<P><B>Oct. 24, 2007</B>
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It's the scenario kids playing in the backyard pretend they are in, and the situation current Flyer and Torero players expected to be in when they decided to play college football. First place in the Pioneer Football League will be up for grabs when #1-ranked San Diego visits #2-ranked Dayton on Saturday. Game time at Welcome Stadium is 1 p.m. Fans can follow the action between UD (7-1, 3-1 PFL) and USD (7-0, 4-0 PFL) with live video, live audio and live stats at www.DaytonFlyers.com.
<P>San Diego is not only first in the PFL, a half-game ahead of Dayton and Morehead State, but also ranked first in the Sports Network, Football Gazette and CollegeSportsReport.com rankings. Right behind in all three ratings are the Dayton Flyers. The only two non-scholarship teams receiving votes in the Football Coaches FCS poll are USD and UD. San Diego is 24th, and UD is 37th.
<P>The game will be an interesting clash of statistics. San Diego leads the PFL (and FCS football) in scoring (49.6) and total offense (499.1), while the Flyers lead the league in scoring defense (15.4) and total defense (275.4). UD leads the PFL (and FCS football) in sacks (4.5), while San Diego has allowed the fewest sacks (6, tied with Davidson) and lowest sack yardage (37) in the PFL.
<P>The Toreros have won the last two PFL titles and the last two Mid-Major national championships. Senior QB Josh Johnson is the team's headliner. Last year's PFL Offensive Player of the Year, he is tops in FCS football in passing efficiency (225.44) and total offense (382.8). Senior defensive end Eric Bakhtiari was the PFL Co-Defensive of the Player of the Year in 2006, and he currently leads FCS in sacks (1.93 per game). While Johnson and Bakhtiari are the first among the USD returnees, San Diego is coached by first-year coach Ron Caragher, who came to USD from the University of Kentucky.
Dayton leads the series 10-4, but the four USD wins have come in the last four meetings. Last year, the Toreros won 56-14 on November 11 in San Diego.
The 2007 campaign is UD coach <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/kelly_mike00.html" >Mike Kelly's</a> 27th season as Dayton's head coach, the longest tenure of any UD head coach in any sport. The Flyers opened the season 4-0 this year for the 13th time under Kelly.
<P>NO ONE'S DOING IT BETTER
Since 2000, the Flyers have the second-best winning percentage in FCS football (.773 at the start of the year) AND have produced the most football Academic All-Americans at all levels of college football (13).
UD has not been shut out in 349 straight games, the best such active string in all of college football. The last team to shut out the Flyers was Marshall, 9-0, on October 16, 1976.
<P>LEADERS ON AND OFF THE FIELD
Not only are team captains <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/cramer_brandon00.html" >Brandon Cramer</a>, <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hoyng_kevin00.html" >Kevin Hoyng</a> and <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/kelly_brian00.html" >Brian Kelly</a> the Flyers' top performers on the field, they are also leaders in the classroom. All three were repeat members of the PFL's All-Academic Team in 2006. Kelly is a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection, and Cramer has been twice named an Academic All-American by ESPN The Magazine. Both Kelly and Cramer are Pre-Med majors. Hoyng is only the third two-time football captain in Flyer football history.
<A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hoyng_kevin00.html" >Kevin Hoyng</a> has three regular-season games left in his career, and he already holds every UD career QB record - passing yardage (6,707), completions (425) and total offense (8,099). Last season, he was second in the PFL in passing efficiency (146.46), and third in total offense (219.8). For the year, he was 131 of 221 (.593) for 2,052 yards and 11 touchdowns. This season, Hoyng is 146 of 249 (.586) for 2,162 yards with a UD-record-tying 21 TD's. His 408 yards passing in the Davidson win was the third-best single-game effort by a Flyer QB, and just six yards shy of the record.
<P>SIX IF BY AIR
<A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hoyng_kevin00.html" >Kevin Hoyng's</a> five touchdown passes at Morehead State set a new UD single game record. The record was previously held by Franks Siggins (1951), Brian Kadel (1995) and Kevin Johns (twice in 1996) and Hoyng (4 vs. Urbana and Davidson). Hoyng also broke the Dayton record in the Morehead game, breaking Johns' old record of 37. Hoyng currently has 45. He has tied the' single-season passing touchdown record of 21 TD's originally set by Johns in 1996.
<A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hoyng_kevin00.html" >Kevin Hoyng</a> needs 154 yards to reach Steve Keller's single-season Flyer mark for passing yards in a season (Keller did his 2,316 yards in 14 games in 1991, by the way). Hoyng is also 17 completions shy of Keller's 163 (also in 1991). Hoyng is 19 yards from his own mark of 2,547 yards total offense he had in 2005. He also needs one passing TD to have 22 TD's, and sole possession of that record. <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/jonard_jmichael01.html" >J Michael Jonard</a> is nine catches away from Bill Franks' record of 55 set in 1989 in 14 games. As a team, UD needs 98 yards to reach last year's record of 2,472 yards, and two passing touchdowns to get to the 25 set in 1951.
<P>FLYER FOOTBALLS FLYING THROUGH THE AIR
The UD Flyers have set single-game school records for attempts (50 at Morehead, previously 48) completions (33 vs. Urbana, previously 29) and TD passes (5 vs. Urbana and Morehead, previously 4) this season. Dayton has already broken last year's team record for completions in a season (167).
<P>NOW THAT'S A BULLPEN
Backup quarterback <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/florian_rob00.html" >Rob Florian</a> completed 11 of 13 passes in the second half against Urbana for 110 yards and a TD. Subbing in for two plays for a banged-up <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hoyng_kevin00.html" >Kevin Hoyng</a> at Fordham, he threw one pass for an 18-yard TD in the back of the end zone. For the year he is 20 of 34 (.588) for 217 yards. He made his first career start last season at Jacksonville in place of Hoyng, who was out with an injured knee. Not only was this his first start, but the first pass he threw in the game (16-yard completion to <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/mcfadgen_carlton00.html" >Carlton McFadgen</a>) was the first of his college career. All Florian did was throw for the second-highest single-game passing total in UD history. His 411 yards (308 in the second half) were second only to Kevin Johns' 414 at San Diego in 1996.
<P>THE GOOD HANDS PEOPLE
UD is just 98 yards away from setting a new-single season record for passing yardage in a season, and the old record is not even a year old. The 2006 Flyers set the record in ten games (2,472 yards). Dayton returned two of the top three receivers from last year, two players who had exceptional seasons at their respective positions. Wideout <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/ruhe_nick00.html" >Nick Ruhe</a> set the school record for receiving (977 yards) and his 49 receptions were the fourth-best total in Flyer football history. <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/champa_matt00.html" >Matt Champa</a> had the best season by a Dayton tight end since Fred Dugan's All-America season in 1957. Champa was UD's third-leading receiver in 2006, catching 29 passes for 400 yards (13.8 yards a catch). Dugan had 37 receptions for 546 yards. This season, Ruhe is third on the team in receptions (36 catches for 554 yards), Champa is second (37 for 617) and a new face, <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/jonard_jmichael01.html" >J Michael Jonard</a>, leads UD with 46 catches for 620 yards. Another new face, <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/watkins_justin00.html" >Justin Watkins</a>, leads the team in yards per catch (18.3).
<A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/jonard_jmichael01.html" >J Michael Jonard</a> is third in the PFL in receptions per game (5.75). He came into the season with five career catches, but has had at least that many in six games in 2007 (8 at RMU, 7 vs. Urbana, 6 vs. CSU, 5 at Fordham, 9 at MSU, 5 vs. JU). His nine catches at Morehead were one off the UD single-game record. He is fourth in the PFL in receiving yards per game (77.5).
<P>TIGHT END TOUGH
UD tight end <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/champa_matt00.html" >Matt Champa</a> is seventh in the PFL in receiving yards per game (77.1). He is averaging more yards per game than any other tight end in college football. Against Urbana he had nine catches (one off the Flyer record) for 168 yards and two TD's. Champa is currently third in career TD catches (14), one behind Jim Currin's 15. Since Currin and Champa were and are both tight ends, Champa is also one off the UD tight end record. Pat Hugar's 24 is the overall Flyer record.
<P>JACK OF ALL TRADES
Senior <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/odell_jack00.html" >Jack O'Dell</a> has hit his stride in the last two games, catching 12 of his 24 receptions this season, gaining 160 of his 259 yards and scoring four of his team-high eight TD's. He tied a school record with three touchdown catches as part of a seven-catch day in the win over Davidson. He scored rushing and receiving TD's at Fordham, and also punted six times for a 41.2 yards per punt average. Two of his punts were downed inside the 20. He is currently third in punting in the PFL (38.4).
<P>TO SERVE AND PROTECT
Up front, the UD offensive line returned four of five starters from last season, led by center and 2006 Stan Kurdziel Outstanding Lineman Award winner <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/bikowski_blake00.html" >Blake Bikowski</a>.
<P>BACKFIELD IN MOTION
In the backfield, fullbacks <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/shappie_ben00.html" >Ben Shappie</a> and <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/marshall_matt00.html" >Matt Marshall</a> both have starting experience. They are the Flyers' top two returning rushers and have better than 5.0 yards per carry career averages.
<P>BANANA RAMA BO BANNA
Senior tailback <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/balogun_bo00.html" >Bo Balogun</a> led UD in rushing and scored his first college TD in the Jacksonville win. Balogun, who first joined the team as a walk-on in 2004, was expected to compete for the starting tailback job heading into pre-season camp. But a finger injury that required surgery put him on the shelf on the year's fifth game. Balogun carried the ball five times for 52 yards, and finished the game's scoring with a 21-yard TD romp in the fourth quarter.
<P>LET'S TALK DAYTON D
UD leads FCS football in sacks (4.50), is second in rushing defense (69.25), fourth in tackles in the backfield (9.25), fifth in total defense (275.38) and ninth in scoring defense (15.38). The Flyers lead the PFL in all five categories, plus fumbles gained (13). Dayton is also second in rushing defense (62.25), turnover margin (+1.00), opponent first downs (137) and fourth-down defense (.176).
<P>BRINGING NEW MEANING TO THE TERM "TEAM DEFENSE"
In the Jacksonville win, 29 different players had at least one tackle for the Flyers. Twenty-two did the same at Valparaiso. Valparaiso came into the game on October 20 leading the PFL in rushing, averaging 239.9 yards a game. The Dayton D held VU to less than half (114 yards), including just 30 in the first half.
<P>PAPER OR PLASTIC?
Dayton has 36 sacks already this season, after getting just 13 in all of 2006. Three of the top four sack artists in the PFL are Flyers -- <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/vossler_scott00.html" >Scott Vossler</a> and <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/burger_bobby00.html" >Bobby Burger</a> are tied for second (and 16th nationally at 0.75 per game), and <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/heenan_sean00.html" >Sean Heenan</a> is fourth (0.69). Vossler also leads the league in fumbles forced (0.50). UD's six sacks at Fordham came from six different players. This year, 15 different Flyers have recorded a sack. Davidson came to Dayton leading the nation in fewest sacks allowed (3), and UD sacked Wildcat QB Ryan Alexander three times in that game.
<P>TACKLING THE ISSUES
Five Flyer defenders have at least 40 tackles so far this season. <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/kelly_brian00.html" >Brian Kelly</a> leads with 59, followed by <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/mcdonald_steve00.html" >Steve McDonald</a> (53), <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/vossler_corey00.html" >Corey Vossler</a> (50), <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/vossler_scott00.html" >Scott Vossler</a> (46) and <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/cramer_brandon00.html" >Brandon Cramer</a> (42). McDonald leads in solo hits (27) while <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/vossler_scott00.html" >Scott Vossler</a> leads in sacks (6.0, tied with <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/burger_bobby00.html" >Bobby Burger</a>), QB hurries (4), tackles in the backfield (10.0) and fumbles forced (4). Four players lead with two interceptions each. <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/castaneda_joe00.html" >Joe Castaneda</a> holds the team lead in passes broken up (6). <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hemmelgarn_kalen00.html" >Kalen Hemmelgarn</a> leads in fumbles recovered (3). Twenty-three different players have recorded tackles in the backfield.
<P>THE BROTHERS VOSSLER
Brothers Scott and <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/vossler_corey00.html" >Corey Vossler</a> had a day to remember against Central State. Senior defensive end Scott led the Flyers with 13 tackles (team-high 7 solo), four sacks and a fumble forced. Junior safety Corey only had five hits, but two were in the backfield and he returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown.
<P>SOMETHING ABOUT THE NAME, AND BEING A LEADER
Senior linebacker and captain <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/kelly_brian00.html" >Brian Kelly</a> (no relation) led the PFL in tackles per game and was tied for 19th nationally (10.1) last season. The two-time All-PFL selection was also UD's leader in tackles in the backfield (6.5) and had two sacks. He was the 2006 winner of UD's Chief Toscani Hitter Award. He leads the team in tackles (59) and is sixth in the PFL this year.
<P>TWO STEPS FORWARD, THREE-POINT STANCE
Junior <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/heenan_sean00.html" >Sean Heenan</a> has moved from linebacker to defensive tackle this season, and the change has been a good one. He is third for UD in sacks (5.5) and tackles in the backfield (8.0).
Redshirt freshman <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/burger_bobby00.html" >Bobby Burger</a> had two sacks in his first college game in the RMU win. He is tied for first on the team in sacks (6.0) and is second in tackles in the backfield (9.0).
<P>SUPER SIZE ME
Senior <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/mcdonald_steve00.html" >Steve McDonald</a> plays the hybrid linebacker/safety position known as "Flyer" or "nickel" in the Dayton defensive package, and at 5-10, 184 he is not the most imposing physical specimen. But his game is large. He is currently leads the team in solo hits (27), tied for team honors in interceptions (2), second on the team in tackles (44) and fourth in tackles for loss (7.5). He also has two passes batted down, two fumble recoveries and a fumble forced.
Sophomore <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/horcher_scott00.html" >Scott Horcher's</a> interception that he returned 27 yards for the final score of the Robert Morris win was the biggest play of the game, but hardly his only one. He also co-led Dayton in tackles (9, shared with linebacker <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/fumagalli_drew00.html" >Drew Fumagalli</a>), led in solo hits (6) and led in pass deflections (2). Horcher is sixth on the team in hits (38). He also leads UD in interceptions (2, tied with three other players) and is second in passes broken up (5).
Senior safety and captain <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/cramer_brandon00.html" >Brandon Cramer</a> has never earned anything less than an "A" in the classroom and has played almost every down on defense since arriving on campus. He has been third on the team in tackles the last two seasons (52 last year in nine games) and led UD with three interceptions in 2006. This year, he is tied for team honors in interceptions, tied for third pass break ups (3) and fifth in tackles (42). On October 11, the National Football Foundation announced that Cramer was a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, sometimes known as "the Academic Heisman."
<P>HEMMELGARN'S HOGGIN' THE BALL
Junior defensive tackle <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hemmelgarn_kalen00.html" >Kalen Hemmelgarn</a> leads the PFL in fumble recoveries (3). He had both fumble recoveries the Flyers had at Robert Morris and another at Morehead State. Teammate <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/vossler_corey00.html" >Corey Vossler</a> is tied for second in the league with two.
The Dayton defense already has 36 sacks and 13 fumble recoveries this season. Last year, for the entire year, the Flyers had 13 sacks and six recoveries.
<P>TOPS IN I-AA NON-SCHOLARSHIP
In the 14+ years I-AA Non-Scholarship has been an option, UD has the best winning percentage (.790, 132-35) of the 20 schools playing at this level. Duquesne's .737 (115-41) is second, followed by Drake (.674, 106-51-1), San Diego (90-54, .625) and Robert Morris (.608, 84-54-1).
The Flyers' 52-14 PFL record is the best in the history of the league. UD has won eight league championships in the 14 years the PFL has existed. Including ties, UD has eight titles, the rest of the league has nine.
The UD Flyers moved to Welcome Stadium in 1974. The word "Welcome" implies hospitality, but Dayton has been anything but hospitable to its opponents at home. UD is 185-37-2 (.831) at home. The "Welcome" in Welcome Stadium is not a greeting, but an honor to the late Percival Welcome, longtime Director of Athletics for the Dayton Public Schools. UD has won 42 of its last 51 home games, and 23 of its last 29 road games.
<P>GREAT GRAD RATES
UD's 96 scores in the 2006 GSR (Graduation Success Rate) is the fifth-best in NCAA Division I football. Fellow PFL member Davidson was atop the rankings with 100, followed by Navy and William & Mary (98), and Furman (97). Boston College and UD were next at 96. Other schools with APR's above 90 were Bucknell (95), Stanford (94), Air Force, Duke and Villanova (93). In the new individual GSR, Flyer football scored a 94.
<P>GOTTA PLAY SMART
The University of Dayton placed a league-best 14 players on the 2006 Academic All-Pioneer Football League team. It was the fourth straight year UD had the most players on the PFL Academic team. Since the league's origin in 1993, over a quarter (138 of 509) of the PFL All-Academic selections have been Flyers. UD also had 64 players on the PFL Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or better). That was 24 better than the next-best school.
<P>HITTING THE BOOKS
The Dayton football program has produced 13 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans since the 2000 season. That's most at any level of college football. Safety <A HREF="http://www.fansonly.com/schools/dayt/sports/m-footbl/mtt/cramer_brandon00.html" >Brandon Cramer</a> was named a First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America in 2006, after being named to the second team in 2005. In the history of the Academic All-America program, UD has had 45 football Academic All-Americans. Among schools currently playing Division I football, only Nebraska (81) and Notre Dame (46) have had more. UD has had at least one football player named Academic All-American in 15 of the last 16 years. UD had five players named to the 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team, the most of any school in the district for the fifth straight year. Twelve Flyers were nominated for Academic All-America in each of the last four years.
<P>THE CREAM DOES RISE TO THE TOP
UD's 2007 football roster includes a number of what some might call "over-achievers." Forty-nine current Flyers were in the National Honor Society, and 99 were team captains in some sport. Twenty-six captained two different teams, and 13 were three-sport captains in high school.
When Jon Gruden coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl championship in 2003, he became the second UD grad to coach a Super Bowl winner. Former UD co-captain and 1993 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Chuck Noll won four Super Bowls (IX, X, XII & XIV) as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Noll started at center and linebacker for the Flyers and graduated from the University in 1953. Gruden played quarterback at Dayton and earned his degree in 1986. UD became only the third school to have two alumni coach Super Bowl winners. The others San Jose State, with grads Bill Walsh (XIV, XIX, XXIII) and Dick Vermeil (XXXIV), and Arkansas with grads Jimmy Johnson (XXVII, XXVIII) and Barry Switzer (XXX). Gruden is the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl, and Noll is the fourth youngest. As a matter of fact, UD has ties to 18 Super Bowl rings. In addition to Noll's four and Gruden's one, five former members of Dayton coaching staff own a total of 13 Super Bowl rings between them. They are the late Len Fontes (New York Giants, Super Bowl XXI), Jon's father Jim Gruden (San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowls XXII & XXIV), John McVay (49ers, XVI, XIX, XXII, & XXIV), Tom Moore (Pittsburgh Steelers, XIII & XIV) and George Perles (Steelers, IX, X, XII & XIV). McVay was the Flyers' head coach from 1965-72. The other four were assistants.
<P>IT'S A GREAT FALL TO BE A FLYER
Dayton athletic teams are off to a great start this fall. In addition to the football team being off to a 7-1 and ranked #2 in the Sports Network Mid-Major poll, the 17th-ranked Flyer volleyball team is 21-1, the men's soccer team is 7-4-2 and women's soccer is 11-4-2 and ranked tenth in the region. Football, men's and women's soccer and volleyball are a combined 46-10-4. This is the best start to a school year in school history.
UD completes the home regular season schedule against Butler on Senior Day. The Flyers and Bulldogs will kick off from Welcome Stadium at 1 p.m. EDT.