Oct. 30, 2004
DAYTON, Ohio - No. 1 ranked Dayton came up just two yards short on Senior Day as the Flyers lost to visiting Drake, 13-6 in front of 5,138 fans on Saturday at a windy Welcome Stadium. After Drake dominated the first half, Dayton made an inspired effort at a comeback setting up the game-ending drive that ended two yards short of tying the game.
With the victory, Drake (7-2, 4-0 PFL North) clinched the Pioneer Football League North Division Championship and a berth in the PFL Championship Game on Nov. 20 at Morehead State. The loss drops Dayton to 7-2 overall and 2-1 in the Pioneer Football League North Division.
Drake outgained UD in the first quarter 136 to 38, and 209 to 104 in the first half, but led only 10-3 after a Jason Resch (Poland, Ohio) 28-yard field goal put the Flyers on the board on the last play of the first half. In the second half, the Dayton defense held Drake to just 89 yards, while the UD offense had 164. But the two teams could only exchange field goals, setting up the final drive of the game.
After Dayton gained possession of the ball on its own 27 with just 1:20 remaining in the game, the Flyers marched down the field in an attempt to send the game into overtime. After nine plays covering 72 yards, UD had the ball and the game in its control just two yards short of the goal line as the game reached its final seconds. However, a fumble on the handoff between quarterback Brandon Staley (Perry, Ohio) and tailback Steve Verhoff (Wellington, Ohio) at the line of scrimmage ended the game and gave Drake a 13-6 victory.
Drake won the game in the trenches as the Bulldogs out gained the Flyers 197 to 134. The visitors were also efficient on third and fourth down as Drake was 6-of-16 on third-down conversions and 2-of-3 on fourth down conversions.
The Flyers were led offensively by Staley as the junior quarterback completed 8-of-17 passes for 124 yards to go along with a team-high 36 yards rushing.
His counterpart, sophomore Kevin Hoyng (Coldwater, Ohio) matched Staley with 36 yards rushing, but was just 1-of-7 passing for 10 yards.
Classmate Jack O'Dell (Coldwater, Ohio) contributed on both offense and special teams with two receptions for 40 yards and 10 punts for 326 yards, including a 54 yard kick.
Defensively, senior safety Doug Jones (Zanesville, Ohio) had a big day for the Flyer defense with 10 tackles and an interception. Jones was followed by junior linebackers Pat Weale with nine tackles and John Hoppe (Northbrook, Ill.) with eight stops.
Saturday was the final home game for 21 Flyers--Wayne Artuso, John Bosse, Chris Cowan, Chris Dearth, Brian Gooding, Bill Groetsema, Grahm Halcomb, Eric Heideloff, Doug Jones, Kyle Magoteaux, Jared McQuiston, Ryan Morris, Mike Neuberger, Steve Norton, Andrew Ottmar, Jason Resch, Jeff Schmidt, Robby Schwab, Brandon Staley, Trent Warren and Willy Will.
Center Robby Schwab (Middletown, Ohio) was honored at halftime as the 2004 winner of the Lt. Andy Zulli Award, a character-driven award that is among the most prestigious in the program.
After UD punted the ball to the Drake seven yard line, the Bulldogs moved down the field with a pair of big plays in the first quarter. Freshman Scott Phaydavong struck first on the ground as he broke through the left side for 40 yards to give Drake first and 10 at the Dayton 38 yard line. Then after three stops by the Flyer defense, Michael Bialas got through the middle for a gain of 16 and another Bulldog first down. However, the UD defense would bend but not break as Brandon Cramer stepped up to snatch his second interception of the season in the end zone to keep Drake off the scoreboard.
The visitors would respond their next time on offense as Drake put together a 10-play, 58-yard drive that encompassed 4:37 resulting in a one-yard TD run by Bialas to put Drake ahead 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After the Bulldogs took a 10-0 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Tyler McGlade, Dayton took over with 1:22 left to in the half and the Flyers engineered an eight-play, 41-yard drive to set up a 28-yard field goal from the foot of Resch and pull UD to within seven at halftime at 10-3.
Drake dominated the first half as they rattled off 209 yards of total offense to Dayton's 104, including a 152 to 47 advantage in rushing yards. Although both sides were nearly equal in time of possession, the Bulldogs made the most of their opportunities going 5 of 9 on third down conversions while Dayton was just 1-of-7.
The Bulldogs would take a 13-3 lead with 7:20 remaining in the third quarter on a 25-yard field goal by McGlade after a 10-play, 58-yard drive that took up 4:59.
Just as it appeared that Drake would be able to run out the clock in the third quarter, UD's Jones intercepted a Bulldog pass that gave UD momentum and the ball at the Drake 13-yard line.
UD would close to within 13-6 on a 29-yard field goal by Resch and the Flyers carried the momentum back over the defensive side of the ball as the Flyers forced a three and out to give the Dayton offense first and 10 at midfield with 11:49 left in the game.
Both teams would trade punts twice to set up the game's final drive in which Dayton came up just two yards short of the goal line.
The Flyers will wrap up the 2004 season next Saturday on the road at San Diego. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. Eastern Time.