Is Duquesne This Year’s Superior College Football Team in Pittsburgh?
Posted August 15, 2013 9:34 pm
As we all know, every year in basketball the city of Pittsburgh has the “City League Game” where Pitt basketball goes up against little brother Duquesne. As of recent years, it has been all Pitt where as Pitt has won the last 12 and leads the all-time series 50-31. But what if these two teams met up on the gridiron? Could a 1-AA school compete with a team from the ACC? It is no secret Pitt is rebuilding this year as they transition into the ACC and has lost countless players due to transfers. Duquesne probably fields their best team of all time. Could little brother Duquesne pull the upset on the turf? Or at least give Pitt a great game? Obviously this game could never happen, but consider this a “what-if” read.
We all know as of recent, Pitt has struggled with 1-AA schools. Most notably of the last three years, was their loss to Youngstown state last year 31-17. However, coming back from that in the same season, they dismantled Gardner-Webb 55-10. Maine then played well with Pitt in 2011, coming up a little bit short as Pitt won 35-29. Finally in 2010, we look at the New Hampshire game, who Pitt took pretty easily 38-16. Duquesne went a measly 5-6 in 2012, with 5 of their losses literally coming from the final possession, as Duquesne failed to close their games last year. But with a talent rich team filled with BCS-level player transfers, Duquesne is a lot better than most people think.
Duquesne brings back a lot. Most notably their All-American linebacker and consensus 5 star recruit and Ohio State transfer Dorian Bell. It would be no question who the best player on the field is. Pitt’s Aaron Donald would probably come in at the #2 spot, and Duquesne would have a huge problem game planning for him. But a huge X-factor in this theoretical scrimmage would be Florida transfer Chris Johnson at Duquesne. Johnson has showed that he is one of the elite 1-AA players already, and was Florida’s MVP of special teams last season. The two individual players that can cause match-up problems on the Pitt sideline would be would be wide receiver Devin Street and tight end JP Holtz.
People would question Duquesne’s depth at QB, Tailback, Linebacking core, and coaching, but if you look into the Duquesne football program, you’d see they aren’t far off from teams in the MAC. In fact, some of their players would be great in the MAC. At RB, Duquesne has Ryan Ho and Jason Douglass. If Douglass rings a bell, it should. He used to play for Pitt and probably would have started for the Panthers this year had he stayed on the team. Duquesne thrives on its linebacking core. Yes they have All-American Dorian Bell, but rounding out the core is St. Edward’s (Ohio) alum Sam Martello and Chartiers Valley (PA) alum Christian Kuntz. Martello had some MAC offers, such as Toledo, and Kuntz would have been a nice recruit coming out of high school had he played his senior year. During camp of his senior year in high school, he ruptured his spleen and was told he could never play again. To Duquesne’s delight, doctors cleared him 8 months later to play and Duquesne scooped him up. Last year as a true freshman, he proved he was Duquesne’s biggest steal of their 2012 recruiting class.
Throwing the ball wouldn’t be as bad as people might think for Duquesne against Pitt’s secondary. At the reigns of their offense, Duquesne has Dillon Buechel, the WPIAL’s all-time passing leader, and Gianni Carter, a pre-season 1-AA All-American. Throw in the size and speed of Noel Oduho to match up with Lafeyette Pitts, Buechel could arguably have a big game.
Pitt is playing an Elite 11 QB who hasn’t played in a game in three years. Pitt is also very suspect at running back. However, their offensive line consisting of Gabe Roberts, Adam Bisnowaty, ect. would definitely be their strongest asset in this match-up, though Duquesne could probably somewhat hold their ground in the trenches.
Finally we bring up coaching. Pitt head coach Paul Chryst has the advantage over Duquesne’s Jerry Schmitt, but Schmitt is an experienced coach with a coaching staff that is much better than people would think. Duquesne brought on the Arizona linebacker’s coach Matt Raich, who has an impressive résumé and can add another dimension to Duquesne’s football team.
There is no question Pitt would be the favorite of this matchup. Of course this is all in good fun when a bunch of “what-if” questions came swirling in. Make no mistake about it; Duquesne would give Pitt a game this year.