Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
Last Thursday, the Duquesne football team embarked on an approximately 1,100 mile trek northwest of Pittsburgh to face No. 4 South Dakota State in its 2017 season opener, only to fall to the high-powered Jackrabbits 51-13.
While there are plenty of positive things to take away from the Dukes’ performance on Aug. 31 — including graduate transfer quarterback Tommy Stuart’s encouraging debut and Chavas Rawlins’ career-high 83 receiving yards on six receptions — Duquesne returned home equally dissatisfied and motivated; dissatisfied with the way that the game went, albeit against one of the FCS’ traditional powerhouse programs, and motivated for their next game on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Valparaiso.
“Of course it’s a terrible feeling to have because we know we are a better team than what the scoreboard (sic) shows,” running back A.J. Hines said via text message. “We’re going into the next
game determined that we won’t have a game like that again and we’re just ready to move on and get this nasty taste out of our mouths.”
Hines, the NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year last season following a campaign that saw him rush for a school-record 1,291 yards and 13 touchdowns, was held to an underwhelming 34 yards
Hines left the game during the first half on Thursday appearing to nurse his arm, much to the dismay of Duquesne backers. Asked Wednesday afternoon about how he felt, Hines promptly responded, “(sic) Yea, I’m good.”
Sophomore safety Bryan Glover sees last week’s loss to a high-octane South Dakota State team largely as a stepping stone for what’s to come for the Dukes.
“It’s a learning experience. [The South Dakota State game] showed us what we needed to work on and improve upon as a team, and as far as preparing for [this weekend’s game at Valparaiso], we’re approaching them like every other week,” Glover said on Wednesday. “It’s another football game for us. We tweaked some stuff, tightened some stuff up, [and] we’re ready to go play them,” a confident Glover stated.
The Dukes face a much easier task this weekend as they travel to Valparaiso, Indiana, where they’ll face a Crusaders squad that returns sixteen starters from a team coming off of a 4-7 campaign in 2016.
Picked to finish 10th this season in an 11-team Pioneer Football League (FCS), Valparaiso is a far cry from a team of South Dakota State’s caliber.
Nevertheless, the Dukes seem eager to move on from their loss at South Dakota State and play their second game of the 2017 campaign.
“We feel confident. We fixed and adjusted where we needed to. It was the first week, so we had a lot of things that we still had to go over, but we’re good now,” said an optimistic Marquis Brown, reserve freshman linebacker, on Wednesday.
The Dukes hope to return home with an inverse result of the one that they returned home with from South Dakota last weekend.