SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University football team returns to Bulldog Stadium for the first time in over a month as it hosts Duquesne on Homecoming and Reunion Weekend Saturday, Oct. 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:04 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3.
Saturday's Northeast Conference clash will feature the top two teams in the preseason coaches poll and two of the most winningest programs in the NEC over the past six seasons. The Dukes (4-2, 1-0 NEC) are an NEC-best 22-15 in league play over the last six years while the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-1) boast the third-best record at 20-17.
It will be a matchup, however, of two teams that are in opposite directions. The Bulldogs have lost three-straight games for the first time since the 2013 season and the Dukes have won two consecutive entering the weekend. Bryant leads the all-time series 4-3 and has won each of the last two meetings, including a 20-17 victory last season in Pittsburgh.
Bryant put up impressive offensive numbers last weekend at Central Connecticut but couldn't stop the Blue Devils on defense. The Bulldogs accrued 28 first downs and a season-high 478 yards of total offense in the game but surrendered 553 yards of total offense. Senior Ricardo McCray (Middletown, R.I.) continued his outstanding senior season with 174 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries. He scored on runs of 49 and 45 and is averaging 99.6 yards per game and 7.8 yards per carry.
The Black and Gold offense will have to get it done against one of the best defensive units in the country this weekend. The Dukes lead the nation in red zone defense (.462) and fifth in the country in scoring defense (13.8). Duquesne also leads the conference with 17 sacks and has held opponents to a 31 percent conversion rate on third downs.
Junior Patrick Kenney (Camarillo, Calif.), who posted a career-high 12 stops last week, and the Bulldogs defense will have their hands full once again this weekend. The Dukes are putting up 30 points per game and a league-leading 430 yards of total offense per game this year. Dillon Buechel has thrown for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year, while All-American WR Chris King has caught 41 passes for 563 yards and five scores. Klartel Claridy, P.J. Fullmore and Rafiq Douglas all average over 50 yards per game on the ground.