ROBERT MORRIS (0-4, 0-1) at DUQUESNE (1-3, 0-1)
Saturday, Oct. 3 at 1:00 p.m.
Rooney Field (2,200/Sportexe Synthetic Turf)
DUKES RETURN HOME FOR FIRST TIME IN A MONTH
Duquesne (1-3, 0-1), coming off a 24-17 non-conference loss at Dayton, returns home for the first time since Sept. 5 to face Robert Morris (0-4, 0-1) in a Northeast Conference match-up on Saturday, Oct. 3. The game is part of Homecoming Weekend festivities at Duquesne. The Dukes are looking to snap a three-game losing streak that covered a total of 3,572 miles (14-7 loss at Nicholls State, Thibodaux, La.; 17-10 loss at Monmouth, West Long Branch, N.J. and a 24-17 loss at Dayton, Dayton, Ohio).
Robert Morris enters Saturday's game looking to end a four-game losing streak of its own. The Colonials dropped a 20-13 NEC decision to Bryant at home on Saturday. Duquesne outgained its first three opponents (429-360 vs. Bucknell, 341-218 at Nicholls State and 387-278 at Monmouth), before giving up 442 yards at Dayton. The Dukes have turned it over eight times in their three losses (two fumbles and an interception at Nicholls, two fumbles and two interceptions - all in the second half - at Monmouth and one pick at Dayton).
Nicholls State turned the game with a 63-yard TD run out of punt formation on a 4th-and-5 play with 8:25 left in the fourth quarter, while Monmouth returned an interception 65-yards for a score with 6:22 left in the third quarter for the game's final points. (The Dukes fourth quarter rally in the final six minutes at Dayton, the Dukes in control of the ball for final play, came up seven points short.) - DC
DUKES AND COLONIALS
- The series is tied at 5-5, with Duquesne having won of five of the past seven meetings ... four of the past eight games between the Dukes and Colonials have been decided by a total of 12 points
- last year, Myles Russ ran for a career-high 246 yards and added two TDs in a 34-27 RMU win at Joe Walton Stadium
- Two years ago, Bruce Hocker caught two 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, in the first meeting at RMU's new Joe Walton Stadium, Hocker caught a pair of touchdown passes and Aaron Strader returned a third-quarter interception 96 yards for a score as Duquesne defeated the Colonials 27-7
- Four 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
- Duquesne head coach Jerry Schmitt is 3-1 vs. RMU.
THEY'LL KNOCK YOU DOWN
Two of the top active tacklers in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision will be on the field when Duquesne hosts Robert Morris on Saturday. DU junior linebacker Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle) ranks third among FCS tacklers with a 10.3 per game average in 23 career games, while RMU junior linebacker Alex DiMichele (Pittsburgh, Pa./Sto-Rox) ranks second nationally with an 11.1 tackles per game average in 15 career games.
- The Dayton win ended a two-game Duquesne series win streak ... UD now leads the series 4-3
- Redshirt freshman Larry McCoy (Wytheville, Ga./George Wythe) posted his second 100-yard game of the season with 118 yards on 14 carries ... McCoy, who topped the 100-yard mark on his tenth carry of the game late in the second quarter, scored on a 67-yard run on the game's first play from scrimmage
- Junior quarterback Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) completed 8-of-19 passes for 89 yards in his first start of the season
- Senior quarterback Kevin Rombach (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) came off the bench to lead the Dukes to a score while completing 12-of-15 passes for 84 yards on the Dukes' final two possessions
- Senior wideout Michael Rasky (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch to 24 with three receptions for 44 yards ... he was on the receiving end of a Rombach TD toss with 2:26 left that cut the deficit from 24-10 to 24-17
- Junior Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle) led the Dukes with 12 tackles ... it was the 13th double-digit tackle game of his career and first this season.
Duquesne suffered a setback when preseason All-NEC tight end Sean Bunevich (North Ridgeville, Ohio/North Ridgeville) was lost for the season following a non-contact knee injury suffered at practice on August 11 ... sophomore Brian Layhue (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon), who filled in when Bunevich injured the same knee late last season, was expected to inherit the starting TE spot until he was sidelined with a back injury (he is out indefinitely) ... Layhue caught all eight of his passes in DU's final three games last season, with two of his eight catches going for scores ... first-year Lafayette transfer Adam Gill (South Park, Pa./South Park) has been seeing extended time at tight end ... in addition, promising sophomore receiver Akeem Moore (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood) is out indefinitely with internal injuries suffered on the first series at Nicholls State ... Moore who started 10 times in the defensive backfield as a freshman, had four catches in two games (20.4 ypc.) prior to the injury
Senior receiver Michael Rasky (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) has caught at least one pass in 24 consecutive games ... Rasky, who posted his second career 100-yard day with six catches for 106 yards at Monmouth, has two TD receptions on the season ... half of DU's starting secondary is made up of newcomers
JC transfer junior Justin Melhado (Ridgewater, Minn. Community College) is the starter at one cornerback spot with fellow junior Devin Duggan (Valley Forge, Pa. Military College) penciled in at free safety ... in addition, true freshman Derrick Lakins (Upper Marlboro, Md./DeMatha) is the starter at strong side linebacker
DU saw its pass defense drop from seventh (110 ypg.) to 21st after giving up 272 yards through the air at Dayton ... junior safety Willie Milhouse (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone), who entered the season with two career interceptions in 16 games, has picked off three passes in DU's first four outings
Redshirt freshman Larry McCoy's (Wytheville, Va./George Wythe) 195 yards rushing at Nicholls State on Sept. 12 were the most by a DU back since Mike Hilliard ran for a school record 323 yards vs. La Salle in 2003 ... he added 118 more (on 14 carries) at Dayton ... McCoy leads the nation's FCS freshman with a 95.5 yards per game rushing average (ranks 20th nationally)
First-year defensive coordinator Ollie Phillips left the team (personal reasons) the week of the Nicholls State game ... Phillips has been replaced by veteran Dick Hopkins ... Hopkins, who was brought in to work with the defensive backs, brings nearly 30 years of college coaching experience to the DU sidelines ... Hopkins, who was a quarterback/tight end at Florida State in the early 1970's, has coached at 11 different schools since 1981 including Duke (1981-82), Cinicnnati (1983), Rice (1984-85) and Vanderbilt (1986-88) among others
The DU defense, which is giving up just 18.5 points per game (tops in the NEC), enters the Robert Morris game ranked 47th nationally in total defense (324.5 ypg.) ... the Dukes were victimized for 442 yards at Dayton ... Duquesne has allowed 19 sacks in four games ... the 4.75 sacks allowed average ranks 117th out of 118 FCS schools