Oparanozie Named NEC Rookie of the Week

Monday, Duquesne freshman linebacker Chidozie Oparanozie has been named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week for his play in in DU's first-ever NEC game, a 21-7 win over Saint Francis on Saturday.

With Saint Francis (PA) knocking on the door twice in the second quarter of Duquesne's inaugural Northeast Conference game, Oparanozie came up with two red-zone interceptions that led to two DU touchdowns in a 21-7 victory over the long-time rival Red Flash.

The 6-foot-0, 235 pound freshman linebacker first struck when he picked off a pass at the Dukes' 12-yard line and returned it 55 yards to the Red Flash's 33-yard line to set up a touchdown that gave Duquesne a 14-7 advantage.

Then with Saint Francis marching back down the field on the ensuing possession, Oparanozie corralled a tipped pass two yards from the goal line. Three plays after the freshman's second pick, the Dukes' doubled their lead on a 91-yard scoring strike. He also broke up three passes and had six tackles.

Also a running back in high school at the Linsley School in Wheeling, W.Va., Oparanozie finished his career with 1,367 yards and 16 touchdowns, including 649 yards and nine scores in an injury-shortened senior season. He was featured in a Sports Illustrated October 2007 issue as a "Face in the News."

Central Connecticut State's James Mallory is the NEC's offensive player of the week, Kevin Walsh of Monmouth is defensive POTW, and senior linebacker Anthony Mortali of Scared Heart is the NEC special teams player of the week.

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