Duquesne has focus on another NEC title

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(STATS) - Duquesne will play its spring game on Saturday at Rooney Field. With only four home games there during the 2017 season, the Dukes are going to have to raise their play significantly.

The Dukes have won at least a share of four of the last six Northeast Conference titles. Winning another one and getting to the FCS playoffs for the second time is the goal for coach Jerry Schmitt's team.

While the Dukes return 14 starters from an 8-3 team, they are replacing Dillon Buechel, the NEC's all-time passing leader. Boise State graduate transfer Tom Stuart and redshirt sophomore Brett Brumbaugh are among the key candidates behind center, but the offense will feature running back A.J. Hines, the 2016 STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award winner as the national freshman of the year.

The spring game will be a controlled situational scrimmage. Two additional practices will follow next week as the Dukes conclude spring practice and begin to shift their attention to the new season, which kicks off Aug. 31 at South Dakota State.

Duquesne's four home games will be its fewest since 2007.