It’s time to have a look at where the Dukes succeeded and where they didn’t based on the five keys that we identified for them the other day. This is bittersweet; we’re at the end of a season and it’ll be a while before I get to write one of these again. We’ll have to make the most of it. Let’s dig in.
1. Stop The Hawks’ Run
The Dukes stopped one half of their tandem, but not the other. K. B. Asante managed to pile on 129 yards in the loss.
2. Special Teams needs to be in early season form
Forget the one missed field goal – the special teams was pretty good here. Devin Rahming had a big return in response to the Monmouth touchdown. Crimmins nabbed the single-game record for FGs made. Fleck put one inside the 20. In general, coverage was pretty good on the kicks and blocking was pretty nice on the returns. The special teams also got hands on a bad kickoff by MU and blocked a punt.
3. Let Buechel be Buechel
An emphatic “sort of” here. I think that there was a bit more freedom. It was cool to see a touchdown pass to the fullback Dorsey. Buechel didn’t have an easy road, given the gusty winds found in West Long Branch on Saturday. The future is bright with this guy under center, though, and this share of the NEC title this year should be just the beginning of great things.
4. The Wind Beneath Their Wings
Here we discussed the importance of the Dukes to have a good run game and again to limit Monmouth’s due to the weather. Strangely, Dorsey carried just four times. Ho and Douglas made for a pretty good combination, though. Ho finally had a decent day, 84 yards on 12 carries. All told, the Dukes ran for 170 yards on 37 attempts. Not amazing, but not bad at all.
5. Go out with a bang
Boy did this happen. And if you want to talk about ending with a “bang,” look no further than Christian Kuntz. The linebacker notched 10 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss – 3.5 of them sacks. He also is credited with a pass breakup. Kuntz came to play.
Now, on the other hand, Monmouth was allowed to get back in the game, knotting the score up early in the 4th quarter. For most of the game, the Dukes made the Hawks pay for their mistakes. But in the third quarter, Duquesne made some mistakes of their own and it almost cost them. Moving forward, the Dukes need to learn to step on an opponent who is down. I don’t expect a team that I root for to be constantly dominant, but this team was up 23-7. You can’t let a team back in.
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We’ll be back to wrap up the season and make our case in the Jerry Schmitt contract situation! Stay tuned.