Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Duquesne Dukes.
Saturday, September 9; 6:00 p.m. ET; Milan Puskar Stadium; Morgantown, West Virginia
Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Jed Drenning)
2023 Records: West Virginia 0-1; Duquesne 1-0
Rankings: West Virginia NR; Duquesne NR
Series History: West Virginia leads series, 4-3-1
Last Meeting: Duquesne 19, West Virginia 0 (1935)
Fun Fact: Despite being an hour and fifteen minutes away these two schools haven’t played against one another since 1935.
RB CJ Donaldson
Coming into the 2023 season, we all knew that CJ was going to be the main focus of the West Virginia offense. With Garrett Greene at quarterback, the Mountaineers need a bell cow type of running back to take some of the pressure off the passing game. West Virginia has a veteran offensive line and in a game like this one, I expect the run game to be clicking on all cylinders. It would be a crime if CJ Donaldson doesn’t get at least ten to fifteen touches on Saturday.
DL Sean Martin
After losing several key players from last season, Sean Martin is one of the few returning players on defense that I trust to put pressure on the quarterback. He had four sacks in 2022 and I expect those numbers to go up this season. If the offense takes care of business, Sean should get plenty of opportunities to get some sacks in passing situations.
QB Darius Perrantes
Darius has starting experience at Duquesne because he was their starter back in 2021. Last season he split time with Joe Mischler but now it is his job again. He isn’t the most accurate guy in the world, but he has had his good moments. Two seasons ago he had five games where he threw three or more touchdown passes. If Duquesne is going to have any chance to compete in this game, then it will fall on the shoulders of this young man.
The Defensive Line
I didn’t want to focus on one key player here, so I decided to put the spotlight on an entire unit. We all know that West Virginia is going to go run heavy and they have the offensive line to make it work. Duquesne better be ready upfront because it’s coming right at them on defense.
The Mountaineers need a nice bounce-back win after falling short to Penn State last week. Going up against a team like Duquesne should help with that. This is one of those games where West Virginia should have no issue rushing for over 150 yards. Hopefully, Garrett Greene can connect on more of his passes which will help him get a little confidence going into the game against Pitt next weekend. There should be no excuses in this game and it’s time for this team to get the job done and not let an inferior team hang around.
To be completely honest, nobody is going to follow this team after this game because nobody knows much about them. This is supposed to be a collect the paycheck and go home type of game. For Duquesne to have a chance at pulling off the upset, a lot and I mean a lot is going to have to go their way. I know it may sound cliché but the one play at a time mentality is needed for an underdog like this. Roll the dice and see what happens.
West Virginia 45, Duquesne 10
West Virginia should have no problems on Saturday. They clearly are the better team and I expect them to be dominant in this game. Run the football and let everything else fall into place. Hopefully, the starters will be pulled by the time the fourth quarter rolls around and start focusing on Pitt next week.