There was a lot to be giddy about in the aftermath of the Albany game – Dillon Buechel’s performance, Sean Brady’s catch, the safety, PICK-arski’s picks – but we’re past that now. Ok, except the catch. I can’t stop watching that. It’s time to be a little more analytical about the victory.
1. Dillon Buechel does not look like a new starter, and he and the offense work well together.
Buechel stood tall, was unfazed by sacks, and completed some great passes when under pressure. The Duquesne offense rarely seemed to be out of sorts despite the new signal caller. Sure, the protection could be a little tighter – the offensive line had some breakdowns late in the game, including a wasted series in the fourth quarter. But there is much reason for optimism, and Albany’s front seven can be tough.
2. The defense bent, but did not break. Mostly.
There were times when the defense was maddening, yet at the end of some drives, they did the job and got Albany off the field. I was impressed with the stand that they put together in the first quarter. Albany started midfield after Fleck’s only bad punt, and they were only able to get a field goal out of it after some timely plays by the D. Later, in the second quarter, Sterling Parks helped the Dukes in defending a 4th down attempt from Albany.
There were moments of frustration, especially the late Q2 Albany touchdown. Fiacchi simply had too much time, and Chillis was far too wide open. While the defense did a great job handling the running game, the secondary was not often impressive, save Piecharski’s splash plays. This will need to improve.
3. Ryan Ho looked Ho-K.
I know that a 76 yard performance doesn’t look impressive on paper, but it’s important to remember that Albany prides itself on stopping the run. Larry McCoy only found his way to 73 yards on the ground in last year’s losing effort. Ho showed good instincts and was capable of breaking the fist tackle, bouncing outside to avoid pressure (as he did on his first touchdown in the first quarter) and also sweeping to the outside. This was not an easy first test, and I would say that he passed.
4. Special teams was excellent, and Fleck was the unsung hero of the game.
Aaron Fleck pinned the Danes like a professional wrestler. The real kind, that is. As I look at my notes, I’m impressed with how many times I wrote “Albany starts behind their 10 AGAIN.” His punts had the distance and the hang time, allowing the Dukes coverage unit the time needed to rush downfield and touch up.
The special teams was also a factor in the early safety, forcing Albany to start off at their own 13 after the opening kickoff.
NEXT UP: The Dayton Flyers host the Dukes in another out of conference game!