The next opponent for the Dukes is the CCSU Blue Devils. This game is a must win if the Dukes are to have any hope of winning the NEC this year – and even then they’ll need help. In many ways, this team is similar to Sacred Heart, but the quarterback is not as likely to run.
Once again, the Dukes face a team with an elite running back in Rob Holloman. With 2,388 career yards following the game against Robert Morris, this junior is already third on the list of all-time running backs for CCSU.
The other driving force of the offense is QB Nick SanGiacomo. Don’t let his poor stat line – including four interceptions – against RMU fool you, as that was an uncharacteristically poor game for him. He is normally quite efficient. The peak of that efficiency came just two games ago against Wagner, when he completed 88% of his passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns.
His most productive target is junior wideout Tyrell Holmes, who leads the team in receptions by 10 and yards by 400 over the next guys.
Defensively, the Blue Devils present some challenges but are far more tame than Sacred Heart. Statistically, they’re not bad, but many of the stats are concentrated in a few games. They have acquired seven turnovers in four conference games, and three of those were against Wagner. The defense has pulled the quarterback down 17 times, but 14 of those came in only thee games – Albany, St. Francis, and Wagner.
If there is a player to watch, it is defensive back Chris Linares, who has three picks and nine breakups. Linares also earned NEC Player of the Week honors for his blocked field goal against Wagner just a few weeks ago.
The Blue Devils don’t have much to play for now after the shellacking that the Colonials put on them and it will be interesting to explore their mindset on Saturday. Many of their key pieces – notably SanGiacomo and Holloman – return for next year, so it is doubtful that they will give up.
Coverage continues with a look at the five keys for victory as well as some of the playoff scenarios for the NEC. Stay tuned!