Saturday, Oct. 11 at 12:00 p.m.
Joe Walton Stadium (3,000/field turf) • Moon Township, Pa.
TELEVISION: NEC Network with Paul Dottino & Steve Jackson
(game will air on Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh & Fox College Sports-Pacific)
RADIO: WMNY-AM 1360 with Alex Panormios (play-by-play) & Tad Maurey (color)
AUDIO STREAMING: www.RedZoneMedia.com
STREAMING VIDEO & IN-GAME STATS: www.GoDuquesne.com Gameday Central
DUKES HEAD TO ROBERT MORRIS FOR TV GAME
Duquesne (2-2, 1-1), coming off a 33-23 loss to Northeast Conference preseason favorite Albany on Saturday, hits the road for the first time in over a month to face cross-town rival Robert Morris (1-4, 0-2) on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 12:00 p.m. (Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh TV & WMNY-AM 1360). This marks the first time the Dukes and Colonials - whose campuses are just 17 miles apart - will meet in a conference game.
Duquesne, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League from 1994-2007, and Robert Morris, a five-time NEC champion, have met nine times since 1994 with the Dukes holding a 5-4 series edge. DU opened the season with a 48-42 loss at Bucknell on Sept. 6 before playing consecutive home games against Saint Francis (W, 21-7), defending Pioneer Football League champion Dayton (W, 24-16) and Albany.
Robert Morris opened with a 27-13 home win over Morehead State before dropping four in a row: 17-14 to Bucknell, 31-14 at Dayton, 34-26 to Monmouth and 31-28 at Sacred Heart. The combined record of the four teams who have defeated the Colonials is 15-5. Duquesne is 1-0 at Joe Walton Stadium with a 27-7 win in 2006.
Duquesne first-year sophomore quarterback Connor Dixon (Michigan State transfer), has thrown for 1,208 yards and 13 touchdowns in four games. His 303.3 yards of total offense/g. ranks 6th in the FCS. As a team, DU ranks 5th nationally in passing offense and 34th in total offense. Outside linebacker Nathan Totino, bolstered by a 23 tackle performance against Albany, leads the nation with 15.0 tackles per game. The Oct. 6 NEC Defensive Player of the Week has had 10 or more tackles in each of DU's first four games.
Duquesne, winner of five of the past six meetings, leads the series 5-4 ... four of the past seven games between the Dukes and Colonials have been decided by a total of 12 points ... two years ago, in the first meeting at RMU's new Joe Walton Stadium, Bruce Hocker caught a pair of touchdown passes and Aaron Strader returned a third-quarter interception 96 yards for a score as Duquesne defeated Robert Morris 27-7 ... last year Hocker caught two more touchdown passes and Greg Hough ran for a career-high 126 yards as Duquesne's 10-0 halftime lead held up in a 17-14 win at Rooney Field ... three years ago at DU, redshirt freshman Scott Knapp made his first career start a memorable one as he threw for 365 yards and one touchdown to lead Duquesne to a 23-12 victory at Rooney Field ... four years ago at Robert Morris it was different story as the Colonials jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead and were never threatened the rest of the way in handing Duquesne a 34-14 defeat at Moon Stadium ... Duquesne has won the past three in the series - all under fourth-year head coach Jerry Schmitt ... Saturday's game is Homecoming for Robert Morris.
ON ROBERT MORRIS
RMU is 0-2 in conference play for the first time in program history ... the Colonials are led by 5-8, 170-pound sophomore TB Myles Russ who enters the Duquesne game ranked ninth nationally in rushing yards per game at 124.8 ... Russ, who is coming off a 126 yard game at Sacred Heart, had 132 yards in the opener against Morehead State and a career high 205 against Monmouth on Sept. 27 ... Russ is averaging 7.1 yards per carry ... Duquesne, which ranks 70th nationally in rushing defense (157.4 ypg.) gave up 274 net yards on the ground in last week's loss to Albany ... Albany's David McCarty carried 37 times for 230 yards for the Great Danes ... RMU's offense is averaging 396.2 yards per game (31st nationally) ... sophomore ILB Alex DiMichele ranks eighth nationally in tackles per game with 11.6 ... the first-year Temple transfer recorded a game-high 19 stops in RMU's Sept. 13 loss to Bucknell ... the tackle total tied for the third highest single-game total in school history ... the Colonials lead the NEC in penalties (43), penalty yards (482), and average penalty yards per game (96.4).
LEFTOVERS FROM ALBANY
- The win extended Albany's NEC win streak to seven games ... the Great Danes went 6-0 in winning the conference title last season
- David McCarty's 230 yards rushing (on 37 carries) were the most against Duquesne since Iona's Ralph Saldiveri ran for 248 yards on 31 attempts in a 62-50 win over the Dukes on Oct. 23, 1999
- Duquesne, which had given up just two sacks in its first three games, saw Albany dump quarterback Connor Dixon five times
- Sophomore linebacker Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle), extended his double-digit tackles streak to four games with a game- and career-high 23 stops (13 solo) ... Totino eclipsed his previous career high of 16 (10 solo) tackles set in the season opener at Bucknell ... Totino, who is averaging a team-high and nation-best 15.0 tackles per game, also forced a fumble and recovered an onside kick late in the game
- Tight end Sean Bunevich (North Ridgeville, Ohio/North Ridgeville), who caught three passes for a then career-high 92 yards against Dayton, set new career highs with 8 catches for 163 yards ... Bunevich, who entered the game with nine catches in DU's first three games, had seven catches for 122 yards in the first half
- Sophomore quarterback Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) threw touchdown passes of 42 and 41 yards ... he finished the game 21-of-46 for 338 yards ... Dixon, who entered the game with just two interceptions in his first 104 attempts, was picked off three times
- Junior tailback Cleodis Williams (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle), who ran for 65 yards on 17 carries, saw his streak of consecutive 100-yards games snapped at two
- Freshmen linebackers Chidozie Oparanozie (Pittsburgh, Pa./The Linsly School (W.Va.)) - who has been named NEC Rookie of the Week twice this season - and Wiley Brown (Waldorf, Md./Fork Union Military Academy) finished with 11 and 12 tackles respectively for the Dukes
Michigan State transfer Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park), who won a spirited battle with returning starter Kevin Rombach for the starting quarterback position, has thrown for 13 touchdowns in four games. The 6-4, 200-pounder completed 30-of-47 passes for 429 yards and a school record six TDs - including five in the second half - in DU's season-opening 48-42 loss at Bucknell. He put up those numbers despite completing 2-of-6 passes for nine yards in the first quarter. This is the first extended playing time for Dixon since he led South Park HS to the Class AA Pennsylvania State Championship with a 16-0 record in 2005. Dixon redshirted at Michigan State in 2006 and played in one game for the Spartans last season (3-of-5 for 37 yards and a touchdown in MSU's 2007 opener against UAB) before deciding to transfer closer to home in June. Dixon was rated as a top 20 quarterback nationally (No. 17 by rivals.com) prior to committing to Michigan State. The South Park, Pa. native is the second Football Bowl Subdivision quarterback to transfer to Duquesne in the past 10 years. Tony Zimmerman transferred from the University of Pittsburgh following his freshman season and set 14 school records in leading the Dukes to a 26-7 record and two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League championships in three years as a starter from 1998-00. Zimmerman threw for 7,313 yards and 73 touchdowns in 33 career games.
Junior Cleodis Williams (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle), who missed the past two seasons while attending to academic issues, has assumed the featured running back role this season. Williams, who last saw action as a freshman in 2005, took a short pass 38 yards for a TD at Bucknell and followed that with 129 yards on 23 carries vs. Saint Francis and 103 yards on 25 rushes vs. Dayton. The 129 yards vs. SFU were most by a DU back in the Jerry Schmitt Era.
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 (24 in a row entering RMU). Both started as true freshmen in 2006, with Kuhns' first 20 starts coming at left guard. Kikta and Kuhns are part of an offensive front that has allowed just seven sacks in 151 pass attempts in 2008.
TOTINO KNOWS TACKLES
Sophomore linebacker Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle), who ranked fourth nationally among FCS freshmen with an average of 9.3 tackles per game last season (93 stops in 10 games), leads the nation with a 15.0 tackles per game average (60 in four games). Totino, who was named MAAC Rookie of the Week five times on the way to being named 2007 MAAC co-Rookie of the Year, posted a then career-high 16 tackles (10 solo) at Bucknell and followed that with a game-high 11 stops vs. Saint Francis and a team-best 10 vs. Dayton. Totino topped them all with 23 tackles (13 solo) against Albany. The 23 stops tied the single-game high by any FCS player this season (Murray State's Nathan Williams had 23 tackles against Illinois State on Sept. 13). Totino has led the Dukes in tackles in all four games this season.
DUQUESNE MOST TACKLES IN A GAME - FCS ERA (since 1993)
TT Solo Player, Opponent, Date 23 (13) Nathan Totino vs. Albany, Oct. 4, 2008 21 (17) Matt Fisher vs. Marist, Oct. 10, 1998 19 (5) James Antinopoulos at Bucknell, Sept. 30, 2000 18 (10) Derron Thomas vs. Bucknell, Sept. 1, 2007
Senior Alex Roberson (Waynesboro, Ga./Curtis Baptist Upper School), DU's top returning receiver, set career highs for catches (11) and yards (154) in the opener at Bucknell. The 6-3, 205-pounder added a 12-yard TD catch against Saint Francis, Pa. and an 11-yard go-ahead score in the fourth quarter of DU's 24-16 win over Dayton. Roberson, who entered the season averaging 16.9 yards per catch for his career, averaged 20.2 yards on 34 catches last season. He has caught at least one pass in each of the past 26 games he has played and topped the 100-yard mark in five of his past 11 games. Fellow senior Conrad Carter (Clinton, Md./Archbishop Carroll) has caught a pass in 22 straight games. Carter, who leads the team with four TD receptions, pulled in a Rooney Field record 91-yard touchdown pass (second-longest in school history) with eight seconds left in the first half vs. Saint Francis and added a 42-yard TD against Albany. Carter, whose 107 yards on four catches vs. SFU were a career high, now has touchdown catches of 91 & 42 (Sr.), 66 (Fr.), 56 (So.) and 49 (Jr.) yards to his credit.
Senior co-captain Greg Hough (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland), who moved from running back to linebacker in the spring, is back at running back. Hough played in the opener at LB prior to making the move back to the offensive side of the ball during the off week. Hough began his career as a running back in 2005 and was a first team All-MAAC linebacker in 2006. He was a second team All-MAAC running back last season leading the team with 191 carries for 801 yards and five touchdowns. Hough set the school record for longest interception return when he took one back 98 yards for a score at La Salle in ‘06. Hough had a big 14-yard run to key DU's final scoring drive in the 24-16 win over Dayton.
A REAL "NOZE" FOR THE FOOTBALL
True freshman middle linebacker Chidozie Oparanozie (Pittsburgh, Pa./Linsly School) (Chi-DOZE-e-AY o-pear-a-NOZE-e-AY) is on his way to establishing himself as one of the top young players in the NEC. The 6-0, 235-pounder, who ranks third on the Dukes with 29 total tackles (18 solo), has been named NEC Rookie of Week twice on the young season. On Sept. 20 against Saint Francis, Oparanozie single-handedly snuffed out a pair of Red Flash drives with interceptions at the DU 12 and two yard lines. He returned the first pick 55 yards to set up one touchdown and his second interception was followed by a 91-yard TD pass. He finished with six stops (four solo) in the 21-7 win. The next weekend, Oparanozie had nine solo tackles and recovered a fumble in DU's 24-16 win over Dayton to earn Rookie of the Week honors for the second time. He added 11 tackles last week against Albany. Oparanozie, who was raised on Pittsburgh's North Side, attended Linsly School in Wheeling, W.Va. where he was a standout running back. His prep career included a school-record seven touchdowns in a double-overtime 60-54 win over Cleveland (Ohio) Richmond Heights his senior season. In that game he rushed 24 times for 140 yards and four scores, caught five passes for 159 yards and two TD's, intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown and added a two-point conversion in accounting for 44 of the Cadets 60 points. He finished the game with three interceptions, the last of which ended Richmond Heights' final drive and set up his own game-winning score. Oparanozie was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" for his effort.