The Dukes have a lot that they need to get right before conference play begins. The surprising Sacred Heart Pioneers and the high flying offense of Bryant will require better efforts on both sides of the ball than what we have seen so far. First, get to know a little bit about West Liberty – if you missed it.
Next, here’s what the Dukes can do against West Liberty to make sure that they’re ready.
1. Establish the run
It’s no secret that the running game has been nonexistent. That simply can not continue. Dillon Buechel has been very good. However, the passing game can’t be the only show in town. The running backs need to make some noise, whether it starts with Ryan Ho or Jason Douglas. Someone needs to step up, and it needs to happen now. To start a theme that will echo throughout this article, if they can’t do it here, the Dukes are in trouble.
2. Take care of the ball
The running backs, as well as everyone else, also need to limit their turnovers against a West Liberty team that really likes to come up with turnovers. The Dukes have lost five fumbles this year, and West Liberty will put a lot of pressure on the backfield. Ball carriers need to focus on how they’re holding the ball and make sure they’re protecting it.
3. Sacks and other tackles for a loss
It’s hard to score points when you can’t make forward progress, and the Opfar defense hasn’t done that to opposing teams enough to this point. If the Duquesne defense can’t find a way to bring down the quarterback, then the Dukes are in trouble this year. It’s time to pad some numbers.
4. Block, block, block.
Too many times have we seen defenders bringing down our running back or getting pressure on the quarterback at the instant the play starts. The offensive line must do better, and this sack-happy team is a great one to get back on the right foot against.
5. Solid pass defense
At times, the Duquesne secondary has looked very good. Other times, their positioning has been problematic at best. Look no further than the touchdown in the closing minutes of the first half of the Albany game for evidence of this. Duquesne needs to put together a complete game. Perhaps this is not the standard level of competition, but the fundamentals need to be there.
The winner will be…
Finally, the prediction – I’m currently 2-1, and I’m very confident that I’ll improve that mark this week.
Duquesne 45, West Liberty 6; Dillon Buechel has another monster game and gets his 3rd Rookie of the Week award.