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 13-0
1937- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 25-14
Pitt over Duquesne 6-0
Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 6-0
1938- Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 21-0
Pitt over Duquesne 27-0
1939- Duquesne over Pitt 21-13 (Last Pitt-Duquesne)
Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 22-7
1940- Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 14-7
Pitt over Carnegie Tech, 6-0
1941- Pitt over Carnegie Tech, 27-0 (Last Pitt-Carnegie Tech)
1980- CMU over Duquesne 39-7
1981- Duquesne over CMU 27-10
1982- CMU over Duquesne 19-0
1983- CMU over Duquesne 14-11
1984- CMU over Duquesne 20-14
1985- CMU over Duquesne 31-10
1986- CMU over Duquesne 33-22
1987- CMU over Duquesne 17-13
1988- CMU over Duquesne 24-14
1989- Duquesne over CMU 11-10
1990- CMU over Duquesne 31-8
1991- CMU over Duquesne 28-14
1994- Robert Morris over Duquesne 28-6
1995- Robert Morris over Duquesne 38-20
1996- Robert Morris over Duquesne 28-26 (ECAC Bowl)
1998- Duquesne over Robert Morris 24-22
2003- Duquesne over Robert Morris 33-28
2004- Robert Morris over Duquesne 34-14
2005- Duquesne over Robert Morris 23-12
2006- Duquesne over Robert Morris 27-7
2007- Duquesne over Robert Morris 17-14
2008- Robert Morris over Duquesne 34-27
2009- Duquesne over Robert Morris 34-20
STEEL CITY FOOTBALL RIVALRIES
It was in 1901 that that Pitt, then known as Western University of PA, would win the first recorded contest between Steel City teams with a 18-0 win over Duquesne. Duquesne was known at the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost until 1911. Duquesne or PCC/HG returned the favor in 1903, beating Pitt 10-6. In 1906 Pitt beat up on Carnegie Tech 35-0. Tech got revenge in the next game, but had to wait 17 years in 1923 by a score of 7-2. Duquesne’s teams reached prominence under coach and former Notre Dame Four Horseman, Elmer Layden. One of their standout early players was Steeler founder and namesake of Rooney Field, Art Rooney Sr.. Art Sr. was their quarterback and place kicker in the 1920’s. It took Duquesne’s 41st year after starting a program to play in an inter-city game with Carnegie Tech, drawing 0-0 in a charity game in 1931.
The Pittsburgh college football rivalries took off BIG TIME after that. All three teams, Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie Tech, were ranked often in the first national college football rankings put out by the Associated Press.
As the teams became better, the rivalries became bitter. All three teams played nationally known opponents including Notre Dame and the then powerful service academies. But they often faced more determined battles in their own back yards. Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie-Tech all played in New Year’s Day Bowls, but National Championships were up for grabs when they met during their regular season. Back then only the very top teams played in the Rose, Orange (First known as the Festival of Palms Bowl) and Cotton Bowls. There were no Outback Bowls or the dozens of other modern bowls that cheapen the achievement today.
The college game and its rivalries actually dominated local sports to a point where the same Art Rooney had to take the Steelers on the road to places like Johnstown, Louisville, and New Orleans to sell tickets.
Unfortunately the rivalry between Pitt and Duquesne ended in 1939 with a Pitt loss to the Dukes. Pitt was ranked #1 in the nation by the AP going into the game. The Dukes went on to an undefeated season that year and finished in the AP Top Ten and #1 in the Massey Ratings (See article below). The last game of the great city rivalry came in 1943 when Pitt also ended their series with Carnegie Tech, beating the Tartans handily 45-6. By then, Duquesne had folded its team for World War II and only briefly tried again after the war. Pitt’s rivalries then turned to Penn State and today’s Backyard Brawl with West Virginia.
The Pittsburgh collegiate rivalry lay dormant for decades until Duquesne’s club football team stepped up to Division III and re-ignited their rivalry with the Tartans of Carnegie Mellon. CMU and Duquesne played spirited games from 1980 to 1991 at times even at Three Rivers Stadium. When Duquesne stepped up again to 1-AA, the Steel City Rivalries ended again.
It didn’t end for long. A new collegiate team would be founded a century after Pitt and Duquesne began theirs in Pittsburgh. Robert Morris started from scratch under the direction of former NFL head coach Joe Walton. Duquesne’s series with the Colonials began in 1994 with the Dukes holding a slight edge 5-4. Both teams were consistently ranked at or near the top of non-scholarship 1-AA football. Now, both teams are stepping up in talent when the NEC member Robert Morris began offering scholarships three years ago. Duquesne offered its first scholarship since 1950 when it joined the Northeast Conference this year.
And so, with both teams now in the same conference and stepping up in competition, the Steel City Football Rivalry is on again.
MAJOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL 1941: THE DUKES WERE # 1 !
More About Duquesne and Major College Football Rankings
Many recognized collegiate football ranking systems begin declaring national champions dating back to 1869 when Princeton was declared national champion by most systems. Controversy exists even in that year’s selection of the nation’s best by some systems rating Rutgers at the top. Back then there were no polls taken by sports writers such as the AP Top 25 or the USA Today Poll or the now defunct UPI Coaches Poll.
The most familiar and accepted current system, The Associated Press only released their first collegiate football ranking in 1934. No AP Poll was released in 1935 but they have been releasing continuous rankings since 1936. The only inconsistency with the AP Poll since 1936 relates to the years when they would not issue a final yearly ranking after the college bowl games.
College football teams from 1869 to the present are ranked very accurately and without regional prejudices by statistically based systems such as the Sagarin, Massey, Sorrenson, RPI, Dunkle and other computer models. Most of these commonly accepted and statistically sound models are fairly consistent since they all basically look at a teams record against their strength of schedule. Their formulas as to how to factor in data from when in the year a team lost or home field advantage do rate teams differently.
Thus, even when bias from a sports writer, coach, or fan is not considered, there is seldom a year when all agree as to who is the nation’s best college football team. Even then, who is to say the fans, coaches and writers shouldn’t have a say over cold computer calculations.
The current BCS System makes an effort to achieve some consensus by relying on both polling data and computer ranking systems. Obviously, even the BCS Series Rankings has never made all of the people happy all of the time.
This debate and controversy over whose team is the best is really part of what being a college football fan is all about.
Duquesne’s National Major Football Championship
All this being said, there was a time and respected system that has declared the Duquesne Dukes the National Champion. That honor belongs to the undefeated and untied 1941 edition of the Duquesne Dukes. This rating is no fluke. The ’41 Dukes gave up only 21 points all season and were led the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense. No major college team since has given up fewer points.
Only Duquesne, Minnesota and Duke finished the 1941 season undefeated and untied among major programs. Admittedly, Minnesota has been recognized by most ranking systems, including the AP as being the # 1 team in the nation that year. However the Massey Rating System has looked at the data and declares Duquesne to be the #1 team in the nation that year. Duquesne was considered to play in the Cotton Bowl that year. Had they been selected and gone on to beat Texas A & M they would have had a good claim over Minnesota.
The Massey System.
The first questions that most would ask are what is the Massey system and is it legitimate? It is legitimate to the point that the current BCS Series currently uses it to determine which teams are selected to play in the BCS Bowls and for the National Championship. The Massey Ratings may be the most scientific and full-featured system available.
Kenneth Massey has been doing these ratings since 1995 and offers previous ratings back to 1930 based upon available data. Massey’s system takes no short cuts. For example, most ratings give a standard home field advantage factor of about 4 points to all home teams. Massey makes the home field advantage factor more precise by analyzing each team’s performance at home vs. away and neutral site games to determine a more accurate facet in rating teams. In other words, winning at home doesn’t and shouldn’t have the same degree of advantage for all teams rated.
The Massey Ratings are also thought to be considerably accurate when considering strength of schedule. This is no easy task when considering the college football world of 1941 when the best in the country often still played considerably lesser-developed programs.
National Major College Football Classifications and Ratings
Duquesne’s first team was fielded in 1891. As most other college teams of the era, the original Dukes’ opponents were not necessarily from other colleges. They included athletic clubs and even high school teams. Nor were there restrictions that all team members had to be current or former students. This began to change as the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), was established on March 31, 1906 to set rules for college athletics. The IAAUS became the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1910.
Prior to 1937, ranking colleges was difficult since programs varied widely as to the class of opponents each school would play. Going undefeated against a schedule that included Notre Dame, Penn State and Michigan was obviously more impressive than one that included lesser opponents. With the advent of Bowl selections, the college football had to start separating the apples from the oranges.
In 1937 the NCAA began issuing a system that divided its collegiate football programs into Divisions and placed restrictions on how often teams from each division could play each other. In 1937, the top division was the “University” or “Major College” Division. In 1973, The NCAA restructured its classifications to rename the major programs “Division I”. Division I was subdivided into “I-A” and “1-AA” in 1978. Currently, Duquesne plays in Division I-AA or as the NCAA now officially calls it the “Championship” Subdivision of Division I vs. the “Bowl” Subdivision. Other current NCAA Divisions are II and III. The NAIA and the NCCAA govern smaller college athletic programs.
Massey considered all 119 NCAA Major College football programs when he ranked Duquesne # 1 in 1941. (See link at- http://www.masseyratings.com/cf/years.txt )
Duquesne’s Past Collegiate Classifications
Until the NCAA began to define the caliber of competition, Duquesne was considered an “Independent” collegiate football team along with all other college teams. When the University or Major Division was established in 1937, Duquesne was among this group of just over 100 other colleges and universities. Massey’s 1941 rating considered 119 Major Division teams when it selected Duquesne # 1 in the nation.
Unfortunately, just as Duquesne Football was reaching its highest potential nationally, the team was cut by the University due to the Second World War. Both the AP and Massey had ranked Duquesne teams throughout the 30’s and 40’s prior to the war. Massey ranks the 1933 Dukes at #8 and the 1936 Dukes # 2 in the nation. The AP ranks them at # 14 and # 8 respectively.
Duquesne briefly tried to re-establish the team after the war as a Major Division program, but gave up after the 1950 season. Students and volunteers would start Duquesne’s next team as a club.
Duquesne’s Other National Collegiate Football Championships
When Duquesne re-started its football program in 1969 as a club team, it was sanctioned by the now defunct NCFA. Duquesne was recognized as the National Club Champions in 1973 when they went 10 – 0 under coach Dan McCann and defeated Mattatuck 13-7 in the National Championship game played Three Rivers Stadium.
In 1979, the University again took over sponsorship of the program as an NCAA Division III program. Interestingly, Division III would be the only classification where Duquesne Football could not claim a national championship rating or ranking.
The program would be “upgraded” again in 1993 when it would move to the NCAA Division I-AA. However, the move to I-AA did not necessarily mean that the Dukes would be able to compete on even terms with most other I-AA programs since they would join an odd group of schools who were considered I-AA, but would not be allowed to award scholarships and would have severe limitations on the amount of money they could spend on travel or coaching staffs. This “cost containment” approach to keeping the university at the NCAA Division I for the rest of the school’s athletic programs would evolve into a strange subdivision within the I-AA subdivision known at the “Mid-Majors”.
The Sports Network (TSN) and Don Hansen’s Weekly Football Gazette both developed a bit of love for this odd group of so-called major programs who would not or could not commit the resources to compete with the other major programs of Division I-A and I-AA. Generally, there were about 30 college programs that would either play as independents or populate the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Northeast Conference and the Pioneer Conference. All three were officially recognized by the NCAA as belonging to the I-AA Division, but were not given automatic berths to the I-AA Playoffs.
Duquesne would come as close as any of the Mid-Majors to competing with their better-funded I-AA brothers. Greg Gatuso’s squad often played scholarship programs and often won. Not only were these Duquesne team often ranked # 1 by the TSN and Hansen Polls, but were often ranked in the regular I-AA polls. Their highest ranking in the National I-AA Coaches Poll was # 14 before losing their only game of the 2002 season to Albany in the ECAC Classic. Both the TSN and Hansen rankings would select the Dukes the following years as the # 1 Mid-Major National Champions in 2003 when they beat Monmouth to win that year’s ECAC Classic.
Now the “Mid-Majors” are no more. Duquesne and most of the other Mid-Majors have either begun to offer scholarships or have folded.
The Dukes have laid at least partial claim to National Football Championships from the Club level to the I-AA Mid-Majors to, according to the Massey Ratings, the Major College level. What does the future hold for the Dukes at the regular I-AA level now that they have begun to award scholarships? The NEC, the Duke’s new conference will be eligible for a bid to the Division I-AA National Championship beginning in 2010.
The 1941 Massey Ratings
1941 Teams Rated: 119
Team W L T PF PA Off Def Sched Rating Dom
1 Duquesne 8 0 0 17.88 2.62 4 2 44 33.84 0.736
2 Minnesota 8 0 0 23.25 4.75 5 4 41 29.26 0.609
3 Mississippi St 8 1 1 19.10 5.50 28 1 4 26.63 0.530
4 Notre Dame 8 0 1 21.00 7.11 6 11 49 26.20 0.517
5 Alabama 9 2 0 23.91 7.73 8 8 5 26.09 0.514
6 Georgia 9 1 1 29.00 7.73 3 26 28 23.63 0.440
7 Texas 8 1 1 33.80 5.50 1 36 38 23.50 0.436
8 Oregon St 8 2 0 14.30 4.90 23 3 30 23.21 0.427
9 Michigan 6 1 1 18.38 5.12 17 6 22 22.32 0.401
10 Navy 7 1 1 21.33 3.78 16 7 34 21.97 0.390
Filling In Duquesne's Football Tradition: The Real Record
For example, how many times did Duquesne play Pitt on the football field and what was their record? Duquesne's media guide lists the record at 2-4 with the recognized games being in the 1930's when Duquesne and Pitt were both nationally ranked powers.
Pitt's football records are a bit more complete and show that the first Pitt-Duquesne game turned out to be an 18-0 Pitt victory over the Dukes in 1901. However, the Panthers don't recognize a loss to Duquesne in 1903 by a score of 10-6.
Part of the reason for the confusion could be that Pitt, at the time of both earlier games was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania and Duquesne was officially known as the Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost.
Instead of Duquesne's Media Guide record of 2-4 and Pitt's version of 2-5, the actual record is 3-5. This record is now verified by the College Football Data Warehouse.
By cross checking available records from Pitt, West Virginia, Washington and Jefferson, I.U.P., Thiel, Westminster, St. Francis, Geneva, University of Buffalo, Bethany, California University of PA and others, Duquesne's documantable all time record should stand at 395 wins, 287 losses and 25 ties.
Duquesne's Media guide does not include a proud 1891-1901, first decade record of 33-17-5 in its all time record. It does, however, now list Duquesne's first documented collegiate game, a 1893 loss to Washington and Jefferson by a score of 22-19.
It would be a great recognition of a proud football tradition to claim our 400th win if it occurs this year!
TEN REASONS TO ADD MORE SEATS TO ROONEY
2. Scheduling- It will be very hard to attract quality out-of-conference opponents to Rooney Field. Even the soccer teams that come in think the field looks “quaint” to be polite.
3. Attendance- I’ve brought along friends to see a game at Rooney and it really doesn’t feel like a real college game atmosphere. They enjoyed the game, but would be more likely to come back if there was more atmosphere.
4. Crowd Noise/Emotion- Emotion feeds emotion. It is extremely difficult to get a crowd into the game with so few rows behind you.
5. Home Field Advantage- This crowd noise obviously help the home team.
6. Financial Benefit- It would be easier to charge admission to build a revenue base. Football needs to be a moneymaker for the rest of the department (or at least support itself) as it does for many other colleges. Too many fans, particularly from the opponent’s side of the field are just walking up without paying. A better field will also attract more paying customers and also could be a chance for student groups to set up booths as they do at other universities.
7. Press Coverage- If given a choice between covering a game at other college with a lower or same classification, but a better field facility, we are not competitive. TV highlights from games at Rooney look small time.
8. Hosting Games- Central Catholic actually decided to hold its games elsewhere due to the lack of seating capacity. This is a good school to keep associated with.
9. Academic Excellence- Who knows how many students come on campus to consider Duquesne when Central Catholic plays here or when they take a campus tour or if they come to see a Dukes game and get the feel of a real college game? The students we want to attend Duquesne are those with school spirit who want to picture themselves as being part of something fun and exciting. Rooney’s size does not paint this picture.
10. School Pride- This field just looks small time in comparison to other local fields such as Walton Stadium.
09/04 DUKES 17-BUCKNELL 13
09/11 DUKES 35-DAYTON 31
09/18 Delaware 30-Dukes 6
09/25 DUKES 28-ALBANY 17
10/02 MONMOUTH 1:00
10/09 CCSU 31-Dukes 29
10/16 Dukes 37-SACRED HEART 17
10/23 Dukes 21-Wagner 20
10/30 Robert Morris 34-Dukes 11
11/13 Dukes 41-ST FRANCIS 17
11/20 Dukes 37-Bryant 29
Duquesne University Fight Song-Rev. Thomas Quigley 1926
We'll sing hooray for the Red and Blue,
A big hooray for the Red and Blue;
For the flag we love on to victory,
And when the foe is down,
we will raise a mighty shout
And sing hooray for the Red and Blue;
We're all your sons and daughters true.
Now with all your might, give them
for the grand old Red and Blue.
DUQUESNE DUKES ALL-TIME FOOTBALL RECORD (1891-2011)*
Winning %- .574
~DUQUESNE GLORY/GORY YEARS~
2018 DUQUESNE DUKES SCHEDULE Duquesne plays two BCS teams next year, opening at UMass in Amherst on Saurday, Aug 25 and then later trav...
Subject: Back from Dayton Author: Shaler Tom Date Posted: Saturday, September 26, 11:47:05pm I wonder if three straight tough road game...
Subject: Lehigh Valley and REAL Tailgating? Author: Marquis [Edit] ------------------------------------------------------------------...
Written by Robert Edward Healy, III, media professor at Duquesne (football, 2001-04): Saturday is less than a week away. But, for some of...
It's time to do our part... The La Salle game was absolutely one of the best games I've ever seen at the Palumbo. I saw a lo...
Subject: Duquesne Hockey starts out at 7-2 Author:Doug Date Posted: Sunday, November 16, 02:54:41pm Sept.26 California University of PA Aw...
I'll never forget the disappointment I felt the day I went back on campus to see the renovated Rooney Field and saw them it seated eve...
The Duquesne Dukes showed that this year's team could suck it up when it counts by combining the best of those returning with a pro...
Duquesne's game at Saint Francis is listed as part of the 2011 NEC Football TV Schedule. TheDukes and Red Flash are to meet under the l...
The 2010 Edition of the Duquesne Dukes was just added as an Honorable Mention to the All-Time Best List for the Duquesne Dukes Football Tea...