Saturday, July 21, 2007

*OPINION PIECE* No. 3 Greatest Moment in Duquesne Athletics History

October 21, 1939 - Football visits and defeats then-No. 1-ranked (AP) the University of Pittsburgh, 21-13, on its way to an undefeated season and a top ten AP ranking.
  The 1939 Dukes Football team finished 8-0-1 under head coach Aldo "Buff" Donelli. Donelli was the former player that captained Duquesne to its first official undefeated season (9-0-1 in 1929).
  The 1939 Dukes were arguably Duquesne's second-greatest football team ever behind the undefeated and untied 8-0-0 Dukes of 1941, but the Duquesne Football win over Pittsburgh in 1939 ranks as one the school's greatest, especially given the opponent and thus, the situation.
  Pitt entered the 1939 contest ranked No. 1 in the country by the Associated Press, and Duquesne was still undefeated and untied. A showdown between the city of Pittsburgh's top two college football teams would lead to ultimate bragging rights, and you could taste the drama in the air. The Dukes were considered legitimate underdogs, especially since they were the official visitors.
  However, the Duquesne victory truly signalled a "changing of the guard" in Pittsburgh's college football scene. The Panthers entered the 1939 season riding eight straight seasons of at least seven wins and no more than two losses, but after the 1939 season, the Panthers would not win seven games in a season again until 1955.
  The Dukes, meanwhile, would go 7-1-0 in 1940 and 8-0-0 in 1941.
  Unfortunately, after a 6-3-1 1942 season, World War II would force Duquesne to suspend football operations, and "big time" football success would truly never come back to the Bluff.

(Image: Antique Football Helmet, Copyright Akadema Inc.)

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