HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Duquesne.
Duquesne (7-4 IN 2017)
Northeast Conference (Duquesne was T-2nd in 2017)
COACH: Jerry Schmitt – 14th year (111-79)
2017 OFFENSE: 32.2 ppg. (24th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 23.8 ppg. (42nd in FCS)
SUM IT UP: With four titles in the last seven years, it's hard to argue that Duquesne hasn't been the most consistent program in the NEC this decade. They were denied a threepeat by Central Connecticut State last season, though, thanks in part to a November showdown in Pittsburgh that the Blue Devils won, 28-27. Like last year, the Dukes will need to install a new quarterback to run the offense, after Boise State graduate transfer Tommy Stuart played out the string in 2017. Florida Atlantic import Daniel Parr could similarly fill the void under center in 2018. If he does, Duquesne will be ready to challenge CCSU immediately — the surrounding parts are championship-caliber pieces.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Duquesne wins the league in dramatic fashion by earning revenge at CCSU in its regular-season finale. The NEC has very wisely recognized who its two best teams are most likely to be and scheduled them for November 17, as a potential de facto championship game. It wouldn't be impossible for Duquesne to win a potential slugfest here, but it'll first need to navigate the season in a manner that puts the Dukes in a position to win the NEC in the first place. CCSU won the conference by two games in 2017, so the Dukes will need to be firing on all cylinders during their key conference stretch in late October. That includes home games with Bryant and Robert Morris, as well as a trip to Saint Francis.
TOP RETURNEE: RB A.J. Hines (First-Team All-NEC, back-to-back 1,000 rushing seasons at Duquesne).
THE NEXT FIVE: OL Alex Conley (22 Starts at LT); WR Nehari Crawford (First-Team All-NEC, Led FCS in Receiving TDs during regular season); DB Abner Roberts (First-Team All-NEC, 32 Starts at Safety from 2015-17, 4 INTs last season); LB Brett Zanotto (59 Tackles, 11 TFL's); DB Jonathant Istache (Second-Team All-NEC, 20 Starts at Corner from 2016-17)
TOP NEWCOMER: QB Daniel Parr (Transferred from Florida Atlantic).
DID YOU KNOW?: Duquesne was founded in 1878 after a group of Catholic Spiritans were expelled from Germany during Otto Von Bismarck's tenure as chancellor.
THE QUOTE: "Jerry has created a model for his program that will allow his teams to consistently chase conference championships. The football program has gained a strong national footprint and continues to grow its reputation at the FCS level." -Duquesne Athletic Director Dave Harper, following Head Coach Jerry Schmitt's most recent contract extension.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #GoDukes
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @DuqFB
Congrats to Alex Conley and A.J. Hines who were named @HEROSportsFCS Preseason All-Americans!
— Duquesne Football (@DuqFB) June 12, 2018
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