Friday, December 24, 2010
The Basketball Forum has been open for 10 years and has had over a million visits. I can understand the reasons for the move, mainly the limitations of the Voy site over what can be done by the Scout Hosting or Rivals. These sites take an immense amount of time and commitment to keep up and I respect and admire all those true Duquesne fans involved.
The Voy Duquesne Football Forum and this Blog will remain open as is unless I can figure a way to combine the two on one site.
I wish the new venture much success in the New Year and beyond but will, like many, miss the old board.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Having a couple of days off over the holiday gave me a bit of time to reflect. Running the forum and the blog is really a labor of love. Learning about Duquesne's traditions and passing them on is something I enjoy doing (One of my degrees is an MA in history from Duquesne).
I enjoy going back through the old newspaper archieves to see just how history repeats itself. I read an old PG article about Duke's from the 1930's that observed how absurd it seemed in the 20's to think that Pitt and Duquesne would ever play each other. Not only did the Dukes play Pitt, they beat them twice in the 30's; once when Pitt was ranked #1 in the Nation before Pitt ended the series. I always wonder where the program would be today had not WW II forced the university to gut the entire athletic department when it was the best in the nation (See Massey Rankings- The Dukes were #1, below).
The same thing occurred even earlier than that at the beginning of the 20th Century when the the team from the Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost (Duquesne) beat the 1903 team from the Western University of Pennsylvania (Pitt) after losing their first game in 1901. That team was also cut during the First World War. I even found a PG 12/27/1891 mentioning a game between the two schools coming up on New Year's Day but I haven't tracked down who won.
Now that Duquesne can officially compete for the FCS Championship, I had to look back at past "post seasons". Most know that Duquesne won the Orange Bowl twice (once when it was called the Festival of Palms Bowl). Most don't know that Duquesne actually turned down other major and minor bowl bids including the Cotton Bowl, Sun Bowl and even one from a bowl that apparently never got off the ground called the Olympic Bowl in LA.
I get a real sense of accomplishment to research to keep records up to date. I'm not sure how many really knows or cares if Duquesne now has over 400 recorded wins all time. I used to wonder if anybody cared that the media guide still lists the West Virginia 1897 as the first collegiate game when W & J and other sources list their 1893 game a full 4 years earlier. The pre-1903 record is now largely documented and should be recorded in the university's media guide.
The Forum and Blog put me in touch with others who think the current program and its history are important. The blog and forum now are measured in the thousands of hits every month rather than the handful it started out with.
Duquesne's program, over time has been re-born many times. Each time starting out as a small time affair and at one time was even ranked by some sources as the best in the nation. Remember when even scheduling Bucknell was an accomplishment?
I wonder where we will be in another decade or so?
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Duquesne ended those strings by beating the Bulldogs 37-29 in a game that will go a long way to establish a positive feeling through the off season. It was an odd game where Bryant managed to run 25 more plays from scrimmage than did the Dukes but still managed to gain only 24 more yards.
Larry McCoy again the combination of strength, vision and speed to gain 160 yards to end the season with 1,291, good for 6th highest in recorded team history. The receivers dropped a number of passes on a cold New England day, but came through when it counted.
Many Duquesne seniors closed out their careers with performances that showed how much they will be missed. Dave Williams finished the day with his 5th hundred yard game of the year. Conner Dixon brought in one for the season highlight reel with a fully extended one handed catch. Nathan Totino added 7 stops to his career total of 369, good for 4th all time. Sean Bunevich pulled in a couple passes including a beautiful 27 yard TD. Fortunately, the Dukes are deep at the linebacker and receiving corps and will have their entire offensive and defensive lines back.
Also back next year is sophomore Eric Duale who broke the single season recorded field goal record by converting all three attempts to end at 14 for the season. This was perhaps the season’s biggest pleasant surprise. Eric converted 14 of 18 field goal attempts and all but one of his 32 extra point attempts. Sean Patterson finished his day with 258 yard in total offense. Everybody knew he could pass (197 yards and 2 TD yesterday), most knew he could run (66 yards and 1 TD yesterday) but who knew he could catch? (26 yards and another TD from Bill Bair).
Duquesne pressured Bryant QB Mike Croce as the Bulldogs tried to climb back into the game with three sacks from Alex Inda, Zach Richert and Ashton Burno. Garret Heron and Devin Duggan had 9 tackles each, Inda finished with 8 and Totino, 7. Diante Wade and Chris Oliver forced two key fumbles to take the early momentum.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The Dukes will try to be the first Pennsylvania NEC team to beat the Bulldogs since they started playing a conference schedule on 2008. Altogether Byant is 8-0 against Robert Morris (3-0), St. Francis (3-0) and the Dukes (2-0).
Bryant RB Jordan Brown is the NEC's leading rusher with 1311 yards including 138 in the Bulldogs win over Robert Morris. The Dukes have been good against the pass, not so good against a strong ground game.
Whatever the Dukes do today, the team is ensured of a winning season, something that they just had to have or changes may have been made. This game will really make the difference between an acceptable season and a good season by what our standards should realistically be. The winner today will finish alone in 3rd place in the NEC.
Jerry Schmitt did a number of things to bring in more experienced coaches to better develop his talent. It showed. He's been given and promised more support in the form of having more scholarships. His two biggest needs for next year- Stronger legs from his kickers and more strenght/weight on both OL and DL. Mike Passodelis is a great example of a kid who did all he could to develop himself into an FCS level player in his style of play and his off season conditioning program.
Most people don't realize that the Dukes still don't approach the NEC competition's scholarship limits allowed and probably never fully will.
Title 9 probably was what forced Duquesne to cut baseball, golf, wrestling and mens swimming to bring the football scholarships up and fund the basketball improvements. The administration really couldn't blame Title 9 without speaking out against women's sports. Philosophically, Title 9 supports women's athletics by forcing universities to fold men's programming. This is not equity, its a tragic and unfair sacrifice of the second tier men's programs. It takes away men's scholarships more than it adds to womens as Duquesne's experience shows.
A fairer way to address equity is to look at dollars and efforts spent trying to offer women's sports and not limiting scholarship slots. Swimming did a heroic job trying to raise money to keep their program going, but was still sacrificed due to scholarship limits.
Rooney's tiny seating area and its impression on recruits, fans and the press is the other major handicap that, unlike Title 9, can be fixed. I still have a dream (or is it a crazed vision) of Rooney being one of the most attractive small college stadiums in the nation with its view of the campus, Pittsburgh and the river valley and South Side. 5,500 seats can be done.
Prediction: The Dukes will pull out another game winning closing drive after giving Bryant a lead on the strength of their running game. Yes, I going with my heart again in a close game.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
It took a couple of quarters to get their offense in gear, but once they did the Duquesne’s Seniors closed their careers at Rooney Field by rolling up well over 500 yards on the St. Francis Red Flash to avenge last year’s 31-14 loss at Loretto. Seniors Conner Dixon and Dave Williams each had 5 catches for over 100 receiving yards and 2 touch downs each proved that they are probably the best pair of receivers the Dukes have had in a long time.
Sean Patterson threw for 278 yards and a career high 5 touchdowns and Larry McCoy added to his collection of 100 yard games before letting Ryan Ho mop up by adding another 46 yards to close out the game. Nathan Totino, as usual led the defense with 10 tackles and added an interception and return for 17 yards.
St. Francis started the game well by holding the Dukes to a three and out and then driving from their own 22 to have a first and goal at the Duquesne 8 yard line. Mike Passodelis dropped St. Francis running back Kyle Harbridge for a three yard loss and the defense held the Red Flash to a 28 yard field goal to put the visitors up 3-0. Harbridge proved to be St. Francis’ best weapon on the day by gaining 131 yards on only 16 attempts.
Duquesne quickly took the lead 7-3 on a 79 yard touchdown pass from Patterson to Dave Williams.
Just as quickly, Duquesne gave the lead back when Jared Williams couldn’t get out of the way of a 3 and out punt on St. Francis’ next possession. St. Francis took a 10-7 lead on a one play 2 yard "drive".
Conner Dixon took in a 44 yard touch down pass to put the Dukes back on top 14-10 before Kyle Harbridge ran 55 yards on a short field to push the Red Flash back up again 17-14.
That would be St. Francis last score as Duquesne ran the table for the next 27 points. The scores included a 2 yard run by Sean Patterson before he threw another touchdown passé to both Dave Williams and Conner Dixon and then a final touchdown pass to Akeem Moore.
Offense- Duquesne has a very talented offense. Duquesne was one of only two teams this season to run up over 300 yards on a brilliant Blue Hen defense. The offense is also inconsistent. They have a pattern of either sputtering as they did in the first half or flooring it as they did to finish it. Sean Patterson is a very talented quarterback. Sean Patterson is also a very inconsistent quarterback. He has shown to have the fire it takes to launch late game come-back drives but also seems to go into early and mid-game funks.
His receivers are also very talented and suffer from the same inconsistencies. The best illustration of this during the current season was a quick turnaround from goat to superman by Conner Dixon during the Delaware game. Conner short armed a pass that led to a tipped drive killing interception before he devastated the best team in the nation for the rest of the game. Delaware commentators asserted that Dixon had a pro career ahead. I hope that he does. He is a great talent and a great kid. He and the Duquesne offense has shown great potential and have helped lead assure the Dukes of a winning season this year. Next year Patterson and the Dukes that return need to work on being consistent.
The Duquesne running game has been the most pleasant surprise of the season. Larry McCoy is the best back the Dukes have fielded in quite some time and is now well over 1,000 yards. Bill Bair has run well and gives another receiving threat out of the backfield. Ryan Ho hits the hole quick and makes cuts that leave defenders looking pretty bad. He's been a real plus on kickoff returns. Unfortunately, the punt return game is a different story (see below).
Defense- I like Dave Opfar but I really don't know how to describe the Duke's defense. I've seen some flashes of brilliance and some real talent. How can you complain about Totino, Kona, Passodalis, Lattimer, Carter, etc.
Yet the stats show that we can do better particularly against the run. We give up 177 yards a game on the ground, 156 in the air for a total of 333.5 a game. We've been giving up too many points per game too- Dayton 31, Delaware 30, Monmouth 44, CCS 31 and RoMoCo 34.
Yes, Monmouth was a disaster all around and the defense did well in the opening game against the very inexperienced Bucknell team and against the Great Danes. They were ok against Wagner- 20. They had a good game vs. the Red Flash particularly since one of their drives had to go only 2 yards (I will not directly criticize a player here). They did give up over 150 to Harbridge and 220 total on the ground with only 48 passing.
Their biggest need is to bulk up on the line to stop the run or to put more guys in the box when the passing game is checked. Coaches can also help with defensive play calls with things such as run blitzes. Agreed- dumb mistakes do hurt, but that can be addressed by the coaching staff too.
Special Teams- I rarely target a college player for criticism so I’ll single out the special teams coaching staff for not teaching better and timely decision making on fielding punt returns. Duquesne set up a 2 yard, one play touchdown drive that gave St. Francis back the lead. Given past miscues, the special team’s coaching staff should have either trained the returner better or selected a returner with a better idea of when to try to field a punt and when to get away from it. Eric Duel has become a much more consistent kicker and can be excused for his only missed extra point of the season but kick offs and punting have been giving the opposition a short field all season.
Next Week: The Dukes close out the season on the road against Bryant in a battle for third place in the NEC. This may be a tough game for the Dukes since Bryant is now 6-0 at home having beat Robert Morris 27-21. The game begins at Noon on WMNY 1360 AM and on Redzone Media.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Last year's win by St. Francis (31-14) was their first since both teams moved to 1-AA/FCS.
It is important that the Dukes don't under-estimate this year's 1-8 St. Francis team either. Aside from beating the Dukes last year, their one win was a convincing one over Sacred Heart 41-0. Last week St, Francis played well on the road in California against nationally ranked Cal Poly before losing 41-33.
Duquesne Defensive Coordinator Dave Opfar should know the Red Flash well. He was their coach that led them to victory over the Dukes last year.
Larry McCoy provided a bright spot vs Robert Morris by going over 1,000 yards. His 1,030 is the most of any Duquesne back since since 2003.
Prediction: Duquesne puts it all together on Senior Day to win 31-13. Seniors Conner Dixon and Dave Williams go out in style.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Plain and simple, Robert Morris won this game in the trenches and by negating the talent position players from Duquesne. Larry McCoy was outgained by Miles Russ 154 to 81; the first in a while he was held under 100. McCoy still had a healthy per carry average of 4.5, but the Dukes just couldn’t keep drives long enough to get him enough carries. This led to Robert Morris possessing the ball over ten minutes more than the Dukes.
The Colonials plainly demonstrated that they deserve their RPI and Sagarin Ratings and could surprise the traditional conferences should they make it to the FCS Playoffs.
I’m far from able to cast the first stone and I know that we live in a culture that increasingly follows the maxim that “If you aren’t cheating you aren’t really trying”. This may also come off as sour grapes but honestly, the Colonials are good enough to have won yesterday without the help of a poorly hidden "scouting party".
However, this is a game where sportsmanship matters and where coaches need to teach more than just football. Unfortunately, I can’t really claim that no one with Duquesne connections would ever get caught doing something unethical.
Next week Robert Morris takes on Central Connecticut State who is also undefeated in the NEC to determine who will be the first conference team ever to make the FCS Playoffs. I wish RMU all the fortune in the world since they are a team from Pittsburgh and the Dukes are now out of the running. Their victory over the Dukes was unquestioned but the methods of some may be.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Well, here are the results of my studies this week...
Key #1: Against common opponents, Duquesne beat the only team to defeat the Colonials. This may not be the best key to the game since this was the first game of the year for Robert Morris and the second for the Dukes. Also, Robert Morris pulled out a 1 point victory over Monmouth, a team that beat the Dukes. Edge Even
Key #2: Since last year’s 34-20 loss to Duquesne, Robert Morris has won 11 of their last 12 games. Edge Colonials
Key #3: Home Field Advantage goes to Robert Morris with a 3-1 edge over the Dukes at Moon Township. However, the Dukes have split the two games at Joe Walton Stadium. Duquesne finally won its first road game last week over Wagner. Duquesne has won the past 5 at Rooney and 6 of the past 8 meetings overall. Home Field Edge Colonials, but History Edge goes slightly to the Dukes
Key #4: Both teams possess one of the best running backs in the FCS with Duquesne’s Larry McCoy and Ro Mo’s Myles Russ. Russ has gained 1,000 in each of the past two seasons and has another 806 so far this year. Larry McCoy rank 9th nationally with over 900 yards this year and a 118.6 per game average. Edge- Slight to the Dukes
Key #5: Like the other “Old Joe” (Paterno), Joe Walton seems to have rediscovered his touch after a couple of down years. After dominating the NEC in the early years, Joewa has his team on top again with a perfect conference record. He blasted their NEC heir and backyard bully, Albany scoring 38 and shutting out the formerly great Danes. Jerry Schmitt though, is 4-1 against the Colonials. Edge- Even
Key #5: The Dukes have a stable of talent at the skill positions with Dixon, Williams, McCoy, Patterson, Moore, Bunovich and the gang. The Colonials have talent at the skill positions too led by Russ. The Dukes have been able to focus on stopping him at 85 yards last year. Edge- Dukes
Key #6: Special Teams have hurt the Dukes, particularly on kickoffs and punts. The Dukes are making progress on scoring with Eric Dule becoming a very accurate kicker and Duquesne’s punting game handed over to a new freshman who has brought up the average up a bit. Edge- Colonials
Key #7- This game will come down to the Duke's defense being able to stop the Colonials late in the game. Their D has shown flashes of brilliance but has given up too many points until last week's game against Wagner. They held the Dukes in the game time after time when the Dukes could have rolled over until the offense rediscovered how to connect. They have finally put it together. Edge Dukes
Funny thing, but no matter how hard I tried, my wife sometime cleaned up better at the track when she bet with her heart.
I think that this game could go either way. When my mind can’t convince my heart to pick against the Dukes, I go with the Dukes in a great game, 28-24.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Perhaps nothing in college football can top the game against the archrival. At the major college level, the battle more often is for an upper hand in recruiting and statewide bragging rights. At levels below that, although the spotlight might not be as bright, the players and fans can bring intensity just as spirited.
Whether it's a longtime rivalry or a brand new rivalry, the travel between schools can sometimes be within walking distance. This weekend's schedule brings a mix of matchups ranging from Championship Subdivision to Division III sure to fan the flames. A sampling:
Duquesne (5-3) at Robert Morris (6-1)
Saturday, noon ET
Series: Duquesne leads 6-5
Pittsburgh proper vs. the suburbs (RMU is in Moon Township). Adding spice is that the schools are both in the Northeast Conference for football. For the first time this year, the league title brings with it an automatic spot in the NCAA playoffs. Robert Morris leads the NEC with a 5-0 mark; Duquesne is 3-2.
This year's game is at Joe Walton Stadium, named in 2005 in honor of the only football coach Robert Morris has had. Walton had coaching stints at the NFL level — with the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers before starting up the grass-roots Robert Morris program.
"The rivalry has always been great for both schools," Walton said of his team's matchup with Duquesne. "It generates a lot of interest and the kids have more enthusiasm for the game. I remember when we first started playing (Duquesne), it was standing room only and we were neophytes. It's been a friendly rivalry ever since."
Walton linked Saturday's game to the Pittsburgh and West Virginia rivalry he experienced as a college player with the Panthers.
"It brings me back to the Backyard Brawl," he said. "Even with smaller programs, the atmosphere doesn't change and one thing I've learned about rivalries is that the home team doesn't always have the upper hand."
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Their closing pressure packed, game winning drive was their most impressive, starting from their on 2 yard line and repeatedly converting on long third downs. The drive brought back memories of what Patterson did earlier this year when he capped a game winning drive against Dayton with his toss to Sean Bunovich. Patterson seems to be at his best when put into pressure situations. Almost half of his passing yards came on the 98 yard game winning drive when he completed 4 of 9 passes for 91 of the 98 yard drive.
The Duquesne Defense may have played its best and most consistent game of the year to keep the Dukes in the game, holding the Seahawks to field goals after two fumbled punt returns and another by fumble by Sean Patterson in their own territory.
Starring for the Defense were Nathan Totino who had his usual game high 12 tackles, Alex Inda who contributed 10 stops and a sack and Serge Kona who stopped Wagner for losses on three occasions. Altogether, the defense held the NEC’s leader in total offense, QB Nick Doscher to just 150 yards on only 8 completions on 26 attempts. They fittingly closed out the game with a Wade Powell interception of as Wagner drove near mid-field. Not only did the Dukes spoil Wagner’s Homecoming, but they kept Seahawk coach Walt Hamline from his 200th career victory.
Notes: Next week the Dukes travel to take on NEC leader and cross town rival Robert Morris at Noon.
Head Coach Walt Hameline knows how to put it all together and is 199-112-2 overall.
Duquesne's kickoff and punting game is not giving the defense an easy time by constantly giving away field position.
Prediction: My head says Wagner 31- Dukes 28. My heart says Duquesne 27- Wagner 24. I'll go with my heart- GO DUQUESNE!!!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sean Patterson looked like he has recovered from his ankle injury by spreading the ball around to 8 different receivers for 181 yards. Patterson’s other touchdown pass was a 49 yarder to Dave Williams. Williams and Conner Dixon each pulled in 4 passes while TE Sean Bunevich pulled in 2 before leaving with a leg injury late in the game.
Alex Inda returned a fumbled punt attempt 38 yards for a score and Eric Dule seems to have found a degree of consistency by converting on all three of his field goal attempts and all four of his extra point attempts. His 13 points are the most from a Duquesne kicker in recent memory.
The special teams took a second fumble away from the Pioneers when Aaron Fitzpatrick forced a fumble that led to Patterson’s long strike to Williams.
The score could have been even more lopsided had the Dukes not to settle for three points on two other turnovers inside the Pioneer’s 20 yard-line.
Next Week Duquesne travels to Wagner.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
First, the expanded Picnic AND restoring the tailgate area. The Straub beer and picnic menu is a nice touch and they did listen to the suggestion to pipe in the radio play by play. It is a bit expensive, but it is nicely done. Moving the picnic area to the Academic Walk side to let some real tailgating take place on the other side is a good idea. There have been more and more party tents popping up there from visiting fans. There is room for a few more local fans to get into the swing. If we could bring back the atmosphere when the Lehigh Valley folks had, it would add much to the atmosphere. This could spread out further along Bluff Street.
While still not a college marching band the pep band is starting to play loud enough to be heard for the National Anthem. Greg- I know that X didn't have football, but a real halftime show means a marching band.
The Department chose the right conference. At first I had hoped to get into the Pioneer with Dayton, but adding this level of scholarships at this time allowed the program to grow at a reasonable pace. Dayton has a huge football "endowment" that lets them do scholarships, but not officially through the university. The NEC is on the rise dramatically if you look at the Gridiron Index, RPI and Sagarin.
Scheduling Delaware was GREAT. It showed that we can hold our own against what may be the best program in the nation this year. Rhode Island would be a good add of another A-10 school, particularly if they are heading into the NEC. They gave Delaware a good game last week too. Youngstown State or even a BCS team like Akron would be a good thing to consider. We are actually ranked ahead of the Zips in most indexes.
They are now charging for admission on the visitor's side now. This really grated many fans to see the visitors bring in a few hundred fans for free while the fans were being asked to contribute to the program.
Thanks Dr. D. and Mr. A.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Very simply, the Field Goal department has improved but the field position has has been hurting Duquesne all year.
Dave Opfar's men need to make a statement that Duquesne doesn't need to put over 30 points on the board to win a game. Other than the game against the inexperienced Bucknell offense, the defense has yet to show just how good they are. They have played well in spurts and seem to have potential.
The Dukes need to re-energize the fan base at home. The Bucknell game and the excitement leading into the Delaware game needs to be re-captured in order to get a good Duke's contingent vs. Robert Morris in a few weeks.
Duquesne has proven that they can move the ball against anyone in the country, including Delaware. They have to be able to finish drives since the battle of statistics doesn't win football games.
Keep a Balanced Attack:
With the running of Larry McCoy and the stable of targets Sean Patterson has the Dukes need to keep opponents guessing. Play calling is a huge key.
Confidence without Overconfidence:
Yes, Sacred Heart is 1-5. However, the Pioneers lost 3 games by 4 or less points including last week's to Bryant. The Duke's psyche may be damaged by last week's close loss to Central Connecticut and the unexplainable melt down the week before. They can't afford to take the Pioneers lightly, nor can they get down on themselves. This team has to remember that they came withing a heel on the back of the end-zone of an overtime game on the road against the team that may be the best in its conference. This team has guts. Last week they weren't reward by a few inches. Mental preparation will be vital in this game to get the Dukes back on track.
Prediction: Duquesne 27 - Sacred Heart 21
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The Dukes' Two-Minute Offense
The Dukes' Never-Say-Die attitude
The Dukes' steadily improving Offensive Line
Eric Duale's FG consistency
The defense's growing ability to adjust and adapt
The Dukes' Kickoff Return team (and Freshman Ryan Ho)
Sean Patterson's confidence
Freshman Aaron Fleck and the improving Punt team
Coach Schmitt's patience with our QB
The Dukes' receiving corps
The Dukes' defense gang-tackling
The Dukes' Red-Zone offense
Sean Patterson's unpredicability / accuracy issues
Eric Duale's kickoffs
Rushing defense still a work-in-progress
While improving, the Dukes' Punting game still needs work
Mental lapses in the defensive backfield
All that said...
Trying to put "homerism" aside, I TRULY feel that the Dukes can win each and every one of their upcoming games and finish the season at 8-3. Not only "can" win.... but WILL win. The Robert Morris game will be the toughest test, but I know the boys will be more than ready for whatever Bobby Mo throws at them.
No game in the NEC is a "gimme" this year, but I believe that the Dukes will go out and take them!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
There is little to be gained by giving long a game recap here. Simply said, the Dukes were picked of 6 times.
• Sean Patterson, shaking off an ankle injury was pulled quickly and was clearly not on his game. He is still the same quarterback who hit Sean Bunovich in the closing seconds to beat Dayton. Patterson even injured, did lead one 51 yard drive to set up a 30 yard missed field goal.
• Marty Mitchell is a freshman who showed talent but was not used to the college game where the defensive backs all have more closing speed than the best he has faced in high school. Marty Mitchell proved his potential in the series when he hit TE Sean Bunovich on a sweat pitch and catch to set up a toss into the corner of the end zone to Connor Dixon.
• Ryan Ho is an electrifying kick returner who could have put the Dukes back in the game in the second half with an amazing return within inches of the goal line.
• Concerning the opening 1 yard drive of the second half: All three tries from the 1 yard line may have been inches over or inches short depending upon a spot from the referee who had no benefit of replay or a clear view on the goal line through the tangle of bodies.
• The coaching staff needed to set the tone that all chances to get back into the game should be taken rather than playing to lose by a more respectable margin. When you are down by so much every point counts. I would have taken another down to get the touchdown. By going for the field goal, you are telling your team that you don’t think they can do it.
• Duquesne also showed the same fear on their next possession. With 7:21 left in the game and down by 20, Duquesne punted on a fourth and 3. Needing three touchdowns, the Dukes refused to gamble to keep the ball. Even though they held the Hawks to a three and out, they lost 2 minutes of the 7 they had left.
• Both of Monmouth’s field goals seemed to slide over the cross bar.
This team must learn about what they have inside. I think that they have character. On days when nothing goes right, you can either come back and correct mistakes and hit it harder next week or you can decide that all is lost.
Duquesne wasn't as bad as it played and Monmouth wasn't that good. If the same two teams play again, Duquesne would be able to beat this team.
THIS SEASON IS FAR FROM OVER. Attitude and confidence are everything. If you think that this season is over, then you must be a loser or a fan from another team trying to poison the Duke's attitude.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
They have a close win at home over a lower level Patriot Team in Bucknell, a very good Dayton Team, were not shamed by an FCS Team that could be the best in the nation (Delaware) and beat an Albany Team that is always in the running to win the NEC.
After three losses (Monmouth was off last week to re-group), I don't think even Monmouth knows what they have as a team. Their first loss was away to an upper level Patriot Team (Colgate), were leading and gained respect against a CAA Team (Maine) and lost to an Old Dominion Team that for some reason is ranked ahead of many BCS Teams by the RPI Index. Monmouth and the NEC still don't know the pecking order of this season.
Monmouth can move the ball on the ground and through the air averaging 106 and 260 yards respectively and 18 First Downs per game against some good teams. Defensively, they seemed average, but again against good opponents.
If Patterson starts, expect Duquesne to win in a shoot-out. If he is not able to go, we have an unknown and untested laser-armed freshman to back up and Duquesne will be more conservative.
PREDICTION: If Patterson plays, Duquesne 31, Monmouth 27.
If he doesn't, ??????
Prediction record to date- 4-0, 100%
Monday, September 27, 2010
The man is a continuing inspiration to all of us and perhaps belongs in the Duquesne Sports Hall of Fame.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Beginning with the most painful bite this team has suffered in recent memory, the Albany Great Danes beat a seemingly unstoppable 11-0 Duquesne team that was one of the few non-scholarship teams ever ranked in the national 1-AA/FCB Ranking systems. Going into the 2002 ECAC Bowl Game, the Dukes were entertaining thoughts of being the first “mid-major” to have a legitimate chance to gain an invitation to the NCAA 1-AA Tournament. That dream ended in the cold slush at a field in Albany where the weather and the Danes grounded a powerful Duquesne aerial attack 22-0 and pushed the Dukes back out of the national rankings.
The next meeting came during Duquesne’s first season in the NEC when the Dukes and Albany played a fantastic game that seemed to be a preview of what could become a classic NEC rivalry. Duquesne won the battle of the statistics in that one while the Danes won the battle on the scoreboard 33-23.
Last year was one game of a season of injuries that the Dukes are trying to forget as Albany dominated 55-10.
But this year, you can just see this team's confidence and experience building as the Dukes downed NEC power Albany for the first time in 4 tries. There are many kudos to go around on both offense and defense.
Sean Patterson and Conner Dixon who last year were competing for time as starting quarterback are now cooperating as members of a passing attack that is starting to wake up echoes of the traditional Duquesne style offense. Dixon threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns while Dixon brought in 7 catches. Other teams remember Dixon as a passer, but Delaware fans (who should know) commented numerous times that Dixon may be good enough to turn pro as a receiver. Dave Williams caught 3 for 106 yards to keep pace with Dixon as Akeem Moore came back after injury to pull in a key 45 yard reception to set up one of Duquesne’s scores. The Dixon/Moore story should be the subject of a Newman/Redford movie some day.
But one thing that the Dukes now have is a powerful runner to balance and free up the passing game. Larry McCoy had his first 100 yard game of the year running for 123 yards. It was that running game that the Dukes needed back in 2002 when Josh Rue (later with AZ Cardinals) was declared ineligible for that season. The line play on both sides showed that Duquesne has caught up with the two year head start that the other NEC teams had in granting scholarships, Blocking back Marek Lapinski’s first carry of the year went for a well deserved touchdown.
On defense, Serge Kona forced a Dane fumble that was recovered by Alex Inda at the Albany 34. McCoy took the ball on a forth down carry 24 yards to put the Dukes on the board first. Kona later picked off a Dan Di Lella pass as did Dionte Wade which set up Duquesne’s final score. Kona actually tied tackling machine Nathan Totino with 7 stops each.
Eric Dule converted on all PAT’s but missed a 34 yard attempt that had the distance. Duquesne seemed to be making progress with their punting and kicking game last week at Delaware, but their punting game slid back again.
Next week, October 2, is Homecoming for the Dukes at Rooney Field at 1:00 on WMNY and Redzone Media.
Road Warriors? The Dukes will face their toughest remaining four opponents all on the road.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Dukes on offense: Even though the score didn't indicate it, Duquesne moved the ball well on offense against one of the CAA's best defenses. They racked up considerably more yardage than Top Twenty South Dakota did on Delaware; moving the ball within Delaware's 15 three times and down to the 1 on a team that hasn't given up a TD since last year. Albany's defense will not be easy, but Duquesne should score enough with a balanced attack. Patterson is not your average soph QB and seems to be coming into his own. Dixon shouldn't be throwing up on the sidelines and Moore should be able to go to give Sean plenty to throw to. McCoy, if he get 22 carries could go over 100 yards and Bair is developing into a real alternative out of the backfield to compliment the receiving corps. Duquesne must establish the run to set up room for them.
Dukes on Defense: The Dukes gave up 30 points two weeks in a row, but shouldn't do so again. Albany is certainly better on offense than the inexperienced Bison Team from week one and will get their due, but I don't see them wearing out a much deeper defense as they have done before to the Dukes. Mike P. has proven to be a force in the middle with some added muscle which has not slowed him down. The Duke's linebackers should be the key in this one.
Special Teams: Duquesne needs to continue to show progress here as they did against Delaware. This will not be a strength this year, but we can't give up too much field position. The "Mule", Eric Dule pleasantly surprised me with his 41 yard field goal last week.
Prediction: Duquesne 27, Albany 19 with a late Duquesne TD to salt it away.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Sometimes the final score is not the most important outcome in a game.
Yes, the objective in any game should be to win. And yes, this may sound like a Mr. Rodgers’ feel good way of comforting a loser. However, nobody can accuse the Duquesne football team of being losers in the game taking on one of the best FCS teams in the nation in one of the best FCS facilities this level of football will ever produce.
This game wasn’t the normal measuring stick that the Dukes have used to evaluate their program. Just a few years ago, the Dukes’ biggest game was playing a Patriot League team from the middle of the pack. In their first game of the season, the Dukes proved again this year they have cleared that hurdle by beating Bucknell for the second consecutive year.
Their second game was against the best program in the “”non-scholarship” sector of FCS. Again, Duquesne has shown they can win at that level by beating a very good Dayton team that technically is non-scholarship, but has a well funded endowment that bypasses traditional school-funded scholarships. In these games, winning was the only acceptable objective.
In Duquesne’s third game of the season, the objective was to prove to themselves that they are a legitimate FCS team that has outgrown the patronizing title of being a “mid-major”. Given the quality of opponent and traveling to their turf, the Dukes can say that they did just that.
By all national ranking systems, Delaware is the legitimate peer of fellow CAA members Massachusetts, Villanova, Richmond and James Madison. Massachusetts gave 20th Ranked BCS Michigan all they could handle at Michigan. James Madison beat a BCS Virginia Tech team that had aspirations of a national championship going into the season. Villanova, recently invited to join the BCS Big East, won the FCS Championship last year while another CAA member, Richmond won it all the year before. Delaware got all the way to the championship game the year before that before being stopped in their quest for a second FCS Championship in 5 years.
This wasn’t St. Peter’s, Canisius and Fairfield the Dukes were playing. Still the Dukes accomplished the following;
• The Dukes gained an impressive 326 total yards on the vaunted Delaware defense, considerably more than nationally ranked South Dakota state was able to manufacture. SDSU had only 25 on 17 carries. Delaware is ranked #1 in the nation in scoring defense and
• The Dukes not only moved the ball, they showed some ball control by actually possessing the ball longer than the Blue Hens 32:19 to 27:41. This was not due to Delaware getting quick scores through the air. They ground out the game with only 9 passes.
• Duquesne would drive to within the Hens 15 three times and to within a yard of scoring the first touchdown of the season against Delaware. Delaware entered the Duquesne Red Zone three times as well, but was able to finish their drives.
• The Dukes outgained Delaware in the first quarter 109-27 but trailed due to a tipped pick for six.
• The Dukes gained 140 yards rushing and averaged over 4.5 yards per carry against a large and talented defensive line. Delaware had given up only 1.3 yards per carry at 64 yards on 48 attempts in their first two games.
• Duquesne converted on 7 of 18 third downs.
• Duquesne generated 5 more first downs (16) than did nationally ranked South Dakota State against the Blue Hens.
• The Duquesne kicking game showed the improvement it needed when Eric Dule converted a career long 41 yard field goal as well as improving their punting average per kick.
Most of all, the Dukes seemed to believe that they had a good chance to compete at this level. Although the Dukes didn’t win, their progress as measured against a team that will challenge for the FCS Title in front of the biggest hostile crowd the Dukes have faced since the 1950’s shows that they belong.
Duquesne's first two series in this game dictated the extent of the win for Delaware. First, Tyrone Grant took in a tipped pass off the hands of Conner Dixon as Duquesne was moving the ball well and returned it for a 45 yard touchdown. Next, Duquesne failed to ram the ball in from Delaware’s 1 yard line on repeated attempts. This would have been the first touchdown Delaware allowed this year. This extended back for 13 quarters. There was a third important stop when Delaware ended another Duquesne drive with an interception 2 yards from the goal line.
NOTES: Delaware is ranked #1 in the Nation in Scoring Defense and Total Defense. They were also ranked 8th in the Nation in Running Offense. They returned 8 offensive and 8 defensive starters from last year. Conner Dixon caught 8 passes for 118 yards, both career highs. Akeem Moore missed the game with a sprained ankle.
NEXT WEEK: Albany at Noon at Rooney Field on WMNY.
Friday, September 17, 2010
The Dukes will try to mix it up more, but expect Sean Patterson to have at least 40 attempts with considerable play action and runs from their mobile quarterback. The Delaware run defense is just that good and proved it against a ranked opponent last week. They have yet to face a mobile quarterback and the Dukes may see what they can do to keep the Delaware pocket contain honest. The Duquesne wide outs and tight end are are good but will miss Akeem More if he isn't ready to play. Look for more of Billy Bair out of the backfield.
The Duke's defense was not tested in the Bucknell game due to the lack of Bison experience, but faced another Payton Award candidate last week vs Dayton and did well enough to win. They will probably try to stack the line in anticipation of Delaware not wanting Devlin to take any hits in the pocket. Duquesne did put pressure on Dayton last week with a couple of sacks.
The Dukes would have a better chance if they can improve their special team play. Duquesne gave away too much filed position to both Bucknell and Dayton. they will not be able to get away with this against the Blue Hens. The return game is one of Delaware's strengths.
This is Duquesne's first road game of the season... and what a road game! They will probably play in front of the biggest crowd to witness a Duquesne game since the 1950's.
Prediction- Duquesne will show some early game jitters and give up two quick scores but will remember how to come back as they did against Dayton as Delaware takes its foot off the gas a bit. The home crowd and talent of Delaware will prevail but the Dukes will surprise.
I hope I'm wrong about the winner, but... Delaware 34, Duquesne 20.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I hope that this game is competitive and leads to many others as Duquesne expands its program.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
This game against Delaware is different. It is a sign that we are now where we have been pushing to for quite some time. Delaware is a member of the CAA, the best FCS Conference in the nation. Not only that, they rank second by Sagarin in their conference only to James Madison who defeated Virginia Tech this weekend. The same Virginia Tech team that had thoughts of a BCS national championship coming into the season.
Delaware is ranked ahead of New Hampshire, the same CAA team that held its own against Pitt on Saturday... The same Pitt team that hopes to win the Big East... The same Pitt team that also scheduled Delaware twice in the next few years.
Albany has led the way for the NEC in playing teams from the CAA and has held its own. They are scheduled to play Cincinnati soon. Other NEC members have followed and have not been embarrassed. Monmouth was leading Maine, another CAA team on Saturday. I was listening the the Maine announcers who agreed that the NEC has done themselves proud in how far they have come.
Dorothy, we aren't in Kansas anymore...
One last comment- As a sign of how far we have come- It is now Sunday, 9/12 at 10:30 a.m. There have been more hits to this blog today since midnight by far than any other day since the Football Blog started. Thanks for reading!
Reprinted from the Duquesne Football Forum
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Duquesne Coach Jerry Schmitt revealed his clue to the outcome in a thoughtful comment going into the game. He asserted that what had ruined last year’s season may provide the key to being strong enough to come back and beat a very good Dayton team. His point was dramatically proven by the Duke’s last touchdown from Sean Patterson to TE Sean Bunevich with only 21 seconds remaining in the game after Dayton had just taken the lead less than a minute before.
Bunevich, you see, had to sit out last season with injuries. Patterson, last year’s third string quarterback was pressed into starting two games which may have given him the savvy to bring the Dukes back twice when Dayton appeared to be about ready to pull away from them.
Patterson stood toe to toe with Dayton’s Senior Walter Payton Award Candidate, QB Steve Valentino. The Payton Award is the FCS equivalent to the Heisman. Valentino didn’t disappoint the large contingent of Flyer fans making the 3 hour trip from Dayton, going 22 for 32 for 248 yards. Patterson did even better with his game winning toss completing a 27 for 40, 326 yard performance.
Schmitt was proven correct again by making a decision to move Conner Dixon from quarterback to flanker. Dixon, who many picked to be the next record setting quarterback for Duquesne pulled in 7 catches for 77 yards. Fellow Michigan State transfer, Dave Williams kept pace with Dixon with 7 catches as well for 63 yards. Both Dixon and Williams joined more than half of last year’s starters in missing playing time due to injuries. The Dukes at full strength are proving that they have learned to overcome adversity and challenge.
The first big challenge of the game came after Dayton’s potent offense jumped out to a 21-7 lead just before the end of the first half. Patterson led the Dukes for two quick touchdowns to pull Duquesne back into the game. Running back Larry McCoy gained 84 yards and ran for two touchdowns to balance Duquesne’s attack. Nothing equaled the last challenge met by this Duquesne team in their last drive to win the game as the clock wound down. Coach Schmitt and the Dukes have learned that past adversity can sometimes be a blessing.
Duquesne’s defense actually played well against the potent Flyer offense led, as usual by Nathan Totino’s 8 stops and a fumble recovery.
NOTES: Duquesne visits Nationally Ranked Delaware next week at 6:00 p.m. Delaware has scheduled Pitt twice in the next few seasons. Dayton is the favorite to win the Pioneer Conference this year and came into the game as the highest ranked opponent according to the College Football RPI.
As Duquesne and the NEC develop, the area now has a legitimate level of football it didn't have before. Like the bowls of porridge, FCS football is "just right".
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Bucknell's best drive of the game came on a long 10 minute grinding drive to start the second quarter. The Bison converted on a fourth down to get within the Duquesne 10 yard line but the Duquesne defense batted away two passes from there to hold the Bison to a 22 yard field goal.
The second half also could have started well for the Dukes as they came close to recovering the ball inside the Bucknell 5 yard line on a vicious hit on the Bucknell punt returner. The hit was ruled a split second too early and Bucknell held onto the ball with a 15 yard penalty against the Dukes for not letting the returner have a fair chance to catch the ball. Bucknell could not move the ball from there with Alex Inda forcing a fumble at the Bison 20. Larry McCoy ran three times to Bucknell 11 and Duquesne elected to send in Eric Dule to convert a 29 yard field goal putting the Dukes up 10-3.
That is when Tyler Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to even the score 10-10. Duquesne seemed to have all of the lanes filled as Smith repeated kept emerging from being boxed in.
Patterson quickly led the Dukes back hitting Dave Williams and Akeem Moore on a 76 yard drive ending with a 9 yard toss to Williams to put the Dukes back up by 7 at 17-10. Duquesne Coach Jerry Schmidt said after the game that”Patterson has worked hard and prepared well to gain command of the offense.”
The Duquesne defense pressured the Bison all game with a frenzied defensive formation with most of the linebackers and defensive line jockeying in and out without going down into a three point stance before the snap.
Bucknell’s fourth quarter drive into Duquesne’s was pushed down field by 30 yards by two ill advised hits by Duquesne. Brice Robertson was hit well before he could catch a fourth quarter punt and a Bucknell receiver after he went out of bounds. Unlike the earlier hit on a Bucknell punt returner for catching interference, the hit on Robertson was well before he had a chance to pull in the punt.
Duquesne’s defense finished extremely well as the game came down to a final Bucknell drive with just over three minutes left. They stood strong stopping the Bison at the Duquesne 39 yard line on a fourth and 2 roll out by Bison QB Burke Battan.
Notes: -Since 1992, the Dukes have won all of their season openers except for the six losses against the Bison.
-Rooney Field was filled with standing room only with an announced crowd of 2240. There could have been more that saw the game as fans filled the edges of the field beyond the designated seating areas.
-The Duquesne/Bucknell game was broadcast across the nation as the Sirius Satellite Radio FCS Game of the Week. Gino Communications had the game giving Dave Saba the job of setting up for three radio broadcasts from the press box.
-Long time Duquesne radio voice Alex Panormious showed up in great shape for the opener looking like he did some pre-season conditioning.
-Next week the Dukes play at home again at Noon against the tough Dayton Flyers who downed Robert Morris yesterday 28-14.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
W/L Date PF Opponent PA Location
W 1894 6 Hazelwood 0
W 1894 28 Non-parells 6
L 1894 4 Oakmont 8
W 1894 48 A.A.A.A.’s 0
T 1894 - Beaver Falls - Beaver Falls (Reported without score)
W 1894 - Greensburg - (Reported without score)
W 1894 4 Westmoreland Co. 0
W 1894 44 Bellevue 0
W 1894 14 Beaver Falls 0
L 1894 0 Vigilants 12 Martins Ferry
Note- Duquesne was known as the Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost until 1911.
Too bad we couldn't keep lower level "cost containment" baseball, swimming, golf and wrestling programs by playing as independents against local colleges. Playing CMU, Washington & Jefferson and RMU would have been ok by me rather than losing the teams. (Less travel budget, scholarships and part time coaches.) Was this option explored?
The travel budgets alone must have been huge to go to all the A-10 school from St. Louis to Charlotte to RI.
I wish we could have found a way to keep these teams and there will no doubt be a club team for golf, but the administration made a tough decision I would not have wanted to make.
Now the football team and basketball teams need to show that the decision worth the sacrifice.
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~
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