Sunday, October 30, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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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