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Monday, September 27, 2010

On Sean Doherty

I never had the pleasure of meeting Sean Doherty in person but I feel like I had known him for years. As Sports Editor at WDUQ and color commentator with Ray Goss, he shared my love of Duquesne Athletics specifically and sports in general. The man proved that with the right attitude, nothing could ever stop you from enjoying life with a passion and pursuing your goals no matter what the odds.

The man is a continuing inspiration to all of us and perhaps belongs in the Duquesne Sports Hall of Fame.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dukes Bite Back Over Albany 28-17

It is a rewarding experience for this Duquesne Football team and their fans to tame the big dog that had bitten them a few times in the past.

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

Duquesne/Albany: Expect a Close One

I don't see a replay of last year's game.

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

Dukes Get Hen Pecked: 30-6

The box score reads that the Delaware Blue Hens beat the Duquesne Dukes 30-6.

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 Delaware Game Prediction

Delaware will probably keep the ball on the ground for most of the game since their starting quarterback has a broken wrist (non-throwing hand). They probably will take Payton Award Nominee Pat Devlin out if they get a sizable lead.

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

Delaware Fans Rock!

I have been running the Duquesne Football Forum and Blog for a while now and I can't ever recall having more interaction between our fans and those of the opposition. They have at time been gracious, cocky (but not obnoxious), and most of all passionate about their football. Take a look at some of the pictures of the Delaware games posted on the Forum.

I hope that this game is competitive and leads to many others as Duquesne expands its program.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heady Thoughts on the Delaware Game

I know that Duquesne has had a history of holding its own as it is "playing up" against programs with better facilities and higher rated scholarship players. I remember beating teams like Lafayette, VMI, Bucknell and others.

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

Healthy Dukes Dump Dayton 35-31

Perhaps no one except the coach from Duquesne could predict whether Duquesne or Dayton would emerge as the last one standing in one of the most entertaining counter-punching games ever at Rooney Field.

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.

FCS Football

The Bucknell game was a great example of the fantastic product FCS Football can be. I've been to countless high school, college and pro games in my life and I can honestly say I enjoy the FCS college level the best. There is a particular "smell" of spoiled and pampered pro or even FBS athlete that I don't like. High school ball can be exciting, but even Quad A ball shows a limited playbook and level of competition.

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

Dukes Open 2010: Down Bucknell 17-13

Duquesne opened its 2010 Season well, scoring on its first possession and holding Bucknell to three and out on theirs. Sophomore QB Patterson’s 8 yard touchdown run and their following drive from their own 15 to the Bison 25 brought back memories of the past high scoring contests that typified Duquesne’s openers with Bucknell. The two teams had begun up 9 of the past 14 years against each other averaging 30 points apiece in high scoring back and forth affairs with Bucknell mostly coming out on top. This year’s game would be different. Patterson threw his only interception of the game to end the drive as the two teams settled down into a more controlled defensive game. The Duquesne defense held the young Bucknell offense to two field goals with their only touchdown coming on an 89 yard kickoff return by Tyler Smith in the 3rd quarter.

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.

Headline From the Duquesne Football Archives:

Headline From the Duquesne Football Archives:
1942 Milwaukee Journal claims city football dominance over Pitt before WW II program cut.

Looking Back 120 Years and Looking Ahead

Looking Back 120 Years and Looking Ahead
1937 Duquesne Orange Bowl Victory over Mississippi State

What was the first collegiate team on record to play Duquesne? (Duquesne was known back then as Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost)

The Layden Trophy- 3 Feet Tall- Bronze, glass and real oak.

“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

Well, The Layden Cup is almost complete. It stands 30 inches tall and is pretty heavy. It is made of a solid oak base (courtesy of the students at East Allegheny's wood shop class) and a copper and glass upper half. The glass part is designed to contain marbles representing each one of the games played between Pittsburgh Collegiate football teams (for all the marbles).

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).

I thought that the cup would look nice kept in the Heinz Sports Museum at the History Center along with the record of head to head games.

The Elmer Layden Cup Steel City Collegiate Football Challenge Cup

Pittsburgh has almost forgotten its inner-city collegiate football rivalries. There was a time when Art Rooney Sr., Steeler owner and former Duquesne star, had to take the Steelers on the road to sell tickets when Pitt, Duquesne or Carnegie Tech would play each other in Pittsburgh.

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
2010- Robert Morris over Duquesne 34-11
2011- Duquesne over Robert Morris 45-10
2012- Robert Morris over Duquesne 18-13
2013- Duquesne over Robert Morris 21-10
2014- Duquesne over Robert Morris 22-0
2015- Duquesne over Robert Morris 16-7
2016- Duquesne over Robert Morris 31-24
2017- Duquesne over Robert Morris 51-14


College football in the Pittsburgh area goes all the way back to 1890 when the University of Pittsburgh played its first recorded game against the Allegheny Athletic Association, losing 38-0. Duquesne would follow a year later in 1891, but their first games are lost to recorded memory. The third of the great early Steel City football rivals, Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University wasn’t founded as a school until 1900, but lost no time by starting a team of its own in 1906.

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.


No kidding- The Massey Ratings rank the 1941 Dukes the #1 Major College Football Team in the Nation. That team went 8-0 and was one of three undefeated, untied teams in the nation that year along with Duke and Minnesota. They gave up only 21 points all season to lead the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense. The AP ranked the Dukes #8 that year. See these links- http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_iaa/northeast/duquesne/all_national_champs.php

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 1941 Sorenson System came very close to the same conclusion as Massey, pegging the Dukes at #2, just below Minnesota and well above #3 Notre Dame. See Sorenson's 1941 Ranking at: http://www.phys.utk.edu/sorensen/cfr/cfr/Output/1941/CF_1941_Ranking_CWDR.html

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

(Written prior to 2010 Season- The Dukes now have over 400 wins)
If you pick up a Duquesne Football Media Guide you'll notice that much of the Duke's earliest football record is incomplete. There are entire years where the team played, but there are no records to indicate how they did. I know that some people may think caring about this is more an excersize in historical trivia, but others may feel that it is a recognition of Duquesne's proud athletic history and tradition.

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!

1937 Duquesne Orange Bowl Win

1937 Duquesne Orange Bowl Win
Dukes beat Mississippi State 13-12

The Prince of Pilseners is back!


Chatham Square used to be named Tunnel Street, but it wasn't named after The Armstrong Tunnels. It was named after a still existing, sealed off tunnel that carried the old Pennsylvania Canal under the lower hill between a basin near Penn Station and emerging in front of where the Armstrong Tunnels are now. From there the canal barges followed the old re-vamped Suke's Run basin to debauch into the Monongehela River near the base of the Panhandle Subway Bridge (Roughly behind Fisher Hall, crossing Boyd St. and then between Rockwell Hall and the Building just bought from Robert Morris and from there into the Mon). Picture shows the Pennsylvania Canal Tunnel, left and the Panhandle RR Tunnel, right during construction of the USX Tower.

Duquesne Broadcast Crew on WMNY 1360 AM

Duquesne Broadcast Crew on WMNY 1360 AM
ALEX PANORMIOS (right) In his 16th season as play-by-play "Voice" of the Duquesne Dukes. He is the founder and president of Red Zone Media, Inc., an internet company that specializes in streaming high school and college sporting events since 2000. He also serves as the play-by-play voice of the Duquesne women's basketball team. Alex, his wife Mimi and son Alex reside in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. TAD MAUREY (left) Color Commentary. Tad is in his fourth season at Color of the Dukes football team and his 10th in the same position for the Women’s Basketball team. Tad hosts the Suzie McConnell-Serio Radio show during the women’s basketball season. Tad currently resides in Oakmont Borough. RYAN GAVATORTA (not pictured) serves as studio host of the games at WMNY provides weekly coverage of all Duquesne Athletics before and after the games. (Picture and bios courtesy WMNY)

1929 Dukes at White House with President Hoover

1929 Dukes at White House with President Hoover
5th best All-Time Dukes Team went 9-0-1. Pre-AP Rankings. Only blemish was a 7-7 tie with West Virginia. Moved from campus "Bluff Field" to Forbes Field. First night games ever in Pittsburgh. Coach Elmer Layden. Hoover would face the beginning of the Great Depression later that same year.


1. Recruiting- The Dukes are competing for scholarship players now. The field as it looks now is much smaller than most high school stadiums where these students are coming from and is far below all of our opponents we play.

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.


Guys, I'm thinking that I'd like to get a corporate sponsor to donate at least $100 to the winning team of the Duquesne RMU game. This way the trophy doesn't get bogged down with the Athletic Departments of either school. The trophy will remain the property of the Forum Members and we can name it what we want.

I think the latest and best idea is to name it "The Pittsburgh Coaching Legends Trophy". That way we can reference such local coaching greats indirectly such as Layden, Warner, Klausing and Walton and the thing will still be for "all the marbles in the 'Burgh". This way nobody gets bent out of shape that we are just recognizing a person from just one school.

Then the only thing we need is permission to present the trophy and a checks to the schools. Does anybody out there have connection to a business that would be willing to donate a few bucks to the winner and maybe another to donate a check for a bit less to the other team so both get something for their athletic departments?

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
fight,fight, fight
for the grand old Red and Blue.


Wins-403, Losses-298, Ties-25
Winning %- .574

*College Football Data Warehouse


10+ WINS: 11 in 2002 and 1896, 10 in 2000, 1996, 1995, 1973 and 1933 (Duquesne played less than 10 games most years)

10+ LOSSES: None

300+ POINTS: 397 in 2002, 393 in 1999, 370 in 2001, 347 in 1998, 345 in 2003, 322 in 1934, 319 in 2004, 319 in 2004, 313 in 1995.

FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED >35: 12 in 1899 (Only 4 games), 22 in 1934 (10 games), 23 in 1941 (8 games with only 21 allowed by defense), 23 in 1973 10 games), (10 games), 26 in 1994 (10 games), 28 in 1936 (10 games), 32 in 1928 (9 games), 33 in 1933 (11 games).

200+ DELTA: +300 in 1934, +282 in 2002, +263 in 1996, +235 in 2000

Unbeaten 1929 Dukes at the White House with the President

Unbeaten 1929 Dukes at the White House with the President
5th best All-Time Dukes Team went 9-0-1. Pre-AP Rankings. Only blemish was a 7-7 tie with West Virginia. Moved from campus "Bluff Field" to Forbes Field. First night games ever in Pittsburgh. Coach Elmer Layden. Hoover would face the beginning of the Great Depression later that same year.

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