2008 DU Football Starts Saturday at Bucknell

Duquesne kicks off its 82nd season of football at Bucknell on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6:00 p.m. (WMNY-AM 1360 and RedZoneMedia.com.)

Complete release (.pdf)


DUQUESNE (0-0) at BUCKNELL (0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6:00 p.m.
Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium
(13,100/FieldTurf) -- Lewisburg, Pa.

RADIO: WMNY-AM 1360 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
AUDIO STREAMING: www.RedZoneMedia.com
STREAMING VIDEO & IN-GAME STATS: www.BucknellBison.com

Overall, the Dukes are 47-20-3 in season openers (records available since 1902, DU fielded its first team in 1891), including a 1-2 mark under fourth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt.

This marks the seventh time in the past 12 years Duquesne has faced Bucknell in the season-opener (1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 & 2007 are the others). The Dukes are 11-5 in season-openers since 1992 with all five losses coming to Bucknell.

Last year, DU finished 6-4 in securing its ninth consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League championship with a 2-1 mark.

The Dukes, who enter 2008 with a streak of 14 consecutive winning seasons, claimed 11 MAAC championships in 14 years in the league from 1994-2007: 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 (co-), 2007 (co-).

Duquesne embarked on a new era for the football progam in accepting an associate membership in the Northeast Conference in January. With the move to the NEC, Duquesne offered 18 scholarships beginning in February of 2008 and will increase that number by two for the ensuing three years. Duquesne granted only need-based financial aid for football playing student-athletes as a member of the MAAC.

The NEC competed as a non-scholarship member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision until 2006 when the conference adopted an athletics-based aid model.

Duquesne returns 13 position starters and one specialist from last year's team.

DUKES AND BISON

  • Bucknell leads the overall series 8-3
  • This is the tenth meeting between the two in 12 years ... the two times BU and DU did not meet over that span were 2001 & 2005
  • Duquesne ended a four-game series losing streak with a 35-14 win over Bucknell at Pittsburgh on Sept. 7, 2002
  • The Dukes are 0-5 all time vs. the Bison at Lewisburg, Pa.
  • In DU's last trip to Bucknell on Sept. 2, 2006, Will Carney's 27-yard field goal in overtime gave the Bison a dramatic come-from-behind 31-28 win in the season opener for both schools at a rain-soaked Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium ... the winning field goal came after Bucknell back-up quarterback Terrance Wilson scrambled 15 yards for a score to tie the game on the final play of regulation
  • Last year, Duquesne scored on each of its first three drives and four of the first five, but would not score again as visiting Bucknell held on for a 28-19 win at Rooney Field.

QUICK HITS

  • The last time DU and BU met at Bucknell, the two teams combined for 961 total yards (527 for Duquesne and 434 for Bucknell) ... DU gained 348 yards passing and BU gained 386 on the ground ... Duquesne missed field goals of 29 (blocked), 26 and 38 yards in the loss.
  • Duquesne has posted eight wins over Patriot League schools since 1999. No current or former MAAC, Pioneer League or Northeast Conference school has won more than five games versus teams from the Patriot League.

ON BUCKNELL

Bucknell was picked to finish sixth in the seven-team Patriot League in a preseason poll of league coaches and sports information directors ... the Bison return 14 starters (six on offense and eight on defense) from last year's 3-8 team ... junior running back A.J. Kizekai returns after earning First-Team All-Patriot League status as a kick returner and setting a League and Bucknell mark with 1,113 kick return yards in 2007 ... the Bison were flagged for only 29 penalties in 2007, while no other FCS team had fewer than 41 ... of the five departed offensive Bucknell starters, four were on the offensive line ... First-Team All-Patriot League defensive end Josh Eden is taking the next two years off to serve a Mormon mission ... Bucknell is led by sixth-year head coach Tim Landis.

PATRIOT GAMES

Duquesne owns eight wins over schools from the Patriot League (all in the past eight seasons). No other current or former member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League, Pioneer Football League or Northeast Conference has posted more than five wins over the Patriot League:

MOST WINS VS. THE PATRIOT LEAGUE BY MEMBERS OF THE MAAC, PIONEER LEAGUE & NEC
(entering 2008)

8  --  DUQUESNE
5  --  Monmouth
4  --  Albany
2  --  Dayton, Marist, San Diego
1  --  Central Connecticut St., Davidson
0  --  Drake, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis, Pa.

DUQUESNE VS. THE PATRIOT LEAGUE BY TEAM

Opponent Last Duquesne win Year W-L
Bucknell 35-14 at Pittsburgh 2002 1-8
Fordham 20-17 at Fordham 2006 2-1
Georgetown 45-7 at Pittsburgh 2004 1-2
Holy Cross 31-7 at Worcester, Mass. 2004 1-0
Lafayette 23-22 at Pittsburgh 2002 3-0

Duquesen is 8-10 overall versus PL foes, 5-2 at home and 3-8 on the road. The road wins came at Lafayette in 1999, at Holy Cross in 2004, and at Fordham in 2006

ROONEY RENOVATION

Coinciding with Duquesne's move to the Northeast Conference was an extensive renovation of DU's Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field. Rooney Field, opened in 1993, was given an off-season facelift that included the construction of permanent grandstands on the press box side of the field. In addition, a concession stand and restrooms were installed. On the visitor's side, seating along Academic Walk was expanded. New light standards were added to illuminate the new Sportexe artificial playing surface. This was the first significant upgrade to the field since the facility's dedication game in `93. Future plans include a renovation of the fieldhouse at the east end of the field. A new locker room and coaches offices are part of phase II scheduled to be finished in time for the 2009 season.

2008 SCHEDULE QUICK NOTES

This will be Duquesne's first season as an associate football-playing member of the Northeast Conference. DU is 14-7 all-time against current NEC schools ... DU will open the `08 home schedule with a 7:00 p.m. game against NEC opponent Saint Francis, Pa. on Sept. 20 ... the Dukes will play back-to-back home games against defending conference champions in late September/early October (Sept. 27 vs. defending Pioneer Football League champ Dayton and Oct. 4 vs. defending NEC titleholder Albany) ... the Dukes will play five times at home, with three coming in the first four weeks of the season ... DU's three non-conference games will be against one Patriot League school (Bucknell), one Pioneer League school (Dayton) and one school in its first season of transition to NCAA Division I (Bryant).

GREEN AND GROWING

Fifty eight of the 88 players on Duquesne's preseason roster are freshmen or sophomores. The breakdown: seniors (9), juniors (21), sophomores (17) and freshmen (41). The projected 2-deep for the Bucknell game includes 14 freshmen (five on offense and nine on defense).

OFFENSE QUICK NOTES

Preseason All-NEC junior quarterback Kevin Rombach (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) is in a battle with first-year Michigan State transfer Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) for the starting job ... Rombach completed a school record 61 percent of his passes for 2,410 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first season as a starter in 2007 ... Rombach, who is 8-2 as a starter, has thrown for 25 scores with just eight interceptions in 13 games ... the 6-1, 205-pounder has a 153.6 career quarterback rating ... Dixon, a sophomore, was the No. 2 QB at Michigan State last season ... the South Park, Pa. native played in one game for the Spartans before deciding to transfer closer to home in June ... Dixon, 6-4, 200, led South Park to a 16-0 record and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA state title in 2005 ... he was rated as a top 20 quarterback nationally (No. 17 by rivals.com) prior to committing to MSU ... with the move of Greg Hough (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) from running back to linebacker, junior Cleodis Williams (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle) looks to be the featured back in `08 ... Williams, who missed the past two seasons while attending to academic issues, last saw action as a freshman in 2005 ... starting offensive tackles Steve Kuhns (Lafayette, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy) and Matt Kikta (Upper St. Clair, Pa./Upper St. Clair) have started every game in their DU careers (20 in a row entering `08) ... both started as true freshmen in 2006 ... Kikta transferred to Duquesne from Bucknell just prior to the 2006 season ... Kuhns' first 20 starts came at left guard ... senior Alex Roberson (Waynesboro, Ga./Curtis Baptist Upper School) is DU's top returning receiver ... Roberson, who is averaging 16.9 yards per catch for his career, had his 2006 season ended when he suffered a knee injury in the third quarter of DU's season-opening loss at Bucknell ... Roberson, who averaged 20.2 yards on 34 catches last season, had three catches for 105 yards - including a 52-yarder - in a little over two quarters of play in the `06 game.

DEFENSE QUICK NOTES

Duquesne returns seven players who started on defense in 2007 including one who moved back to the defensive side of the ball in `08 ... senior Greg Hough (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland), Duquesne's leading ground gainer with 801 yards on 191 carries last season, is back at linebacker where he started in 2006 ... Hough, who has started 28 times (he's played in all 30 games since enrolling), returned an interception a school record 98 yards for a touchdown at La Salle in `06 ... sophomore linebacker Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle) ranked fourth nationally among FCS freshmen with an average of 9.3 tackles per game last season (93 stops in 10 games) ... Totino, who was named MAAC Rookie of the Week five times last year, was the 2007 MAAC co-Rookie of the Year ... senior cornerback Aaron Strader (Pittsburgh, Pa./Westinghouse) was a preseason All-NEC pick ... Strader leads all DU returnees with 60 career solo tackles ... Strader was the MAAC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005 and first team All-MAAC in 2006 & 2007 ... junior defensive end Mykol Gardiner (Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine) tied for 14th nationally with a .75 sacks per game average last season ... Gardiner enters the season with a team-high 14.0 career sacks for -99 yards ... Gardiner's 7.5 sacks last season were a team high ... the 2-deep for the Bucknell game lists three freshman starters on the offensive line (NT Aldon Sutton, DT Alex Inda and DE Ashton Burno) and two in the defensive backfield (SS Wiley Brown and CB Akeem Moore).


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