No question – the Youngstown State game is going to be difficult. Still, it wouldn’t be prudent to count out the Dukes. With weapons like Gianni Carter and Dorian Bell, the leg of Austin Fleck, and the poise of Dillon Buechel, Duquesne brings a lot to the table. Let’s see what the Dukes can do to increase their chances tomorrow.
1. The O-Line Must Be A Wall
Dayton has a good run defense, but they were still able to get through the Duquesne front a bit too easily. The offensive line needs to play cohesively and not allow this to happen again. YSU will bring the pressure, and they must respond accordingly. This can be helped if…
2. Dillon Buechel Throws Early and Often
Buechel needs to take pressure off of himself, the run game needs a jumpstart, and YSU is good against the run. YSU is also missing their regular nickleback, who had a pick in week one. Buechel is going to need to throw, and the receivers are going to need to be open. You can’t get a sack of the QB doesn’t have the ball.
Carter is the obvious target and so the defense will try to neutralize him. I’d like to see Buechel get the ball to Dave Thomas once again, an effective tandem in week one. Screens to running backs will help, as will some more plays that involve Chavas Rawlins. Yes, he is young, but he has been effective in the limited action he’s seen so far. If this can work out, the RBs will have space.
3. No Turnovers
This is always important, but especially so here, against an opponent that is consistently among the better programs in the FCS. The Dukes can’t allow YSU to have an advantage in this department.
4. Stop The Run
Once again, this is key, because once again, the opposing team loves to run the ball. The 100 yard back from week one is hurt and has been out. Two backs gained 100 yards apiece in week two, but that was against a Morehead State team that Duquesne would also have demolished. Another back is coming back from an injury that has kept him out for a while. So while YSU loves to run, their run game could see some consistency issues. The front seven will need to be proactive.
5. Take Advantage of Your Assets
YSU hasn’t played an offense like Duquesne’s yet. Dayton is far from traditional, Morehead State is horrible, and Michigan didn’t even break a sweat beating them. The defense has some better playmakers than the former two, and Dorian Bell probably could start on the latter. Duquesne has assets that are unexpected and that YSU hasn’t faced yet, and that’s always an advantage.
My heart says Duquesne but my head says otherwise. I think the Dukes keep it interesting early but fall behind late. YSU 30-17.
My predictions are 1-1 this year. I would love to fall to 1-2 in this case.