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Friday, December 16, 2011

Serge Kona Named AP All-American; 11 Dukes Named All NEC

PITTSBURGH- Junior safety Serge Kona (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg), the 2011 Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, has been named third team All-America by the Associated Press.

Kona, the only player from the NEC to earn 2011 All-America honors, joins nine-year NFL veteran Leigh Bodden (AP All-America defensive back in 2002 & 2003) as the only DU underclassman to earn the honor. Kona is the sixth player in school history, and first since Bruce Hocker in 2006, to be named AP All-America.

The 5-10, 215-pound Kona, who moved from linebacker to free safety in the spring, led a secondary that led the nation in pass defense at 139.27 yards per game. He finished the year with 48 tackles (28 solo) including 4.0 tackles for loss. He intercepted two passes and forced three fumbles for the Dukes who led the NEC in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense.

A total of 11 Duquesne players were honored by the Northeast Conference's football coaches with the release of annual postseason awards this week.

Junior safety Serge Kona (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) was named NEC Defensive Player of the Year and a league-high six Dukes - including three of the four members of a secondary that leads the FCS in pass defense - were named first team All-Northeast Conference.

Junior running back Larry McCoy (Wytheville, Va./George Wythe), senior offensive lineman Ron Dunn (Abington, Mass./Milford (N.Y.) Academy) and Kona - who were all named preseason All-NEC - earned spots on the postseason first team along with grad student receiver Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) and senior cornerbacks Aaron Fitzpatrick (Erie, Pa./McDowell) and Jared Williams (Pittsburgh, Pa./Perry Traditional Academy).

Duquesne (9-2), which finished tied with Albany for the league title with a 7-1 record, had five players named second team all-conference.

Second team picks include junior quarterback Sean Patterson (Toledo, Ohio/St. John Jesuit), senior defensive linemen Alex Inda (San Fernando, Calif./St. Genevieve) and Mike Passodelis (Allison Park, Pa./North Allegheny), senior linebacker Chris Oliver (Washington, D.C./Calvin Coolidge) and punter Charlie Leventry (Johnstown, Pa./Richland).

The Dukes led the NEC in rushing offense behind the blocking of Dunn and the running of McCoy who were both second team all-league picks last year. Dunn, who started a team-high 42 consecutive games, helped clear the way for an offense that averaged 212.8 yards per game. Dunn also helped McCoy post a school record nine 100-yard games in 2011. McCoy, who ranks ninth nationally in rushing finished with 1,381 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Dixon, who gained a rare sixth year of eligibility the day before the season opener, tied the DU single-season record with 16 touchdown receptions. The Michigan State transfer finished with 40 catches for 792 yards. His 72 yards per game average was the second-best in the NEC. The 2010 second team All-NEC pick caught a pass in every game (26 in a row) after moving from quarterback to receiver eight games into the 2009 season.

Fitzpatrick and Williams held down the corners for a secondary that gave up just 139.3 yards per game. Williams, a Temple transfer, led the NEC with five interceptions. His 1.09 passes defended per game were second-best in the league.

Fitzpatrick's 45 tackles (26 solo) were second to Kona's 48 in the DU secondary.

Kona, who moved from linebacker to safety in the spring, was a catalyst for the defense from his free safety spot. Kona finished the year with 48 tackles (28 solo) including 4.0 tackles for loss. He intercepted two passes and forced three fumbles for the Dukes who led the NEC in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense.

Patterson, who completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 2,011 yards and 23 touchdowns, emerged as a dual-threat under center with 552 yards rushing including four TDs. The Toledo, Ohio native ranked second in the NEC in total offense with 233 yards per game. Patterson, who is 13-3 as a starter in his past 16 games, is just the third quarterback in school history to throw for over 2,000 yards in multiple seasons. He is the first QB to rush for 100 yards in game - a feat he accomplished twice in 2011 - since the Dukes moved to the FCS level in 1993.

Passodelis, who had 54 tackles from the nose tackle spot despite being routinely double teamed, finished with 5.5 tackles for loss including 3.0 sacks.

Inda, a defensive end who like McCoy, Dunn and Kona was a preseason All-NEC pick, added 45 tackles including 2.5 sacks and three pass break ups.

Oliver, who entered the season with 34 career tackles, amassed a team-high 91 stops (31 more than any other Duke). The Washington, D.C. native, who did not post a tackle for loss in his first three seasons at DU, led the team with 9.0 (for -32 yards). Oliver, who totaled eight or more stops in eight games, led the team in tackles six times.

Leventry, who also handled placekicking duties, placed 22 of his 48 punts inside the 20 while averaging 36.8 yards per punt.

Duquesne, which just finished its seventh season under head coach Jerry Schmitt, finished tied for first in the NEC in just its fourth season as an associate member. The Dukes had a total of two all-conference players in their first two seasons in the league (finishing 6th and tied for 7th). Last year, DU had six all-league players in finishing third with a 5-3 record.

The Dukes will return a total of nine starters - five on offense and four on defense - in 2012.

(From the Athletic Department Site)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


The Duquesne Dukes ended the 2011 season with a convincing 45-10 blow out over their cross-town rival Robert Morris Colonials. As the game wound down and it became clear that the Colonials had no answers for Patterson, Dixon, Williams and Oliver, there seemed to be more interest in the score of the game being played a few hundred miles to the Northeast.

Aside from the last quarter of the Bucknell game and the first quarter of the Albany game, the Dukes have completed a masterful 9-2 season. The game was typical of the rest of the season as Sean Patterson found Conner Dixon for three touchdowns, Larry McCoy ran for another hundred yard game and a touchdown the defense closed out the opposition allowing only 10 points.

The Dukes tie for the NEC Conference Championship but miss a trip to the NCAA Playoffs as Albany beat Sacred Hear 31-21. Honestly, this is a Duquesne team that would stand a very good chance to win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament.

More post game coverage to come tomorrow. I know that the 2011 Edition of the Duquesne Dukes deserve an Honorable Mention as one of the best Duquesne Football teams ever (See below right). I have a tough decision to make if they bump into the Top 20 Teams ever replacing the 1942 team that was ranked # 13 in the nation by th AP during their seson. Let me know what you think at the Forum.

From the NEC Web Site:

The race for the 2011 Northeast Conference football crown came down to the final day of the regular season on Saturday, and in the end, Albany and Duquesne each staked its claim to the title. The Great Danes and Dukes both finished 7-1 in league play on the year, but it was Albany which earned the NEC's automatic bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs by virtue of its head-to-head victory over Duquesne in early October. UA will learns its NCAA opponent when the 20-team playoff bracket is announced Sunday at 10:00 am live on ESPNU.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Steel City Bragging Rights: Duquesne Robert Morris Preview/Prediction

Going in, this game seems to be an easy one to call. The Dukes come into this one at 8-2 while the Colonials are 2-8. The Dukes have won their last 4 while the Colonials have lost their last 5. In just his second start, Robert Morris Freshman Quarterback Matt Layman is facing a Dukes defense that has allowed just one short yardage touchdown in the past two games and leads the nation in passing defense.

The visitors come in with 8 different starting lineups against a home team that pretty much has been steady with even a few upgrades with the addition of another year for Conner Dixon and the addition of a projected starter for Ohio state, Dorian Bell to an already deep defense.

Finally, the Dukes are playing to preserve a chance to make the NCAA Playoffs with some cooperation from the Albany Sacred Heart game while the Colonials are just trying to salvage a bit of pride in a season after they themselves won the playoff spot.

After all this, can the Colonials come in and take this game? Certainly. After all, the Dukes outplayed and still lost to Bucknell and this is a "rivalry" game.

Will they?

No- Dukes 31 RMU 17.

CAUTION: The Dukes have to remember that a win for the Colonials will salvage their season. They can not let up as they did against a Bucknell Bison team that they outplayed but lost to at the beginning end of this season.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dukes Pound, Now Pull for Pioneers

After beating Sacred Heart 29-15, the Dukes will be pulling for them to win this week as the Pioneers visit Albany. Although the Dukes are tied with Albany with 6-1 Conference records, the Great Danes win the tie breaker with a head to head win against Duquesne even though the Dukes own a better overall record at 8-2 vs Albany’s 7-3. The conference winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Tournament.

The Dukes have to take care of business against cross town rival and last year’s NEC Champion, Robert Morris. While the Dukes have more than lived up to pre-season billing as one of the top teams in the conference, the Colonials enter this rivalry game with the Dukes at a disappointing 2-5, 2-8 record.

Even if the Pioneers are unable to upset the heavily favored Great Danes at Albany, the Dukes have quietly built an impressive season after a game they should have been able to hold on to win at Bucknell to open the season.

This team has certainly closed the scholarship gap with the rest of the NEC and legitimately has readjusted its goals from merely being competitive to wanting the top spot in the conference. No matter how the conference race ends up at the end of the day on Saturday, local college football fans and media need to wake up and realize that they have another winner in this town. I’d like their chances better this year against teams such as Delaware. The same Delaware that will be playing Pitt twice in the next few seasons.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Away for the weekend

Sorry folks- I was away at Cape May New Jersey with the Coast Guard. I'll try to put together an article on the Sacred Heart Game after I listen to the Red Zone replay. Glad we won!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Send a sack of bones to the Bryant... The Bulldogs won the dog fight with the Great Danes at Albany 31-17. Dukes have to win out and hope Albany loses one to either at Monmouth or to Sacred Heart.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Duquesne Storms Monmouth's Homecoming 16-0

The Duquesne Dukes and the Halloween Week Snow Storm combined to shut out the Monmouth Hawks 16-0 in a game where Duquesne made the most of what the Hawks and the storm would give them.

Both team's star running backs were able plow their way over over 100 yards with Larry McCoy gainind 110 yards on 35 carries while Hawks freshman running back Julian Hayes rushed for a just a bit more for 114 yards on 34 carries.

Duquesne's Sean Patterson was able to better manage the weather from the beginning by leading an opening 9 play, 72 yard drive finished by Patterson's 19 yard touchdown run. Charlie Leventry's extra point was blocked, but the Dukes didn't need to score another point with the defense effectively shutting down the Monmouth offense which committed a season high 4 turnovers in the cold and sloppy conditions.

Monmouth's Ian Simon forced a fumble by sacking Patterson on the next series but after a seven-play drive the Hawks' offense stalled inside the red zone and Hawks turned the ball over on downs. From there, Monmouth's home field turned into a real disadvantage as they remain winless at home this year (but winning all their away games). Hayes fumbled in Monmouth territory in the second quarter led to a 33-yard Charlie Leventry field goal with 2:04 remaining in the first half.

The Dukes and the weather struck again on the next Hawks possession when the Hawk's Tyler George caught a pass on 3rd-and-8, but fumbled to give the ball back to the Dukes with 57 seconds left in the first half. Two plays later, Patterson found Isaac Spragg for an 18-yard touchdown, putting Duquesne up, 16-0, at the half.

Neither team could muster any points in the second half with Leventry missing on two field goal attempts in between turning the ball over on downs inside the red zone once. Monmouth punted on both of its possessions in the third
quarter, and also turned the ball over again on a fumble, on downs and on an interception.

Patterson finished 6-of-15 for 68 yards and a touchdown for Duquesne and ran for 50 yards and a touchdown.

The Hawks fell to 4-4 (3-2 NEC), while the Dukes improve to 7-2 (5-1 NEC). The win is the first for Duquesne against the Hawks since joining the Northeast Conference in 2008 although the Dukes had won an ECAC Bowl Game before joining the NEC.

The Dukes have next week off to prepare for a trip to Sacred Heart before finishing at home to Robert Morris.

Photo courtesy of Monmouth Athletics.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Dukes Get Another Crack at Monmouth Preview/Prediction

Most Duquesne fans would agree that last year was a turnaround season for the team. They gave mighty Delaware, a team that would be the eventual runner up in the entire FCS, a better game statistically than most of their more highly rated opponents. They were the only team to beat Dayton. They proved they could beat Albany and Bryant for the first time. In many ways, last year's success would set up this year's team that is again in competition at the top of a conference.

There was only one game last year where the Dukes where the Dukes didn't follow the script. That was the Homecoming Game against Wagner. That game was the bummer game that the Dukes couldn't do anything right. The team could have, should have, would have played a much better game. This is a team sport, but if Duquesne can claim redemption, it may come down to the play of Sean Patterson if they want redemption against Monmouth.

Sean Patterson may be the team's battery that makes all the rest of the gears go. Conner Dixon and company can't throw the ball and catch it too. Larry McCoy can't gain yards if the ball is in the other team's hands after a turnover. Although McCoy is one of the best in the FCS, other teams have been making the Dukes win through the air by stacking the box. This is usually Patterson's cue to burn them badly. When he does, the results are an offensive clinic in a balanced and at times unbelievably productive attack. When Patterson is off, even with Larry McCoy,the rest of the team hasn't found a way to compensate. Even with the added depth, the defense hasn't able to hold the game long enough to make up in their few recent losses in the past two years.

This may be Duquesne's best team since restarting football in 1969. That is hard to really measure since during that time they went from a Club Team to D-3 to "Mid-Major" to adding scholarships. But they are now playing at their highest level of competition and doing well... doing well when Sean Patterson makes it work.

PREDICTION: Monmouth's home field isn't really an advantage this year. They won all their games on the road and lost all their games at home. Sean Patterson makes it work- Duquesne 31, Monmouth 21.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dukes Get Back in Character to Ground Seahawks 37-21

Every team has an assortment of mental images associated with it. The most obvious are the most famous. If you think of the New York Yankees, Montreal Canadians, Notre Dame or the Pittsburgh Steelers you are flooded with thousands of images, traditions and figures. “Buying Sam a drink and getting his dog one too” makes sense only to a Penguin’s fan. Think of the Boston Red Sox you think of old Fenway Park. Conjure up the 1960’s Pirates and ivy covered walls deep in the outfield and Maz turning a miraculous double play on a rough infield comes to my mind (even though they were memories handed to me by my father and television.

The Duquesne Dukes have their mental images too such as passing game that can strike from anywhere and a train whistle echoing up to a windy Rooney Field. Like “The Gunner” or Lanny for the Pirates and Ray Goss for the Duke’s other major sport, we expect to hear Alex in the booth. Fill in the blank with either Conner Dixon, Dave Williams, Yardon Brantley, Mark Neely, Bruce Hocker or Jeremy Connely running long for a pass from an excellent quarterback (Loya, Zimmerman-New HOF, Loebig, Dixon or Rombach).

The Duquesne Dukes got back in character as they ran over the Wagner Seahawks at Rooney Field. The Dukes seemed like themselves again after a big loss to Albany where they let the Danes turn them to 1st quarter zombies followed by a game where the Dukes somehow managed to win against CCSU without doing the things that usually make a Duquesne victory.

All the familiar players showed up as Larry McCoy ran for over 100 yards and 3 TDs. Larry not only had 149 for the game but he topped 1,000 for the season and 3,000 for his career. Sean Patterson again chucked it for well over 200 yards with two TDs pulled in by the usual suspect, Conner Dixon. Isaac Sprague added another 9 grabs for 95 yards.

The defense was back to their normal selves by holding Dominique Williams to 81 yards on 20 carries. Williams entered the game ranked ninth nationally and a 111.8 yards per game average.

The Dukes have usually had a good defensive backfield. Now Serge Kohna Jared Williams, Khiry Carter seem to be inheriting the mantle of past players like Leigh Bodden.

Charlie Leventry is beginning to change the image of adventurous field goal attempts. Charlie entered the Duquesne and Rooney Field record books with an important 51 yard field goal to end the first half 17-7. At the time Duquesne had piled up a good statistical edge but led by only one score. The previous school was 47 yards set by Doug McAuley vs. Mercyhurst in 1988.

The Dukes may be exceeding their past character reputations on some other fronts as well. Going into the NEC, the Dukes offensive and defensive lines had been pushed around. The offensive line protected Patterson well and opened up huge holes.

Duquesne has always had good linebackes such as Nathan Totino but their linebacking corps may be their best ever with talent and depth at ever spot.

Finally, the Duquesne Dukes are characteristically competing for a conference title again. Unfortunately, Albany kept in character too by blowing out CCSU.

The only negative to come out of this game was that the Dukes really have to find a way to cover their kickoffs and punts. All of Wager’s scores were greatly aided by some terrible kick coverage that put pressure on the defense if it didn’t lead directly to a score.

NEXT WEEK: The Dukes face a big challenge next week when they visit Monmouth (4-3, 3-1) at 1:00.

Image courtesy of Duquesne Athletics.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Beware of Wagner: Preview and Prediction

Wagner (1-5, 1-2) at Duquesne (5-2, 3-1) at Rooney Field, Saturday, 10/22 at 12:10.

Don't underestimate the 1-5 Wagner Seahawks. The visiting team represented themselves very well against #9 Richmond and barely lost to two teams that the Dukes barely beat (CCSU and Bryant). Most of the games between Wagner and the Dukes have been tight including Duquesne's 1 point (21-20) come-back win last year. The year before the Seahawks pulled out a 23-17 win in two overtimes. Wagner has had two weeks to prepare for this game and will not see themselves as being out of the conference race yet.

The Dukes seem to be facing all of the top running backs in the FCS. This weeks its running back Dominique Williams who ranks #9 in the nation at 111.8 yards per game. Wagner is 10th in the Nation and 1st in the NEC in Turnover Margins at 1.33 per game. Wagner Coach Walt Hameline has over 200 wins to his credit.

From Shaler Tom at the Forum: "Wagner lost their starting QB in their last game but their back up, a red shirt freshman put up some nice numbers in a loss to Georgetown. They have two DB's that are transfers from Purdue and Syracuse."

Prediction: Wagner's defense played well against Richmond and will take time to crack. After a close first half, Dukes over Seahawks 28-17. (I'll respectfully defer to and hope that Shoey is right to predict the blow-out)

Game Ball Leftovers: I started a new weekly poll on this blog for the CCSU game to award a game ball. Sean Patterson won it even though he didn't throw for hit best numbers. It wasn't the best week to start the poll, particularly since nobody really stood out. I should have put in a selection for "team". Last week had few individual stars but a collective will to get the win. Two weeks ago- Albany really surprised the Dukes with their intensity. They knew that the season championship may have been decided right there since the Danes are used to competing in a tough conference. The Dukes learned the hard way what it takes. I'd still favor the Dukes in a re-match.

Radio: WMNY 1360 AM or at RedzoneMedia.com.
Video and Gametracker: GoDuquesne.com
Live Game Thread at the Forum: http://www.voy.com/214207/

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dukes Team Up on CCSU 28-21

Duquesne’s win over the NEC’s pre-season favorite Central Connecticut was an odd one.

• Larry McCoy didn’t get 100 yards.
• Conner Dixon didn’t catch a touchdown.
• The defense gave up almost 400 yards.
• Sean Patterson didn’t throw for 200 yards.
• Duquesne was outgained on the ground and through the air.
• CCSU held the ball for over 38 minutes

When the Dukes win, they usually pile up the huge statistical lead that led them to be fourth in the nation in both total offense and total defense before hitting a brick wall at Albany. Duquesne has routinely lost games over the past few years where they won the battle of the statistics such as the season opener at Bucknell.

Although the defense allowed almost 400 yards, they did what it took at the time it needed to. This game could have been another agonizing close loss had it not taken the ball away at Duquesne’s 10 yard line when Alden Sutton recovered a Debenendittis fumble forced by Jared Willims. Sean Patterson was the back who actually did gain over 100 yards with his clutch 42 yard run and then a 4 yarder to finish off a 90 yard drive for the game’s final game winning TD. McCoy came close with 97 yards on only 18 carries.

To finally get to the point, the Dukes won a game that took more than gaudy stats to win. They found a way to win from a team that had real talent. They did what it took to take a game when they had to show more than their talent. Other than Charlie Leventry’s 47 yards per punt this was a pretty neat team victory where no individual stood out but all pulled together to do what it took. But even Leventry didn’t have to kick a field goal to do it.

NOTES: This was Duquesne’s first win against CCSU, going 0-4 in all other meetings.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dukes Host Pre-Season NEC Favorite CCS Blue Devils

The 4-2 Duquesne Dukes hope to rebound after last week’s loss to Albany when they host the NEC’s pre-season number one pick to be conference champions, Central Connecticut State. The Blue Devils come in at only 2 and 4 but played a very tough non-conference schedule. They were within 2 points of overtaking CAA Massachusetts in the fourth quarter before the Minutemen returned a kickoff and an interception for late touchdowns to put the game away. CCS played CAA James Madison close as well falling 14-9.

Last year the Dukes came close to staging a remarkable comeback when they scored two touchdowns in the final 2 minutes and appeared to tie the game on a two point conversion late in the fourth quarter that was overturned by a controversial penalty. Larry McCoy finished that game with his career best 233 yards.

Duquesne will honor our nation's wounded heroes this Saturday in partnership with Wounded Warrior Project and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Duquesne has invited all military personnel with military ID to attend the game free of charge and will be selling camouflage Duquesne hats to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Prediction: This is really a tough one to call since much depends upon how the Dukes respond to the Albany game. I’m going to be chicken and say it will be either a close Duquesne win 28-24 if the Dukes regain their confidence or another drubbing if the Dukes have lost faith in themselves.

Radio: WMNY-AM 1360- Alex Panormios and Tad Maurey
Streaming Live and Achieved Audio: RedZoneMedia.com or GoDuquesne.com
Video & Gametracker: GoDuquesne.com

Saturday, October 8, 2011


There is a basic difference between writing an article that describes what happened during a game and writing an article analyzing why the game came out the way it did. It’s a good thing I don’t get paid as a football analyst because it is hard for me to explain why the Dukes were blown away by the Albany Great Danes on Saturday October 8, 2011. I can easily retell what happened. The Dukes got beat. They got beat badly but don't ask me why. It should not have occurred with the talent they have. I can only offer the following feeble observations:

• Albany came out on fire and pushed the Dukes around like they were a grade school team on the first three drives of the game.
• The defense was not the only unit that looked like a deer in the headlights. It took the offense until their fourth drive of the game to even generate a first down.
• An offense can afford to start the game badly and then get moving once they figure things out as long as the defense is playing acceptably well. They can also help out a defense that is playing badly by keeping them off the field. Neither unit helped out the other in the first quarter.
• Bob Ford is one heck of a coach who deserves the 250th win he earned over the Dukes. He knew his run defense had been poor to date so he sold out to stop the run.
• Through a combination of Sean Patterson having an off day and Duquesne's coaching staff refusing to rely on the passing game to re-establish the run, Bob Ford's plan worked. Sometimes you establish the run by burning a defense that over-commits. Duquesne only made them pay once.
• With the commitment to stop the run Conner Dixon should have been open more often or else he must have had a bad game too.
• Sean Patterson is a streaky performer. As well as he played the week before against Bryant, that is in direct opposite to his game at Albany.
• Conner Dixon must be used for more than just catching touchdowns. Sure touchdowns are good, but his 30+ yard catch was his only grab of the game. He can be used to get a first down too.
• Duquesne must be haunted by an odd October Pre-Halloween Curse. Last year they were blown out by Monmouth in a similar bizarrely bad game. The Dukes have had other bizarre down games in October against teams as bad as Iona (three times).
• After the Dukes got down by 24 points, they either found out how to play defense again or Albany let up on them. The good news is that I don't think Albany let up. The bad news is that they didn't start the game playing as they could.
• The Dukes really are not as bad a team as they showed and the Great Danes are good but not that good.
• Albany has been there before against tough conference opponents. They know that they have to load up, particularly against their biggest rivals.
• Duquesne, if they are going to be the team they want to be better get used to being everyone's biggest rival and be ready.
• The Dukes don't seem to throw on first down.

This is still an immensely talented football team in all areas of the game. The Dukes certainly have the ability to have played better than they did. As to why they did not, again I have only an idea. I can't look very deeply into the hearts of the young men who played that game for Duquesne. Only they can. Only they can find the fire deep inside that will allow them to still have a chance at the Conference Championship. On paper, they have the skill but the paper and the grand statistics the Dukes rang up to date don't mean a thing.

This, thankfully, still only counts as one loss.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Albany Preview/Prediction- McCoy Adds the Balance

Duquesne always seems to be have been able to throw the ball. Patterson, Dixon, Rombaugh, Loebig, Zimmerman, Loya, Bocan... you can almost draw a timeline of talent back to 1969 and even further back through Boyd Brumbaugh and Ernie Hefferle, the Orange Bowl heros to the Chief, Art Rooney who was a gifted athlete of the 1920s teams. Prior to that the Dukes probably ran a single wing back into the 1800's but I'm sure the Dukes found a way to chuck that rounded ball too. It seems that Duquesne has been able to live well off the pass and die when they could not.

No matter how many times we play the Albany Great Danes, I think back to the first time the Dukes played the Dane. It was the last game of the 2001 Season in the ECAC Bowl. Better known by Duquesne Fans as the "Slush Bowl", the Dukes' perfect season came to a slushy, blustery and frozen 24-0 end.

The Dukes went into the game with a 1-AA National Ranking and a real shot at being the first team from the "Mid-Majors" to make the NCAA 1-AA Playoffs. Their defense was more than respectable but their offense had been unstoppable. Unstoppable, except for when it became almost impossible to throw the ball through the high winds to receivers who became mortal under the frozen conditions. The one flaw that the 2002 team had was that it was geared only to a real high octane passing offense led by Neil Loebig.

Unfortunately for the Dukes, the one player who could have made a difference in the slush to balance out the passing game, Josh Rue, was declared ineligible just prior to the season. Josh was to be the featured back; a hard runner talented enough to make the roster of the Arizona Cardinals and still be playing professionally with the Pittsburgh Power. Rue carried the ball just 122 times for 916 yards and 12 TDs. His 7.51 yards per carry average was just shy of the NCAA Division I-AA record of 7.52 set by Adrian Peterson of Georgia Southern in 1998. Without Rue and unable to pass, the Dukes exposed their Achilles heal.

This year, the Great Danes probably have a better team than their 2002 edition, but then again so do the Dukes.

Prediction: Larry McCoy, now being mentioned seriously for the Walter Payton Trophy for being the bet back in the FCS will provide the balance that the 2002 team didn't have to beat the Great Danes. He may be the best back the Dukes have had since... perhaps even better. Dukes over Danes 27-21.

See the poll at right to voice you opinion on Larry and Josh- I ran it last year and just re-opened it.

Click the title or cut this link into your browser for a great article on Josh Rue and the Pittsburgh Power Arena League Team- http://www.arenafootball.com/news/eastern-division-roll-call-josh-rue

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Duquesne Breaks Away From Bulldogs 31-28

If you were not at the game between Duquesne and Bryant to determine which would get the early lead in the NEC Conference race, you may have a hard time wondering why the game was very much in doubt until the very end.

Statistically, this game looked like the Duquesne Dukes should have had an easier time dispatching the visitors. The home team in front of the Homecoming crowd led in just about every significant team and individual category including First Downs, Passing Yards, Rushing Yards, Punting Average (Net and Average), Punt return yardage, Kickoff Yardage, Average Gaine per Play, Time of Possession, Third Down Conversions, and Sacks. They narrowly lost the kickoff return average which really didn’t figure in the game’s outcome. It’s not that Duquesne’s margin was close. For example, they outgained the Bulldogs by over 100 yards and held the ball for almost 10 minutes more. It can’t be blamed on the bad breaks since the Dukes won the turnover battle too.

So why was this game so close?

Much like Duquesne’s only loss of the young season by a single point to Bucknell, the Dukes seemed to outplay the opposition and led in the statistical categories. The closeness of either game can’t be blamed upon individual effort.

Offensively, Duquesne had plenty of heroes. The best example would be the pure guts shown by Larry McCoy to grind out a very hard earned 153 yards and a touchdown against a determined Bryant defense. These yards weren’t ripped off in chunks as they were the week before. Of the five receptions thrown at Conner Dixon three went for touchdowns. This man proved again that he can find the end zone. Sean Patterson didn't have the game he had the week before but he certainly didn’t play badly with over 200 total yards passing and running on a sloppy day. One interception was the ricochet type that bounced off the receiver and the other can be forgiven.

The Duquesne Defense had a number of standouts too. Horvin Latimer and Khiry Carter had 8 stops with Mike Passodelis and newly activated Dorian Bell right behind with 7 and 6 respectively. Collectively, the Dukes had 6 stops in the backfield and three sacks. (IMHO- The Dukes need to find a way to keep Latimer, Dozie and Bell on the field at the same time.)

Nor can this game’s closeness be attributed to the special teams. Charlie Leventry showed again that the faithful can finally relax. Hitting on all field goal and PAT attempts and producing a healthy 41.2 yard punting average. He has shown that he can kick under pressure and in the rain as well.

This was just a good back and forth game where the Bulldogs lived up to their nicknames and somehow refused to let the Dukes pull away until Richie Piekarski’s interception with about two minutes left in the game. Every time the Dukes took a lead, Bryant seemed to have an answer with 5 lead changes during the game. Bryant's Jordan Brown, whose 1-yard run in the third quarter gave Bryant a 21-17 lead, ran for 142 yards and two scores. The Bulldogs held their final lead 28-24 on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Mike Croce to Jordan Harris with 12:44 left.

How do the cliques go? You have to "put the final nail in the coffin", "put your foot on their throat", "finish them off", "put them away", "close the door", "Don't let them hang around" etc., etc. The Dukes let this team hang around but this time pulled it out. This is a great team with tons of potential to go very far if it learns to "slam that lid". Bryant is a good team. If the Dukes can go as far as their talent can take them, they will face better in November.

Duquesne honored their past with some neat looking "Iron Dukes" 70's jerseys and have also determined this year to honor the Dukes team that won the 1937 Orange Bowl.

Next week, the Dukes travel to Albany for a 1:00 start.

Photo provided by Duquesne Athletics.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Duquesne is still the only NEC team from Pennsylvania to beat the Bulldogs when they travelled to Smithfield, Rhode Island for their closing 37-29 victory of the year. The Bulldogs will look for revenge here at Rooney since the Dukes were also the only team to beat them at their home field last year.

This is the second week in a row that the Dukes will match their top running back against another of the nation’s leading running backs. Bryant’s junior Jordan Brown averages 149.8 yards per game and is second in the NEC to last week’s opponent’s Kyle Harbridge who had been averaging over 180 yards per game before the Duke’s D held him to just 76 yards. The Dukes' Larry McCoy averages 135.5 yards per game.

There is still no official word on whether Dorian Bell will be allowed to play vs. Bryant even though there have been numerous signals that he would be available. The coaching staff may be downplaying his entry.

The Dukes are at the top on both sides iof the ball so far this season, ranking fourth in the FCS in both total offense (493.8 ypg) and total defense (255.5 ypg).

Bryant senior quarterback Mike Croce has fully recovered after a preseason injury. Last week against Wagner, he for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

Prediction: Duquesne's D holds another premier back under 100 as the balanced offense does its job again.

Duquesne 27 Bryant 19

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Maybe I’m just putting to much thought into it but I felt terrible writing the headline for this game. “St. Francis Pummeled” sounds like you’re about to read a story about a biblical stoning while cheering on the bad guys… “Dukes Dominate St. Francis” is even worse since it sounds like a bad horror movie featuring a couple of satanic-masochistic Dracula figures.

Any way you summarize it, after giving up an early lead to St. Francis, the game quickly became a highlight reel of big play offense for the Dukes. The stats speak for themselves as Duquesne opened conference play on TV and under the lights by racking up 553 Total yards. They could have had considerably more had they not started taking out their starters in the 3rd quarter.

Even with the show of offensive fire power, the biggest statistic of the night was contributed by the Duquesne defense in holding the nation’s leading Division I rusher Kyle Harbridge to just 76 yards and under 4 yards per carry. Last week Harnridge had a record-setting, 346 yards against Moorhead State. Amazingly, Harbridge wasn’t heavily recruited and had to make the team as a walk-on. Coming into the game he was ahead of South Carolina’s Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Lattimore with Duquesne’s Larry McCoy in 6th place nationally. Harbridge and Lattimore had been the only backs to pass 500 yards before yesterday’s game.

McCoy joined the 500 Club adding 153 yards to his new total of 542 before being taken out in the 3rd quarter. Opening up a lead took St. Francis out of their offensive game plan to lean on their star running back.

Duquesne showed a very balanced attack with 263 total yards running and 290 yards passing. Sean Patterson personally typified the balance with 290 yards through the air and another 75 rushing yards. This was even without rushing/receiving combo back Bill Bair who was held out of the game. It took Graduate student Conner Dixon only 4 receptions to reach 175 yards and 2 touchdowns. Isaac Spragg added 4 receptions and a TD while TE Brian Layhue pulled in the other touchdown pass of 17 yards. It almost seemed unfair as last minute substitute freshman cornerback Calvin Bane was mercilessly targeted early and often by the Dukes, particularly by Dixon who was more than a half foot taller.

Punter/Kicker Charlie Leventry continues to gain confidence as he gave Duquesne an early 6-0 lead before St. Francis took it’s only lead 7-6 after a muffed punt to give a short field TD. Leventry barely missed a try from 50 yards which would have been the longest recorded field goal for the Dukes. Leventry didn’t have much practice with his other duties with only 2 punts all night.

Friday, September 23, 2011

St. Francis Preview

The Duquesne Dukes have played the team from St. Francis far more often than any other team in our football history in a series that began before World War I. According to the College Football Data Warehouse, Duquesne won that first game in 1913 by a score of 19-0 and would win all but 6 of the next 37. Duquesne fans seem to have developed a special relationship with the Red Flash (or as we lovingly call them the “Frankies”) almost akin to them being our little brothers. We root for them to win every game they play except, of course, when they play Duquesne.

But like any good little brother, they aren’t supposed to win when they play big brother. If they do, it can be traumatic to our psyche. It throws our vision of our place in the football universe into a tailspin. As recent as last year, I remember being upset with our family member from St. Francis when they pulled out of playing basketball against Duquesne for taking away for sure a D-I opponent win. It forced us to play a game against a D-II opponent to get the “gimme”.

I can remember thinking that when we last played in Loretto under the lights that this would be a W on our schedule.

I was wrong… hurray for the underdog… little brother finally landed one square on the jaw of their domineering big brother by a score of 31-14. The game wasn’t even that close.

After two years of therapy, I’m finally ok with being blown away at St. Francis. I’ve actually aware of a new found respect for our private catholic school brothers just to the east. In fact, I’m even proud of them to a point that the Dukes now must take them seriously and bring their best or the same thing will happen. This is actually better for both teams. I know that some of the coaching staff are nervous, but with a nervousness that forces the anxiety to be well prepared. Hopefully Duquesne fans will take the enjoyable and scenic, less than 2 hour drive to see a great game... and enjoy the ride back too.

Good luck brother… bring your best to this family feud and we hope you win all the other games on your schedule but this one!

SFU rallied from 18 points down in the fourth quarter to earn a 50-49 win against Morehead State Sept. 17.

The St. Francis game will be televised on PCNC, MSG+ (HD), Fox8 Altoona/Johnstown (HD), ROOT Sports Pittsburgh (tape delay Oct. 3 at 6:00 p.m.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Out of Town for Valpo Game

Sorry there is no article on the Valpo win. I was out of town. I promised mt wife a wekkend away for her Birthday and somehow didn't think I could get away with staying behind to write for the blog. I did catch the score but not the game.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


The final 23-13 score was not a very good indicator of just how much of a classic back and forth and bitterly contested game this game was. Duquesne and Dayton are Atlantic 10 rivals in all other sports but it’s a true shame that they aren’t in the same football conference. The game truly came down to a 50 yard field goal try that was blocked and run back for the final score by Jared Williams. The 10 point final score margin was the widest advantage ether team had all day.

The game showed good offense and defensive play by both teams with Duquesne moving the ball well on their opening drives but with little to show for their efforts. Charlie Leventry missed wide left on an easy 25 yarder on the opening drive after the Dukes drove to the Flyers 7 yard line. Leventry would more than make up for the miss later. After a three and out by Dayton the Dukes drove again on the strength of Larry McCoy as far as the Dayton 34 before backing up and being forced to punt. McCoy ripped of runs of 19 and 6 yards on the drive.

Dayton’s next possession was their shortest if you measure it by time of possession, but their longest in yardage. Taylor Harris took the ball 83 yards at the 5:26 mark to put Dayton up 7-0

The two teams slugged it out back and forth until McCoy and Bill Bair combined with Sean Patterson to move the Dayton 10 yard line. Bair looked like he was on the way into the end zone before he got tripped up on the turf and went down at the Dayton 10. Patterson completed a clutch third and goal from the 10 to newly eligible Conner Dixon to tie it at 7.

The teams traded field position and field goals back and forth with Leventry hitting a career long 40 yarder and a final 23 yard field goal with only 30 seconds left after a clutch defensive stop and a drive down to the Flyer 7.

Duquesne allowed Dayton to make it interesting at the end with a “squib kick” that gave the Flyers the ball out almost to mid-field. Dayton was able to move the ball just far enough to attempt the 50 yarder that would end the game with the deciding block and runback. Other than the missed field goal squib kick that can’t be blamed on Leventry, he finally showed that he was becoming comfortable handling both the kicking and punting duties. He would blast a clutch 63 yarder in the 2nd quarter.

Individual Efforts: Leventry’s game was probably his most satisfying but Larry McCoy just kept doing what Larry McCoy does with his 8th 100 yard game in his last 10 games. Patterson played well both passing and running the ball in a varied offense that rung up 198 running yards and 254 passing yards on a very good Dayton Defense.

Overall, the Dukes played with poise and refused to allow the Flyers to get a sizable lead, showing much better effort than their last second loss at Bucknell. Dayton’s last loss and last home loss were both to the Dukes. Many felt that the Flyers deserved to make the FCS Playoff Field last year. Their 10 game win streak had been longest in the FCS and included two wins over last year’s NEC Champ Robert Morris.

Next week the Dukes are finally at home to Valparaiso at a 12:10 start time at Rooney Field. The game can be heard on WMNY 1360 am and on Redzone Media.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Forgive me for the lack of objectivity in writing the game story from Duquesne’s season opener. This is one game where my role as a blog writer gets trumped by my role as a die-hard fan. I started to write the article for this game about three or four times and each time I had to put the computer aside and walk away. There have been some games such as the Monmouth game last year that left a similar taste but for some reason, the Duke’s loss to Bucknell was even more heartbreaking. Duquesne possessed the better team on paper and on the field yesterday but let the game get away suffering a 27-26 loss in the last moments of a game where they led from the beginning.

Rather, they refused to put the game away. The loss to Bucknell wasn’t due to the lack of talent, enthusiasm, or even the lack of effort. It was due to the lack of attitude. Attitude is an intangible thing that you can sense but struggle to define. Coach Schmitt sensed that his team didn’t have it and did his best to spark his team to get it. A superior team can give up a win to a team that has that has more of a “refuse to lose” attitude. When you have the better team, you can’t blame the breaks, a blocked extra point, the refs, injuries, the clock, the home field advantage or anything but yourself for not coming away with a win.

This season has 10 games left and the entire conference schedule. Yes it was good to see Larry McCoy gut out 100+ yards, to see Dozie back and playing well and to see Conner Dixon back catching his first TD of the season when nobody though he’d be playing. It was fantastic to see Isaac Spragg step up as receiver. However, no individual performance can outweigh the lack of the winning attitude from the Dukes yesterday. This a collective attribute that has to be owned by the entire team and the team can either learn from this loss or be condemned to repeat it.

I’ll stop here and leave the game summary to the newspapers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Last year the Dukes won a close 17-13 game at home vs their traditional opening foe Bucknell. The Bison should be a bigger and more experienced challenge on the road. Going into last year, Bucknell was led by new coach Joe Susan, a true freshman QB, and were running new offensive and defensive schemes.

ON BUCKNELL: Bucknell was picked to finish 5th in the Patriot conference this year and should be improved over last year’s squad, particularly on offense. The Bison changed out their option attack to a pro style offense so they should have it down better particularly since it was being run by a true freshman QB Brandon Wesley.

The Bison should be more experienced on defense as well with their 4-2-5 base alignment. The Defensive line includes Josh Eden, a two-time All-Patriot first-team selection and an FCS single-season record setter with eight blocked kicks last year and DT Robert De La Rosa, who has 18.5 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. This may force the Dukes to speed up their punting and kicking on special teams now likely to be both handled by Charlie Leventry.

The Patriot has 7 teams but Fordham is ineligible to compete for the league title since they have determined to award scholarships. The Patriot voted to table the issue of scholarships during the past year.

Good and Mixed News on Eligibility- WR Conner Dixon was declared to have one more year of eligibility by the NCAA and will join the team in Lewisburg but has not been practicing. No news yet on Dorian Bell’s ability to play although I believe he has been allowed to practice.

The game is broadcast on WMNY 1360 AM and on Redzone Media

From the new office: Paste this link into browser to view Coach Schmitt on Bucknell from the Duquesne Athletic Dept. Site: http://www.goduquesne.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/090211aab.html

PREDICTION/ODDS: Duquesne 24-17. The Dukes are favored by 2 by Sagarin and the opening RPI.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

5 Star Linebacker Transfers to Duquesne

This may be the first legitimate 5 Star recruit landed by Duquesne since the 1950s. Even the NFL's Leigh Bodden wasn't ranked that high- (Bodden is back with the Patriots after the injury that kept him out most of last year).

Linebacker Dorian Bell has officially transferred to Duquesne from Ohio State. He is enrolled and has joined the team according to his Twitter account (@DBell11):
"Duquesne.. Is my home now.. Fully enrolled..." Bell, according to most projections, was to start for the Buckeyes this fall.

Mr. Bell was a 5-Star recruit out of Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pennsylvania in 2009 and has two years of eligibility remaining. He should be able to play this year since he is going from BCS to FCS. Duquesne will be exceptionally gifted and deep at linebacker.

He had been suspended from the Ohio State team for the 2011 season for a third "unspecified violation of team rules" back in May and had been then rumored to be heading to Pitt.

It would be good if Dorian finds the support and structure he needs back here at home and on the Bluff. Its a big difference from a Saturday at Columbus to a Saturday at Rooney.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dukes/Red Flash Face Off on NEC TV

Duquesne's game at Saint Francis is listed as part of the 2011 NEC Football TV Schedule. TheDukes and Red Flash are to meet under the lights at DeGol on Sept. 24. Rumor has it that St. Francis is starting a marching band to go with their neat new stadium. This should be worth the trip.

No word yet if any local stations are picking it up live.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dukes Picked to Finish Second in the NEC Coach's Poll

2011 Northeast Conference
Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Central Conn. St. (5)
2. Duquesne (2)
3. Robert Morris (1)
4. Albany
5. Bryant (1)
6. Monmouth
7. Wagner
8. Sacred Heart
9. Saint Francis (PA)

First place votes in parentheses ( ).
Not bad progress. The Dukes are catching up after the other teams had a bit of a head star with scholarship players. See NEC Press Release Link- http://www.northeastconference.org/Pdfs/fball/2011/8/3/FB%20Preseason%20Poll%20Release%2011.pdf

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Keller Fieldhouse at Rooney to be Dedicated August 6

July 22, 2011

Duquesne University will officially dedicate The Keller Fieldhouse at Rooney Field on Saturday, August 6. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. at the fieldhouse doors will be followed by tours of the facility and a cocktail reception along nearby Academic Walk.

The facility, funded by private donations including a lead gift from Jerome C. Keller, E'65, H'91, includes renovated and expanded locker rooms and offices for Duquesne's football program. It follows the installation of permanent grandstands and a new playing surface at Rooney Field in 2009.

The reception will include a full bar and hors d'oeuvres; admission is $50 per person. For more details and reservations, contact Bryan Colonna at 412.396.5927 or colonna770@duq.edu.

(This is a nice step up for the program. Initial reaction from the staff is very positive.)

NEC Conference Coverage

Nice articles in The Sports Network about Bryant's move to the FCS and RI's move to the NEC. The Dukes beat Bryant last year in New England. If The Sports Network is claiming that they made the transition to legitimate FCS, this says good things about Duquesne's program. See link at- http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page=cfoot2/news/news.aspx?id=4422388

Also a good article on RI stepping up as they transfer to the NEC. See- http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page=cfoot2/news/news.aspx?id=4421578 .

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A-10 Brother Charlotte Rejected by 2 FCS Conferences

The Charlotte Observer reported that the 49ers were rejected by two FCS conferences (Southerern and Big South) when they begin playing football in the FCS in 2013. Speculation is that they were rejected because of their intentions to go BCS eventually.

See- http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/06/09/2362232/2-leagues-turn-down-49ers-bid.html

Rule out the Patriot and Pioneer. They don't offer scholarships. The only workable solution if the CAA doesn't work is the NEC. Current fellow A-10 member Duquesne is there along Rhode Island joining in 2013. The other associate member, Albany takes its football pretty seriously. Both Duquesne and Albany have pounded lumps on Patriot League teams in the last few years and have beaten or played well against CAA teams. Duquesne was the only team to beat Pioneer power Dayton. The NEC has passed up or will pass ups all the lower rung conferences including the Patriot, Pioneer, Big South, Southern etc. in both he RPI and Sagarin Football Rankings since they went scholarship.

An even better idea would be to get the A-10 leadership working on an A-10 Football League with A-10 Charter Members Dayton, Fordham, Duquesne, Rhode Island, Charlotte and Richmond since UMass is going BCS. Throw in a few good teams like Albany, Stony Brook and Old Dominion. The A-10 could field a top FCS Conference if they ever got the idea to also bring in Maine and New Hampshire as RI decided to do.- both left out of the CAA's move south.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April was biggest month ever for the Blog

I didn't expect it but interest in the new recruiting class and Spring Practices must have attracted a lot more buzz for Duquesne Football. April just passed October, 2010 as the busiest month for this Blog with now well over 2,000 visits. Total views since September, 2010 are now over 12,000.

Go Duquesne!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


-There was something familiar about this years spring game other than the usual spring showers. He had 3 tackles and a sack. We'll all have to re-learn his name- it's Chidozie Oparanizie.

-One pleasant surprise was Charlie Leventry's 46 yard field goal. Eric Duale had ended the year strongly and is still on the roster.

- Freshman Sean Brady took a step to show who would be there to replace Conner Dixon and co. by pulling two catches for 17 yards.

-Fourteen players were held out of the game due to injury or recovery from surgery.

-Backup QB Marty Mitchell gained some valuable playing time and completed 4 of 5 passes for 44 yards. Sean Patterson completed his only attempt.

- Bill Bair scored a rushing touchdown and Ryan Ho continued to impress with a long run of 23 yards. Marcus Hughes was given 5 carries to gain 27 yards.

-Alex broadcast the Spring Game and interviews on Red Zone but the link from Red Zone is gone. Alex- If you read this, send along the link. You had a few great interviews that I'm sure many will be interested in.

Dave Mackall's Trib article- http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/college/s_732693.html

Photo courtesy Duquesne Athletics


The Dukes' Spring Game is this Saturday, April 16 at 2:00 pm at Rooney Field.

Come on out to cheer on the Dukes and get a look at what promises to be an excellent recruiting class and a solid group of returnees!

I have to start writing again- If it is any measure of Duquesne fan excitement for Spring Football and the Spring Game, we had almost as many hits on this site this week as we have during the regular season.

UPDATE- April is now has the third third most hits on this site since its beginning last summer and the month is not yet over. At this rate, it will be at least the second biggest month and has the chance to be the first with well over 2,00 views.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Naming Rights at Rooney...

Don't get me wrong, the Dukes membership in the NEC appears to be a great decision for now. The program and the conference are really heading upfield. Their 2011 Recruit Class may be their best ever.

But I'd like to make a suggestion. To make even more progress, the Athletic Department should consider raising some money for the program by selling naming rights to different parts of Rooney Field. The following is mentioned for consideration...

10. Heinz Field of Dreams "Not-so-Grande" Stands
(Don't build it so they don't come)

9. Comfort Inn "Park Bench and Concrete Slab" Visitor/Student Section
(You won't have to pay to sit on cold cement) &
(Some day we'll even turn the benches around to FACE the field!)

8. Miller Light Bluff Street Tailgate Area
(I know, we don't tailgate in Pittsburgh... do we?)

7. Scott's Turf-Builder End Zone Seating Area
(Keep off the grass)

6. Smith Hot Dog 50 Yard Line Concession Area
(The best seat in the house is at our condiment table)

5. Minnie-Me Press Box/Box Seating Area
(No, we really don't want much press coverage or luxury boxes- We'd rather sell hot dogs on the first floor at the 50 yard line)

4. St. Mary's Convent Scoreboard
(We have a vow of silence to consider)

3. The Straub Tailgate Area (Progress made- Already here with this one!)
(We're really just a covered, over-priced picnic area)

2. The Fritz Funeral Home Dead Zone Marching Band
(We'd rather see a guy, his dog and a Frisbee at the half... again)

1. Puny Field
(The field doesn't really fit the name Rooney)

I hate to sound negative when the program is really going in the right direction but seriously, how can we ever hope to get a decent team like Delaware or Youngstown State to ever want to play here and why would fans want to come back? It is an absolute miracle that J.S is able to recruit kids to play in front of these bleachers. This field has the potential to be a fantastic place to watch an FCS game but nobody sees the potential.

The Pirates can still attract fans to their games by building a small but well designed field... No matter what they put ON the field.

Duquesne will draw MUCH better too if they do the same- particularly since they can field a winning team.

Five last "honorable mentions"-

-The WQED "Things that aren't There Anymore Expanded Seating Area"

-The Imagination Entertainment East End Zone President's Box (2nd Floor addition atop the pool building- What a view of the game and Downtown!)- This allows the following...

-The Alex P. 3rd Floor Press Box Addition (I really will miss hearing the coach's colorful language on the air).

-The "Nobody Cares About Traditions Trophy"- To the winner of the Duquesne-RMU Game.

-The "Tree Falls in the Woods" Pep Band- If you can't hear them, are they really there?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Steel City Coaching Legends Trophy Update

My appreciation to both Judge Jack and Always a Duke for meeting at the Red Ring to resurrect the idea of awarding a challenge trophy to the winner of the annual Duquesne Robert Morris game. We discussed changing the name of the trophy to the Pittsburgh Coaching Legends Trophy.

This trophy would then honor coaches such as Pop Warner, Elmer Layden, Chuck Clausing and Joe Walton. Between these 4 men, they represent all Pittsburgh colleges that have ever played, many high school and even the NFL. Together, at least one was actively coaching from football's beginning in the 1880's al the way to the present- Warner- 1880's to 1920's, Layden- 1920's to 1950's, Klausing- 1950's to 1990's and Walton from the 1990's to the present.

Three of the four are in the College Football Hall of Fame and all were at least considered.

We hope to raise money to present a donation to the winner's need based scholarship program.

The trophy theme still is "For all the Marbles"

Shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to join the committee.

Stay tuned for further details.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Welcome to our First Visitor from Moldova!

This Duquesne Football Blog is everywhere! So far we have had well over 12,000 hits just this year from just about every world nation (some are obviously repeat customers). The Duquesne family welcomes its first fan from Moldova!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Expert Opinion of The Formula that Ended the "Beer Curse": WINNER- DUQUESNE!

I recently discovered how the renewed production of Duquesne Beer ended the 30 year curse on Duquesne Basketball. Duquesne Beer was produced in Pittsburgh from 1899 to 1972. During this time, Duquesne Basketball was one of the best programs in the nation. Once the beer ended production, the basketball program suffered. Now that the beer is again flowing, so is Duquesne men's Basketball. Better news yet- the new product seems to be taking good effect on Duquesne's women's team, soccer, and the football program!

Not only did the beer end the curse on basketball, the experts assert that it seems to be a great beer. I especially like like the last line- "Winner Duquesne"

Fox News reviewed "beverages" from both Green Bay and Pittsburgh to see which city would win a contest of taste. This is how Duquesne stacked up-

The Microbrews – Titletown Brewing Company 400 Honey Ale vs. Duquesne Pilsener Beer
Duquesne Pilsener is a beer out of Pittsburgh's storied past that was recently resurrected by Pittsburgh entrepreneur Mark J. Dudash and is contract brewed by City Brewing. Lined up against 400 Honey Ale, a beer made with Wisconsin honey and perfectly suited for a day on the couch with spicy foods and football, Duquesne would seem to be the underdog. But just like Pittsburgh's defense, what you see on the surface isn't necessarily what you'll get. 400 Honey Ale is as tasty and as drinkable as Ines Sainz, but just like the subject the alleged cell phone pics of a certain one-time Packers QB - there's just not quite enough there to maintain anyone's interest. Muted sweetness and hoppy spice give way to a quickly fading fruit note. Duquesne, on the other hand, seems tailor-made for tailgates and barbecues. With rich malty notes up front, and a touch of bitter hops leading the way for crisp carbonation and a clean and dry finish, it's a bottle to latch on to. Winner: Duquesne

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/...#ixzz1D5hW75S8

No, I don't work for the Duquesne Beer Co.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Great Article on Dukes Asst. Head Coach Mike Silianoff

Duquesne grad Robert Healy has put together a pretty neat on-line suburban newspaper- The Baldwin Whitehall Patch. The Patch has a well written article on Dukes Asst. Head Coach Mike Silianoff.

This is the type of guy, along with others like Dave Loya, who you want to have around to be both a successful and honorable program. They can coach and are at heart, like their Head Coach, good and decent people.

See: http://baldwin-whitehall.patch.com/articles/mike-silianoff-a-coach-making-a-difference

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Offense- Duquesne showed 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 were 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.

Special Teams- 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.

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. Extending his contract was the right thing to do.

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.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gattuso moving to Maryland

Former Duquesne Head Coach Greg Gattuso was just hired at Maryland under Randy Edsall. I was hoping that they would keep him at Pitt if they ever make a decision to hire Bradley since they are both Penn State guys. Gattuso was arguably their most competent coach on their staff and it was great to have the tie in between the two programs.

First they rush into a decision to hire the wrong guy and now they drag their feet and are losing recruits and coaches. Timing is everything and Pitt ain't got it!

Good luck Greg!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Duquesne Football Offices Moved to Fifth Avenue

I was switching back and forth from listening to the Women's Basketball broadcast win over Pitt as the guys team was beating St. Joseph's and Alex was interviewing John Rosato. Congratulate John for making the local Italian Hall of Fame. Alex also mentioned that the Football Offices are now in a building along Fifth Avenue until the locker room and offices are remodeled.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 and 1899 Duquesne Teams Added as Honorable Mentions to the 1891-2010 All-Time Top 20 List

The 2010 Edition of the Duquesne Dukes was just added as an Honorable Mention to the All-Time Best List for the Duquesne Dukes Football Teams from 1891 to the present (See List to Right). Although their 7-4 record is actually slightly lower than the other teams listed as Honorable Mentions, the 2010 Team was added based upon their strength of schedule which were mostly scholarship teams including Delaware, the team that may be the eventual FCS Champion. The only teams on the 2010 schedule that were not scholarship teams were powerful 10-1 Dayton and Bucknell from the Patriot League. Using the Delaware game as a yardstick, this 2010 team showed that it could move the ball against the CAA and potential National Champion at their home better than most of their other opponents while the Dukes Defense held the Blue Hens to 23 points. Other than the Monmouth game, the Dukes represented themselves very well in their other 10 games.

The other Duquesne Team was a real "Old-Timers" selection. After reviewing the winning percentages of all 81 other recorded Duquesne Teams to see where the 2010 Team fell, it was determined to include the 1899 Duquesne Team as well. Although the 1899 Team played only four games, they were undefeated in those games and outscored their opponents 2-1.

One other change to the Rankings was to move up the 1940 Team to #6 after some research on that year's team. Their only loss was very close one at a very good Ole Miss squad.

Congratulations to Coach Schmitt and 2010 Team, Coach Donelli and the 1940 Team, and also a very belated well done to Coach Walker and his 1899 Team.

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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