Football Has NEC Title Hopes as Blue Devils Host Duquesne on Saturday

Football Has NEC Title Hopes as Blue Devils Host Duquesne on Saturday
Today's Game • The Blue Devils return home for the final regular season game of the season, hosting Duquesne Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. on ESPN3. The Blue Devils are in a three-way tie for first place in the NEC with Sacred Heart and Duquesne.  A win guarantees CCSU at least a share of the regular season title for the sixth time in school history.  In order for the Blue Devils to make a second straight trip to the NCAA Playoffs, however, they'll need some help.  In addition to a CCSU win, the Blue Devils need Saint Francis U to beat Sacred Heart.  
 
A Chance for 6 • The Blue Devils can secure at least a share of their sixth Northeast Conference title with a win over Duquesne this afternoon.  Central is 4-1 in conference play and has won 10 of its last 11 NEC games dating back to last season.  They were 6-0 last year and 4-1 this year.  The Blue Devils also won conference titles in 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2017.  The Blue Devils and Dukes also met in 2017, in Pittsburgh, with the NEC Title on the line.  Central came away with a 28-27 victory in the second to last regular season game of the season.
 
Exilhomme Honored by NEC • Sophomore defensive back DJ Exilhomme was named the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Exilhomme spearheaded a defensive effort that limited Saint Francis to 3.3 yards per play and helped CCSU remain alive in the chase for the NEC crown. The strong safety made a team-high nine tackles during the 30-14 road win. He also recorded two takeaways, including a major momentum shifter in the fourth quarter. Exilhomme denied Saint Francis on what could have been the game-tying drive. With CCSU protecting a 21-14 advantage, Exilhomme picked off a pass in the end zone on a 3rd-and-Goal play. He returned the interception to the CCSU 30-yard line and the Blue Devils proceeded to march to an insurance touchdown. Exilhomme also recovered a fumble on a running play in the second quarter.
 
Dawson on the National Stage • Sophomore Aaron Dawson made national headlines three weeks ago, rushing for a school and NEC-record 361 yards on just 24 carries in a home win over Wagner.  He also matched the school and league record with 5 touchdowns.  Dawson rushed 15 times for an NCAA-record 308 yards and four touchdowns in the second half alone two weeks ago.  The 308 yards were the most in a single half in NCAA Division I history.  For his efforts he earned a pair of National Player of the Week awards, as well as the co-Offensive Player of the Week award in the NEC.  Dawson scored on touchdown runs of 23, 45, 57, 60 and 55 yards in the victory.  His 361 yards were the sixth-highest single game total in NCAA FCS history.
 
48 or More • The Blue Devils scored seven touchdowns and 49 points in the home win over Wagner on Oct. 27, marking the fourth time this season they have scored 48 or more points in a single game.  Central has scored 341 points on the season including 211 points in the last five games. 
 
Offensive Minded • The Blue Devils lead the league in scoring offense averaging 34.1 points per game through the first 10 games of the year.  Central's 47 touchdowns are a league-high.  They also lead the league in total offense (440.4 yards per game) are second in rushing offense (232.8 yards per game) and are fourth in passing offense (207.6 yard per game).    
 
Dolegala's 90 Yards From 8,000 • In the last five games senior quarterback Jacob Dolegala is 66-of-105 for 1,044 yards and seven touchdowns, while also rushing for 195 yards and four scores.  He has five rushing touchdowns on the season, and has thrown for 13 scores, while posting just four interceptions. Dolegala set a new school-record for total offense with 408 yards in the win over Robert Morris on Oct. 6.  With his 153 passing yards against Saint Francis, Dolegala moved to 5th all-time in NEC history with 7,910 career passing yards.  Anthony Foria (SFU) is 4th with 8,544 career yards.
 
Two for 100 • Jean-Guillaume (157 yards) and sophomore classmate Aaron Dawson (102) yards became the first CCSU teammates to rush for 100 yards in the same game since 2011 (Chris Tolbert and Brian Fowler vs. Bryant, 11/19/11) in the win at Robert Morris on Oct. 7.  They almost did it again at Bryant, when Jean-Guillaume rushed for 203 and Dawson posted 99.
 
A Record Day for the Offense • The Blue Devils set a new school and NEC record with 699 yards of total offense in the 56-35 win over Robert Morris earlier this season.  Central rushed for 358 yards and passed for another 341 in the victory and had 31 first downs.
 
Most Since 2006 • The 56 points in the NEC win over Robert Morris marked their most points in an NEC game since 2006, when they beat St. Francis U 62-21 in New Britain. 
 
Into the Record Book • First-year kicker Francis Cole, a junior, kicked his way into the football record book in the road loss at Lafayette earlier this season.  Just before halftime Cole kicked a school-record 50-yard field goal to put the Blue Devils up 17-14. It was the first 50+ yard field goal in school history, topping the record of 49 set by Mike O'Sullivan vs. Springfield in 1984. 
 
Blocked Punts • Sophomore DJ Exilhomme blocked a key punt just before halftime in the road win at Fordham, leading to a CCSU touchdown with under a minute to play before halftime. The blocked punt was the third of the year for the Blue Devils. Exilhomme was named the NEC Special Teams Player of the Week.
 
Bagley to the House • Junior defensive back Tajik Bagley became the first Blue Devil since 2003 to return a punt for a touchdown when he returned a Columbia punt 82 yards for a score in the first quarter on Sept. 15.  The last Blue Devil to return a punt for a touchdown, prior to Bagley, was former defensive back Donnie Rose, who returned a punt 90 yards vs. Monmouth on Nov. 1, 2003.  
 
Mushaw WAS the Match! • For the past four years, head football coach Pete Rossmando and the Blue Devil football program have teamed up with the Be The Match Program to add more than 750 CCSU students, faculty and staff to the national bone marrow registry. This past year they got word that one of the people they had signed up had been chosen as a match. Junior linebacker Mike Mushaw was recently selected as a match, and this summer he donated his marrow to help save the life of someone he has never met.  CCSU football has joined the efforts of Villanova football head coach Andy Talley to raise awareness of the need for marrow donors and helping patients receive life-saving transplants. Talley and others have helped recruit thousands of potential donors to the registry by encouraging their football players, other students and their peers on other teams to sign up, along with friends, family and teachers. Last year alone, close to 10,000 people joined the Be The Match Registry through Get in the Game. Save A Life. donor registry drives. 
 
Eight Straight Wins • Prior to last season's loss to New Hampshire in the FCS playoffs, the Blue Devils won eight straight games in a single season for the first time in school history. The last streak of nine or more straight wins came from 1954-55 when CCSU won nine straight games (all six games of 1954 and first three of 1955).
 
Rossomando Coach of the Year and Eddie Robinson Finalist Head coach Pete Rossomando was named the NEC Coach of the Year last season.  He was also an Eddie Robinson Award finalist for the National Coach of the Year Award.
 
Overtime, Again • The Blue Devils played one of the most memorable games in school history in 2017 topping Wagner 51-45 in 4OT on Staten Island.  The game is the longest in school history and the ninth-ever overtime game for CCSU.  The Blue Devils are now 6-3 all-time in overtime.  
 
 
NEC Front Row • Thanks to a continued partnership between the Northeast Conference and the Pack Network, live webcasts of NEC sports will be available free of charge on NECFrontRow.com. The site will carry every CCSU NEC football game this season, excluding those games designated by the NEC to air on ESPN3/ESPN+.
 
Social Media • Follow the Blue Devils all season long on Social Media:  
Twitter: @CCSUBlueDevils
In Game Twitter Updates: @KizerBlueDevil
Facebook: CCSUBlueDevils
Instagram: CCSUBlueDevils
SnapChat: CCSUBlueDevils

 

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