Saturday, Oct. 17 at 12:00 p.m. • Pittsburgh, Pa.
Rooney Field (2,200/Sportexe synthetic turf)
DUKES HOST CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE
Duquesne (2-4, 1-2), coming off a 55-10 loss at two-time defending NEC champion Albany, returns home to face Central Connecticut State on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Noon.
The Dukes will be looking to keep their home record (2-0) unblemished against a CCSU team that is 4-1 overall with impressive non-conference road wins at Lehigh (28-21) and at Columbia (22-13).
The Blue Devils, picked to finish third in the NEC in the preseason coaches poll, enter the game with a 2-0 league record. The Dukes and Blue Devils share one common opponent in Robert Morris, which DU defeated 34-20 on Oct. 3 and CCSU beat 42-21 last weekend.
Central Connecticut State enters the game with the nation's fifth ranked rushing offense (229.4 ypg.). James Mallory leads the ground game with a 98.8 ypg. average, good for 16th in the nation. Duquesne is 2-0 at home this season with wins over Bucknell and Robert Morris.
DUKES AND BLUE DEVILS
Duquesne and Central Connecticut State have met twice, with the Blue Devils holding a 2-0 series advantage ... last year, in the inaugural NEC meeting between the two, James Mallory ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns to give CCSU enough cushion to hold off a late Duquesne rally in a 35-23 Blue Devils win at New Britain, Conn. ... DU cut a 28-10 deficit to 11 midway through the fourth quarter and was on the doorstep to cut further into that lead when Alex Roberson fumbled into the end zone following a 43 yard catch-and-run ... CCSU scored on its next possession to ice the game ... Central Connecticut State, which entered the game ranked 10th nationally in rushing offense, gained 286 yards on the ground, including 150 in jumping out to a 21-10 halftime lead ... the first meeting between the two was on Nov. 13, 1993 ... in that game, the Dukes, in their first season at the I-AA non-scholarship level, jumped out to a 16-0 second quarter lead only to see CCSU reel off 27 consecutive points on the way to a 41-22 win in front of 880 fans ... the ‘93 Dukes finished 4-6 in their first season under head coach Greg Gattuso ... this is the first meeting between the two schools at Duquesne ... CCSU has made numerous trips to Pittsburgh to face fellow NEC member Robert Morris.
- The Dukes have turned it over 11 times in their four losses and three times in the two wins
- Duquesne opponents have scored a total of nine touchdowns covering 50 yards or more, only five of which have come against the defense ... the others include a 56-yard fumble return (at Albany), a 78-yard punt return (at Albany), a 65-yard interception return (at Monmouth) and a 63-yard run on a fake punt (at Nicholls State)
- The Dukes have 27 more first downs and are outgaining their opponents by nearly 18 yards per game (364.5-346.8)
- CCSU rushed for 332 yards in amassing 490 yards of total offense in its win over Robert Morris ... running backs Brian Fowler (19-159-2) and James Mallory (23-113-0) accounted for 82 percent of the total
- The Blue Devils have given up just four sacks in six games (seventh nationally) while recording 19 of their own.
Albany now leads the all-time series 3-0 ... the Dukes were without starting flanker Dave Williams (shoulder) and starting safety Willie Milhouse (knee) ... Jay Spinks (Lanham, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt), who caught a 12-yard TD pass, tied his career high for catches (7) and broke his career best for yards (74) ... his previous top game was seven catches for 57 yards vs. Monmouth last season ... redshirt freshman Larry McCoy (Wytheville, Ga./George Wythe), who finished with 59 yards on 24 carries ... saw his streak of consecutive 100-yard games snapped at two ... senior wideout Michael Rasky (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch to 26 with five receptions for 46 yards ... junior Nathan Totino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton-La Salle) led the Dukes with nine assisted tackles ... the nine stops ended a streak of double-digit tackle games at two.
Three players expected to be the heart-and-soul of the 2009 receiving corps have been lost for the season due to injury. Preseason All-NEC tight end Sean Bunevich (North Ridgeville, Ohio/North Ridgeville) saw his season ended before it began with a non-contact knee injury suffered at practice on August 11. Promising sophomore receiver Akeem Moore (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood) was sidelined 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. Michigan State transfer Dave Williams (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) went down with a shoulder injury in week five versus Robert Morris. Williams was leading the Dukes with 29 catches for 385 yards at the time. Moore and Williams, who were the Dukes' top two deep threats, combined for 15 catches for 227 yards in the opening day win over Bucknell. In addition to the starters lost, 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).
- Senior receiver Michael Rasky has caught at least one pass in 26 consecutive games.
- Redshirt freshman Larry McCoy's 195 yards rushing at Nicholls State on Sept. 12 was the most by a DU back since Mike Hilliard ran for a school record 323 yards vs. La Salle in 2003. McCoy leads the nation's FCS freshman with a 91.3 yards per game rushing average (23rd nationally).
- Redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Patterson has seen action in each of the past two games. The left-hander has completed 4-of-11 passes and rushed 10 times for 34 yards.
- Junior Jay Spinks, who entered the season with nine career catches, has caught 18 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in his past three games. With Williams' injury, he now leads the team with 30 catches.