October 23, 2011

Dukes Gets Back Into Character to Ground Seahawks 37-12

Every team has an assortment of mental images associated with it. The most obvious are the most famous. If you think of the New York Yankees, Montreal Canadians, Notre Dame or the Pittsburgh Steelers you are flooded with thousands of images, traditions and figures. "Buying Sam a drink and getting his dog one too" makes sense only to a Penguin's fan. Think of the Boston Red Sox you think of old Fenway Park. Conjure up the 1960's Pirates and ivy covered walls deep in the outfield and Maz turning a miraculous double play on a rough infield comes to my mind (even though they were memories handed to me by my father and television.

The Duquesne Dukes have their mental images too such as passing game that can strike from anywhere and a train whistle echoing up to a windy Rooney Field. Like "The Gunner" or Lanny for the Pirates and Ray Goss for the Duke's other major sport, we expect to hear Alex in the booth. Fill in the blank with either Conner Dixon, Dave Williams, Yardon Brantley, Mark Neely, Bruce Hocker or Jeremy Connely running long for a pass from an excellent quarterback (Loya, Zimmerman-New HOF, Loebig, Dixon or Rombach).

The Duquesne Dukes got back in character as they ran over the Wagner Seahawks at Rooney Field. The Dukes seemed like themselves again after a big loss to Albany where they let the Danes turn them to 1st quarter zombies followed by a game where the Dukes somehow managed to win against CCSU without doing the things that usually make a Duquesne victory.

All the familiar players showed up as Larry McCoy ran for over 100 yards and 3 TDs. Larry not only had 149 for the game but he topped 1,000 for the season and 3,000 for his career. Sean Patterson again chucked it for well over 200 yards with two TDs pulled in by the usual suspect, Conner Dixon. Isaac Sprague added another 9 grabs for 95 yards.

The defense was back to their normal selves by holding Dominique Williams to 81 yards on 20 carries. Williams entered the game ranked ninth nationally and a 111.8 yards per game average.

The Dukes have usually had a good defensive backfield. Now Serge Kohna seems to be inheriting the mantle of past players like Leigh Bodden.

Charlie Leventry is beginning to change the image of adventurous field goal attempts. Charlie entered the Duquesne and Rooney Field record books with an important 51 yard field goal to end the first half 17-7. At the time Duquesne had piled up a good statistical edge but led by only one score. The previous school was 47 yards set by Doug McAuley vs. Mercyhurst in 1988.

The Dukes may be exceeding their past character reputations on some other fronts as well. Going into the NEC, the Dukes offensive and defensive lines had been pushed around. The offensive line protected Patterson well and opened up huge holes.

Duquesne has always had good linebackers such as Nathan Totino but their linebacking corps may be their best ever with talent and depth at ever spot.

Finally, the Duquesne Dukes are characteristically competing for a conference title again. Unfortunately, Albany kept in character too by blowing out CCSU.

The only negative to come out of this game was that the Dukes really have to find a way to cover their kickoffs and punts. All of Wager's scores were greatly aided by some terrible kick coverage that put pressure on the defense if it didn't lead directly to a score.

NEXT WEEK: The Dukes face a big challenge next week when they visit Monmouth (4-3, 3-1) at 1:00.

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