Raymond Arke | News Editor
Duquesne’s football team (7-2, 4-0) faces a match up on Nov. 11 that will determine the fate of its season. The team takes on Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (6-3, 4-0) at Rooney Field at 12 p.m. with the winner capturing the conference crown and thus a slot in the FCS playoffs.
Duquesne hopes to notch its fifth NEC championship and earn its second FCS Playoff appearance. The Dukes last appeared in the playoffs in 2015, when they lost an offensive shootout to William & Mary, 52-49. Central Connecticut State, on the other hand, looks to win its first NEC title since 2010. They have yet to make the FCS Playoffs.
Both teams are hoping to finish the season with a perfect NEC record. The last team to do so was Albany in 2008.
The Dukes are coming off a tough loss last week against Liberty University, who is in its last year of transitioning to the FBS, 27-24. Duquesne running back A.J. Hines had a career game, rushing for 253 yards on 25 carries, while scoring two touchdowns. However, his career-high didn’t make up for the disappointment of a loss.
“All those numbers and still no win, so they really don’t matter to me unless the win comes with it,” Hines said.
The loss to Liberty should prove motivating to the team, Hines says.
“We are coming into [the Nov. 11 CCSU] game with a little bit of anger from last game because we knew we should have beaten them,” he said.
“We are just ready to come into this game and get this nasty taste out of our mouths and win a championship.”
Hines is currently leading the NEC with 115.0 yards rushing per game, which is good for third in all of the FCS.
Duquesne has won four-straight match ups against Central Connecticut State, although the series is locked at 5-5 overall.
The Blue Devils won its last time out against Saint Francis 28-10 on Nov. 4 in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Central Connecticut State’s defense caused four turnovers in the game, and running back Cameron Nash carried 21 times for 93 yards and a rushing score.