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
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!
NOTES- 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
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.
What was the first collegiate team on record to play Duquesne? (Duquesne was known back then as Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost)
“For all the Marbles” in the Steel City
The Pittsburgh Coaching Legends Trophy will not be the first award offered to recognize the winner of local college football contests. In December of 1936, The Pittsburgh City Council authorized Mayor Cornelius D. Scully to award a Championship Cup not to exceed $2000 in cost to Duquesne as the top collegiate football program in the city that year. That year, the Dukes went on to win the Orange Bowl in Miami as well. The cup was presented each year until one of the three universities could win it three consecutive years, claiming permanent ownership of the cup. It would be interesting to know if either trophy still exists in a dusty trophy case somewhere on the campuses of Pitt, Duquesne, or CMU.
Pitt and Carnegie Tech had a still earlier similar cup awarded by the city until Pitt was able to win three years in a row, claiming ownership. Technically, Pitt and Carnegie Mellon could still play for the Layden Cup but it is unlikely in the near future given the differences in their assigned collegiate NCAA Divisions. At present, Duquesne and Robert Morris are the only two teams likely to play for the Cup although Pitt does usually play an FCS opponent each year.
I would like to offer the cup to the Heinz History Center’s Sports Museum to house and perhaps set up a small display recording all of the times the local teams went head to head against each other.
The Layden Cup
The games began with the first in 1901 between Duquesne (then the Pittsburg College of the Holy Ghost)and Pitt (then known as the Western University of Pennsylvania). Between Pitt (29 wins), CMU [originally Carnegie Tech] (18 wins), Duquesne (15 wins) and RMU (5 wins), I need 29 gold marbles, 18 red marbles, 15 or more blue marbles and 5 or more white marbles along with 2 clear marbles to represent the two ties. Overall there have been 69 games played in head to head Steel City College Football. This year's game allows either Duquesne or RMU to add the 70th marble.
One problem- I need help to find these marbles and my wife will shoot me if I spend any more on the trophy. Is anybody able to help? There will soon be a picture of the cup here on this blog when the face plate is added. There already are some articles from the past below as the idea of a Steel City Challenge Cup developed.
Alternate colors to represent the teams could be Pitt (gold), Duquesne (red), CMU (white) and RMU (blue).
The Elmer Layden Cup Steel City Collegiate Football Challenge Cup
Elmer Layden was the first Duquesne coach to play both Pitt and Carnegie Tech (Later Carnegie-Mellon). Layden had been one of Grantland' Rice's famed Four Horsemen of Notre Dame and later went on to become the NFL's first commissioner. The Dukes would win their first New Years Day game under Layden, the 1934 Festival of Palms Bowl. The bowl was re-named the Orange Bowl the following year. Duquesne would win the Orange Bowl again later that decade.
Past winners of head to head Pittsburgh Rivalry games are listed below.
1901- Pitt over Duquesne 18-0
1903- Duquesne over Pitt 10-6
1910- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 35-0
1923- Carnegie Tech over Pitt 7-2
1924- Carnegie Tech over Pitt 6-0
1925- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 12-0
1931- Duquesne tied Carnegie Tech 0-0
1932- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 6-0
Pitt over Duquesne 33-0
1933- Pitt over Duquesne 7-0
1934- Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 3-0
1935- Duquesne over Carnegie Tech, 7-0
1936- Duquesne over Pitt 7-0
Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 13-0
1937- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 25-14
Pitt over Duquesne 6-0
Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 6-0
1938- Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 21-0
Pitt over Duquesne 27-0
1939- Duquesne over Pitt 21-13 (Last Pitt-Duquesne)
Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 22-7
1940- Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 14-7
Pitt over Carnegie Tech, 6-0
1941- Pitt over Carnegie Tech, 27-0 (Last Pitt-Carnegie Tech)
1980- CMU over Duquesne 39-7
1981- Duquesne over CMU 27-10
1982- CMU over Duquesne 19-0
1983- CMU over Duquesne 14-11
1984- CMU over Duquesne 20-14
1985- CMU over Duquesne 31-10
1986- CMU over Duquesne 33-22
1987- CMU over Duquesne 17-13
1988- CMU over Duquesne 24-14
1989- Duquesne over CMU 11-10
1990- CMU over Duquesne 31-8
1991- CMU over Duquesne 28-14
1994- Robert Morris over Duquesne 28-6
1995- Robert Morris over Duquesne 38-20
1996- Robert Morris over Duquesne 28-26 (ECAC Bowl)
1998- Duquesne over Robert Morris 24-22
2003- Duquesne over Robert Morris 33-28
2004- Robert Morris over Duquesne 34-14
2005- Duquesne over Robert Morris 23-12
2006- Duquesne over Robert Morris 27-7
2007- Duquesne over Robert Morris 17-14
2008- Robert Morris over Duquesne 34-27
2009- Duquesne over Robert Morris 34-20
STEEL CITY FOOTBALL RIVALRIES
It was in 1901 that that Pitt, then known as Western University of PA, would win the first recorded contest between Steel City teams with a 18-0 win over Duquesne. Duquesne was known at the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost until 1911. Duquesne or PCC/HG returned the favor in 1903, beating Pitt 10-6. In 1906 Pitt beat up on Carnegie Tech 35-0. Tech got revenge in the next game, but had to wait 17 years in 1923 by a score of 7-2. Duquesne’s teams reached prominence under coach and former Notre Dame Four Horseman, Elmer Layden. One of their standout early players was Steeler founder and namesake of Rooney Field, Art Rooney Sr.. Art Sr. was their quarterback and place kicker in the 1920’s. It took Duquesne’s 41st year after starting a program to play in an inter-city game with Carnegie Tech, drawing 0-0 in a charity game in 1931.
The Pittsburgh college football rivalries took off BIG TIME after that. All three teams, Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie Tech, were ranked often in the first national college football rankings put out by the Associated Press.
As the teams became better, the rivalries became bitter. All three teams played nationally known opponents including Notre Dame and the then powerful service academies. But they often faced more determined battles in their own back yards. Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie-Tech all played in New Year’s Day Bowls, but National Championships were up for grabs when they met during their regular season. Back then only the very top teams played in the Rose, Orange (First known as the Festival of Palms Bowl) and Cotton Bowls. There were no Outback Bowls or the dozens of other modern bowls that cheapen the achievement today.
The college game and its rivalries actually dominated local sports to a point where the same Art Rooney had to take the Steelers on the road to places like Johnstown, Louisville, and New Orleans to sell tickets.
Unfortunately the rivalry between Pitt and Duquesne ended in 1939 with a Pitt loss to the Dukes. Pitt was ranked #1 in the nation by the AP going into the game. The Dukes went on to an undefeated season that year and finished in the AP Top Ten and #1 in the Massey Ratings (See article below). The last game of the great city rivalry came in 1943 when Pitt also ended their series with Carnegie Tech, beating the Tartans handily 45-6. By then, Duquesne had folded its team for World War II and only briefly tried again after the war. Pitt’s rivalries then turned to Penn State and today’s Backyard Brawl with West Virginia.
The Pittsburgh collegiate rivalry lay dormant for decades until Duquesne’s club football team stepped up to Division III and re-ignited their rivalry with the Tartans of Carnegie Mellon. CMU and Duquesne played spirited games from 1980 to 1991 at times even at Three Rivers Stadium. When Duquesne stepped up again to 1-AA, the Steel City Rivalries ended again.
It didn’t end for long. A new collegiate team would be founded a century after Pitt and Duquesne began theirs in Pittsburgh. Robert Morris started from scratch under the direction of former NFL head coach Joe Walton. Duquesne’s series with the Colonials began in 1994 with the Dukes holding a slight edge 5-4. Both teams were consistently ranked at or near the top of non-scholarship 1-AA football. Now, both teams are stepping up in talent when the NEC member Robert Morris began offering scholarships three years ago. Duquesne offered its first scholarship since 1950 when it joined the Northeast Conference this year.
And so, with both teams now in the same conference and stepping up in competition, the Steel City Football Rivalry is on again.
MAJOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL 1941: THE DUKES WERE # 1 !
More About Duquesne and Major College Football Rankings
Many recognized collegiate football ranking systems begin declaring national champions dating back to 1869 when Princeton was declared national champion by most systems. Controversy exists even in that year’s selection of the nation’s best by some systems rating Rutgers at the top. Back then there were no polls taken by sports writers such as the AP Top 25 or the USA Today Poll or the now defunct UPI Coaches Poll.
The most familiar and accepted current system, The Associated Press only released their first collegiate football ranking in 1934. No AP Poll was released in 1935 but they have been releasing continuous rankings since 1936. The only inconsistency with the AP Poll since 1936 relates to the years when they would not issue a final yearly ranking after the college bowl games.
College football teams from 1869 to the present are ranked very accurately and without regional prejudices by statistically based systems such as the Sagarin, Massey, Sorrenson, RPI, Dunkle and other computer models. Most of these commonly accepted and statistically sound models are fairly consistent since they all basically look at a teams record against their strength of schedule. Their formulas as to how to factor in data from when in the year a team lost or home field advantage do rate teams differently.
Thus, even when bias from a sports writer, coach, or fan is not considered, there is seldom a year when all agree as to who is the nation’s best college football team. Even then, who is to say the fans, coaches and writers shouldn’t have a say over cold computer calculations.
The current BCS System makes an effort to achieve some consensus by relying on both polling data and computer ranking systems. Obviously, even the BCS Series Rankings has never made all of the people happy all of the time.
This debate and controversy over whose team is the best is really part of what being a college football fan is all about.
Duquesne’s National Major Football Championship
All this being said, there was a time and respected system that has declared the Duquesne Dukes the National Champion. That honor belongs to the undefeated and untied 1941 edition of the Duquesne Dukes. This rating is no fluke. The ’41 Dukes gave up only 21 points all season and were led the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense. No major college team since has given up fewer points.
Only Duquesne, Minnesota and Duke finished the 1941 season undefeated and untied among major programs. Admittedly, Minnesota has been recognized by most ranking systems, including the AP as being the # 1 team in the nation that year. However the Massey Rating System has looked at the data and declares Duquesne to be the #1 team in the nation that year. Duquesne was considered to play in the Cotton Bowl that year. Had they been selected and gone on to beat Texas A & M they would have had a good claim over Minnesota.
The Massey System.
The first questions that most would ask are what is the Massey system and is it legitimate? It is legitimate to the point that the current BCS Series currently uses it to determine which teams are selected to play in the BCS Bowls and for the National Championship. The Massey Ratings may be the most scientific and full-featured system available.
Kenneth Massey has been doing these ratings since 1995 and offers previous ratings back to 1930 based upon available data. Massey’s system takes no short cuts. For example, most ratings give a standard home field advantage factor of about 4 points to all home teams. Massey makes the home field advantage factor more precise by analyzing each team’s performance at home vs. away and neutral site games to determine a more accurate facet in rating teams. In other words, winning at home doesn’t and shouldn’t have the same degree of advantage for all teams rated.
The Massey Ratings are also thought to be considerably accurate when considering strength of schedule. This is no easy task when considering the college football world of 1941 when the best in the country often still played considerably lesser-developed programs.
National Major College Football Classifications and Ratings
Duquesne’s first team was fielded in 1891. As most other college teams of the era, the original Dukes’ opponents were not necessarily from other colleges. They included athletic clubs and even high school teams. Nor were there restrictions that all team members had to be current or former students. This began to change as the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), was established on March 31, 1906 to set rules for college athletics. The IAAUS became the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1910.
Prior to 1937, ranking colleges was difficult since programs varied widely as to the class of opponents each school would play. Going undefeated against a schedule that included Notre Dame, Penn State and Michigan was obviously more impressive than one that included lesser opponents. With the advent of Bowl selections, the college football had to start separating the apples from the oranges.
In 1937 the NCAA began issuing a system that divided its collegiate football programs into Divisions and placed restrictions on how often teams from each division could play each other. In 1937, the top division was the “University” or “Major College” Division. In 1973, The NCAA restructured its classifications to rename the major programs “Division I”. Division I was subdivided into “I-A” and “1-AA” in 1978. Currently, Duquesne plays in Division I-AA or as the NCAA now officially calls it the “Championship” Subdivision of Division I vs. the “Bowl” Subdivision. Other current NCAA Divisions are II and III. The NAIA and the NCCAA govern smaller college athletic programs.
Massey considered all 119 NCAA Major College football programs when he ranked Duquesne # 1 in 1941. (See link at- http://www.masseyratings.com/cf/years.txt )
Duquesne’s Past Collegiate Classifications
Until the NCAA began to define the caliber of competition, Duquesne was considered an “Independent” collegiate football team along with all other college teams. When the University or Major Division was established in 1937, Duquesne was among this group of just over 100 other colleges and universities. Massey’s 1941 rating considered 119 Major Division teams when it selected Duquesne # 1 in the nation.
Unfortunately, just as Duquesne Football was reaching its highest potential nationally, the team was cut by the University due to the Second World War. Both the AP and Massey had ranked Duquesne teams throughout the 30’s and 40’s prior to the war. Massey ranks the 1933 Dukes at #8 and the 1936 Dukes # 2 in the nation. The AP ranks them at # 14 and # 8 respectively.
Duquesne briefly tried to re-establish the team after the war as a Major Division program, but gave up after the 1950 season. Students and volunteers would start Duquesne’s next team as a club.
Duquesne’s Other National Collegiate Football Championships
When Duquesne re-started its football program in 1969 as a club team, it was sanctioned by the now defunct NCFA. Duquesne was recognized as the National Club Champions in 1973 when they went 10 – 0 under coach Dan McCann and defeated Mattatuck 13-7 in the National Championship game played Three Rivers Stadium.
In 1979, the University again took over sponsorship of the program as an NCAA Division III program. Interestingly, Division III would be the only classification where Duquesne Football could not claim a national championship rating or ranking.
The program would be “upgraded” again in 1993 when it would move to the NCAA Division I-AA. However, the move to I-AA did not necessarily mean that the Dukes would be able to compete on even terms with most other I-AA programs since they would join an odd group of schools who were considered I-AA, but would not be allowed to award scholarships and would have severe limitations on the amount of money they could spend on travel or coaching staffs. This “cost containment” approach to keeping the university at the NCAA Division I for the rest of the school’s athletic programs would evolve into a strange subdivision within the I-AA subdivision known at the “Mid-Majors”.
The Sports Network (TSN) and Don Hansen’s Weekly Football Gazette both developed a bit of love for this odd group of so-called major programs who would not or could not commit the resources to compete with the other major programs of Division I-A and I-AA. Generally, there were about 30 college programs that would either play as independents or populate the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Northeast Conference and the Pioneer Conference. All three were officially recognized by the NCAA as belonging to the I-AA Division, but were not given automatic berths to the I-AA Playoffs.
Duquesne would come as close as any of the Mid-Majors to competing with their better-funded I-AA brothers. Greg Gatuso’s squad often played scholarship programs and often won. Not only were these Duquesne team often ranked # 1 by the TSN and Hansen Polls, but were often ranked in the regular I-AA polls. Their highest ranking in the National I-AA Coaches Poll was # 14 before losing their only game of the 2002 season to Albany in the ECAC Classic. Both the TSN and Hansen rankings would select the Dukes the following years as the # 1 Mid-Major National Champions in 2003 when they beat Monmouth to win that year’s ECAC Classic.
Now the “Mid-Majors” are no more. Duquesne and most of the other Mid-Majors have either begun to offer scholarships or have folded.
The Dukes have laid at least partial claim to National Football Championships from the Club level to the I-AA Mid-Majors to, according to the Massey Ratings, the Major College level. What does the future hold for the Dukes at the regular I-AA level now that they have begun to award scholarships? The NEC, the Duke’s new conference will be eligible for a bid to the Division I-AA National Championship beginning in 2010.
The 1941 Massey Ratings
1941 Teams Rated: 119
Team W L T PF PA Off Def Sched Rating Dom
1 Duquesne 8 0 0 17.88 2.62 4 2 44 33.84 0.736
2 Minnesota 8 0 0 23.25 4.75 5 4 41 29.26 0.609
3 Mississippi St 8 1 1 19.10 5.50 28 1 4 26.63 0.530
4 Notre Dame 8 0 1 21.00 7.11 6 11 49 26.20 0.517
5 Alabama 9 2 0 23.91 7.73 8 8 5 26.09 0.514
6 Georgia 9 1 1 29.00 7.73 3 26 28 23.63 0.440
7 Texas 8 1 1 33.80 5.50 1 36 38 23.50 0.436
8 Oregon St 8 2 0 14.30 4.90 23 3 30 23.21 0.427
9 Michigan 6 1 1 18.38 5.12 17 6 22 22.32 0.401
10 Navy 7 1 1 21.33 3.78 16 7 34 21.97 0.390
Filling In Duquesne's Football Tradition: The Real Record
For example, how many times did Duquesne play Pitt on the football field and what was their record? Duquesne's media guide lists the record at 2-4 with the recognized games being in the 1930's when Duquesne and Pitt were both nationally ranked powers.
Pitt's football records are a bit more complete and show that the first Pitt-Duquesne game turned out to be an 18-0 Pitt victory over the Dukes in 1901. However, the Panthers don't recognize a loss to Duquesne in 1903 by a score of 10-6.
Part of the reason for the confusion could be that Pitt, at the time of both earlier games was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania and Duquesne was officially known as the Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost.
Instead of Duquesne's Media Guide record of 2-4 and Pitt's version of 2-5, the actual record is 3-5. This record is now verified by the College Football Data Warehouse.
By cross checking available records from Pitt, West Virginia, Washington and Jefferson, I.U.P., Thiel, Westminster, St. Francis, Geneva, University of Buffalo, Bethany, California University of PA and others, Duquesne's documantable all time record should stand at 395 wins, 287 losses and 25 ties.
Duquesne's Media guide does not include a proud 1891-1901, first decade record of 33-17-5 in its all time record. It does, however, now list Duquesne's first documented collegiate game, a 1893 loss to Washington and Jefferson by a score of 22-19.
It would be a great recognition of a proud football tradition to claim our 400th win if it occurs this year!
TEN REASONS TO ADD MORE SEATS TO ROONEY
2. Scheduling- It will be very hard to attract quality out-of-conference opponents to Rooney Field. Even the soccer teams that come in think the field looks “quaint” to be polite.
3. Attendance- I’ve brought along friends to see a game at Rooney and it really doesn’t feel like a real college game atmosphere. They enjoyed the game, but would be more likely to come back if there was more atmosphere.
4. Crowd Noise/Emotion- Emotion feeds emotion. It is extremely difficult to get a crowd into the game with so few rows behind you.
5. Home Field Advantage- This crowd noise obviously help the home team.
6. Financial Benefit- It would be easier to charge admission to build a revenue base. Football needs to be a moneymaker for the rest of the department (or at least support itself) as it does for many other colleges. Too many fans, particularly from the opponent’s side of the field are just walking up without paying. A better field will also attract more paying customers and also could be a chance for student groups to set up booths as they do at other universities.
7. Press Coverage- If given a choice between covering a game at other college with a lower or same classification, but a better field facility, we are not competitive. TV highlights from games at Rooney look small time.
8. Hosting Games- Central Catholic actually decided to hold its games elsewhere due to the lack of seating capacity. This is a good school to keep associated with.
9. Academic Excellence- Who knows how many students come on campus to consider Duquesne when Central Catholic plays here or when they take a campus tour or if they come to see a Dukes game and get the feel of a real college game? The students we want to attend Duquesne are those with school spirit who want to picture themselves as being part of something fun and exciting. Rooney’s size does not paint this picture.
10. School Pride- This field just looks small time in comparison to other local fields such as Walton Stadium.
09/04 DUKES 17-BUCKNELL 13
09/11 DUKES 35-DAYTON 31
09/18 Delaware 30-Dukes 6
09/25 DUKES 28-ALBANY 17
10/02 MONMOUTH 1:00
10/09 CCSU 31-Dukes 29
10/16 Dukes 37-SACRED HEART 17
10/23 Dukes 21-Wagner 20
10/30 Robert Morris 34-Dukes 11
11/13 Dukes 41-ST FRANCIS 17
11/20 Dukes 37-Bryant 29
Duquesne University Fight Song-Rev. Thomas Quigley 1926
We'll sing hooray for the Red and Blue,
A big hooray for the Red and Blue;
For the flag we love on to victory,
And when the foe is down,
we will raise a mighty shout
And sing hooray for the Red and Blue;
We're all your sons and daughters true.
Now with all your might, give them
for the grand old Red and Blue.
DUQUESNE DUKES ALL-TIME FOOTBALL RECORD (1891-2011)*
Winning %- .574
~DUQUESNE GLORY/GORY YEARS~
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