Taylor Harris is averaging 120 yards a game on the road this season.
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The University of Dayton football team will play the 1,000th game in school history on Saturday when the Flyers visit Valparaiso. Game time is 2 p.m. ET.
Dayton enters the game with an all-time record of 627-345-27, the 10th-most wins in FCS football history. UD will be the 34th FCS team to reach 1,000 games. The Flyers enter the game 5-3, and 3-2 in the PFL, while Valparaiso is 0-7 and 0-4.
The Flyers return 11 starters (four offense, six defense, and one specialist) from a team that won a share of the 2010 Pioneer Football League title with a record of 10-1 and was ranked 25th nationally.
Among the Flyers’ 11 returning starters is senior defensive end Devon Langhorst. Langhorst is a National Football Foundation Campbell Trophy semifinalist.
Langhorst was a member of the 2010 Third Team AP FCS All-America team and was First Team All-Pioneer Football League. He ranked second nationally in sacks with 14 and was second on the team in tackles with 77.
This season Langhorst leads the team in hits (61), sacks (10.5), QB hurries (8) and TFL (14).He is currently third in FCS in sacks. UD is first as a team (4.25).
Taylor Harris ran for 216 yards at Morehead State, the most yardage by a Dayton runner in 11 years, and the most in the PFL in three seasons. He has four 100+ yard games this year.
GOOD NEWS WORTH REPEATING
The Flyers entered the 2011 season with the second- best winning percentage (.792, 97-24) in FCS football since 2000 AND the most football Academic All-Americans (21) at any level of competition in this century.
Dayton leads the series 18-2 and has won the last seven encounters. Last year, the Flyers won 48-14 at home on Oct. 2. UD has won eight of the nine games at Brown Field.
SCOUTING THE CRUSADERS
Valparaiso is seeking its first win of the year. In fact, VU is looking to snap a 21-game losing streak.
Coach Dale Carlson is relying on young players in key positions. The team’s leading tackler is sophomore linebacker Pat Derbak, who is third in the PFL in hits (8.0).
At quarterback, redshirt freshman Eric Hoffman has completed 57.1% of his passes (133-233) for 1,413 yards, with six touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Freshman kicker Adam Weinell is the last perfect PAT kicker in the PFL this season (10-10).
UD has not been shut out in a school-record 394 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 Oct. 16, 1976. That is also the all-time FCS record.
THE MAN AT THE TOP
Head coach Rick Chamberlin guided UD to 28 wins in his first three seasons, going 9-3 in 2008, 9-2 in 2009 and 10-1 last year. That’s the best three-year start by any Flyer football coach. Dayton has won a share of PFL championships in two of his three years, and missed the third by just five points at JU in the last game of 2008.
MORE THAN HIS FAIR SHARE
Rick Chamberlin has been a part of 327 of UD’s 627 wins – 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and 33 as a head coach. He has also been a part of 414 of UD’s 1,000 games.
Rick Chamberlin’s career .786 (33-9) winning percentage is the best among PFL coaches. Drake’s Chris Creighton is next (.763, 122-38). In PFL games only, Chamberlin is #1 (.828, 24-5) and Jacksonville coach Kerwin Bell is second (.763, 29-9).
LEADING FROM THE FRONT
You will find the Flyer 2011 captains in the trenches. DE Devon Langhorst and OT Dan Prindle are UD’s co-captains this season. Both are redshirt seniors and part of three PFL title teams in their careers.
LONG TIME STARTERS
Nine Flyers own double-digit start totals. Justin Griffis leads with 30 (although 22 were at center and he is now a guard). Right behind is Dan Prindle with 29. Devon Langhorst and Matt Pfleger each have 19. Tyler Hujik, Brian Mack and Eric Robbe all have 18. Zach Weber has 17 and Kyle Sebetic has 16.
FIRST TIME STARTERS
UD has had two players lead the team in tackles in their first career start, both on the road. RS soph LB Colin Monnier did at CSU where he had eight. True freshman CB Matt Bianco had eight (all solo) at Jacksonville. Twelve Flyers started for the first time at RMU. They were QB Will Bardo, RB Taylor Harris, WR Jordan Boykin, FL Branden Johnson, OT Tom Corcoran, C Bill Petraiuolo, DT Phil DeBoer, DE Anthony Sadler, LB Sean Belanger, and Flyer Andre Crawford. OT’s Jamie Mewhinney (Duquesne) and Chris Cortopassi (CSU), DT Brannon Dunn (CSU), CB Howard Savage (Marist) and safety Nick Weston (Davidson) have also started for the first time this year.
FIRST TIME QB
Redshirt freshman Will Bardo took over at quarterback for Dayton at Robert Morris, following two-time PFL Offensive Player of the Year Steve Valentino. That was the first game that Bardo played in (that counts, at least) since his Ft. Thomas Highlands High School won the 2009 Kentucky 5A Championship. In his debut, Bardo was 14 of 24 for 180 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. A dual threat, he is the only PFL quarterback with at least 200 rushing yards this season (391) and is eighth in rushing in the league.
NOT HIS FIRST RODEO
Having an inexperienced quarterback step into the starting lineup is nothing new for Dayton offensive coordinator Dave Whilding. Of the 17 new starting quarterbacks in Whilding’s 31 years of coaching the position, 11 took over with less than 20 career passes to their credit (including Steve Valentino and two QB’s now in the UD Hall of Fame – Kevin Johns and Steve Keller). Three (Kevin Wilhelm, Kelly Spiker and Brandon Staley) had the same number as new QB Will Bardo -- zero.
OUT OF THE BULLPEN
Backup quarterback Zach Splain has played in all eight games. Against Marist, Splain entered the game late in the first half and guided UD to four scoring drives in the next five possessions. He was 11 of 18 for 161 yards and two TD’s.
Dayton leads FCS football in sacks, averaging 4.3 sacks a game. UD had nine sacks (and seven QB hurries) in the Davidson win, and eight sacks at Robert Morris. Eleven different Flyers have gotten into the sack act in 2011, led by Devon Langhorst’s 10.5. Langhorst is third in sacks in FCS. UD also has 21 QB hurries, led by eight from Langhorst.
Defensive end Devon Langhorst was a member of the 2010 Associated Press Championship Subdivision All-American Third Team and was First Team All-PFL. He was second nationally in sacks with 14 and was second on the team in tackles with 77. Langhorst was nationally recognized as a Preseason Third Team All-American by College Sporting News. He has 38 tackles, 7.5 sacks and seven QB hurries in the last four games. For the season, he leads UD in total tackles (61), sacks (10.5), TFL (12.0) and QB hurries (8). He is currently third in sacks at the FCS level. Langhorst also has a fumble recovery and a forced fumble this season.
LANGHORST IS CAMPBELL TROPHY SEMINIFINALIST
Devon Langhorst was named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Trophy, which is the major award of the NFF’s Scholar-Athlete Award program. Langhorst is one of just 127 college football players selected. UD has had at least a semifinalist for six straight years. Among Division I schools, the Flyers are one of 12 institutions with a semifinalist in the last six years. The others are Austin Peay, Bucknell, Columbia, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Rutgers, South Dakota State, Texas, Wisconsin and Youngstown State.
Devon Langhorst played quarterback on offense at Sidney High School, but now he collects them, with 24.5 in the last two seasons.
Safety Steve Wirkus is tied for third nationally in FCS football in interceptions (0.67 per game). He was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week after getting two interceptions, two pass break ups and six tackles (4 solo) in the Marist win. Against Robert Morris in Week One, he was CollegeSportsMadness.com’s PFL Player of the Week after leading UD with nine tackles (7 solo), getting the interception that set up Dayton’s go-ahead touchdown and diving to bat away a pass at the goal line. He is tied for second at UD in tackles (48) and leads in solo hits (33) in 2010. He added another INT and shared team honors with eight hits vs. Duquesne. After suffering an ankle injury in the Butler game, he missed two games. He returned for Morehead State, coming up with 10 tackles (8 solo) in the win.
Linebacker Bryan Bailin is tied for second on the team in tackles (47).
DEAL WITH DUNN
Redshirt sophomore DT Brannon Dunn is second on the team and fifth in the PFL in sacks (8) despite only starting four games this season. He had a defensive lineman’s “helmet trick” at Jacksonville, getting a sack, forcing a fumble and recovering the fumble on the same play. Dunn also leads the team and is tied for second in the PFL in forced fumbles (3).
Sophomore cornerback Howard Savage led UD with two “Hammer Hit of the Week” awards to his credit last season. Fittingly, he got the first one of 2011 at Robert Morris. He led UD in tackles (8, tied with four other Flyers) and passes broken up (3) against Duquesne and started for the first time against Marist. He is second for UD in pass breakups (5). Savage missed the Jacksonville game with an injury.
GOOD HANDS PEOPLE
Four Flyer receivers have combined for 76 of UD’s 92 receptions this season. Luke Bellman leads in catches (27), yards (386), yards per catch (14.3) and TD’s (3). He had six for 121 in the Marist win. Branden Johnson has 19 for 264 (13.9 avg.) , Tyler Hujik has 16 receptions for 79 yards, and Jordan Boykin has 14 for 142 yards (10.1 avg.). Johnson had five for 100 at Jacksonville. Oddly, five of UD’s 10 scoring passes are among the remaining 16 catches (TD’s by Brian Mack, Jordan Elmore, Tyler Schutz, Nik Gillum and Taylor Harris).
When Taylor Harris ran for 216 yards at Morehead State, it was the most yards by a Dayton runner since Jermaine Bailey ran for 251 against Drake in 2000. It was also the first time any PFL runner gained 200 since Jacksonville’s Rudell Small had 216 in 2008. Harris also went over 1,000 yards for his career during the Morehead game. Harris was named a BSN Offensive Player of the Week for his game at MSU.
TEAR UP THE TURF, TAYLOR
Taylor Harris’ 83-yard touchdown run against Duquesne was the third-longest in Dayton history, and the longest at Welcome Stadium. Leroy Ka-Ne (the Hawai’ian Hyphen) holds the record of 94 yards vs. Scranton in 1949 at Baujan Field, and J.P. Ragon scampered 85 yards at Morehead State in 1997.
BEEN A WHILE
With three games left on the schedule, Taylor Harris’ 781 yards this season is already the most since Cliff Sachini had 1,042 in 2003. Harris has four games of at least 100 yards rushing this season (110 yards against Duquesne, 101 at Central State, 148 at Jacksonville, 216 at Morehead State). Sachini is the last Flyer runner to have at least four 100-yard games in a season. Sachini had five in 2003. Harris leads UD in rushing and yards per carry (7.1). He has scored five more TD’s than other UD player (8). He was second in the PFL in scoring last year with 13 touchdowns. This year he is first in the PFL in per carry average, second in rushing (97.6) and tied for fourth in touchdowns (8).
UD returns its entire stable of top running backs from 2010 -- seniors Taylor Harris, Dan Jacob and Brian Mack. They combined for 946 yards and 22 TD’s between them last year with a 4.7 yards per carry average. Harris is currently listed at starter but all three have started in the past.
SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
Sophomore Gary Hunter led the PFL and was ranked eighth in FCS football in kickoff return average as a freshman in 2010. Hunter averaged 28.2 yards a return. He had what is believed to be the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a freshman in the history of University of Dayton football when he had an 82-yard scamper against Valparaiso. Early records are incomplete, but no Flyer freshman has returned a kickoff for a TD in the modern era of UD football. After playing corner last year, Hunter has moved to the offensive side of the ball and is a wide receiver. He is eighth in the PFL in kick return average (20.4) even though he has just two 30+ yard returns in 2011.
Dayton’s game with Davidson had a rare event occur, or rather not occur. Davidson never kicked off in the game. UD won the toss and chose the wind, DC took the ball in the second half and was shutout.
HEAD’S UP HUJIK
Senior wide receiver Tyler Hujik was named FCS Co-Punt Returner of the Week by collegefootballperformance.com for his touchdown at Morehead. Hujik scored UD’s only TD in the first half when he scooped up a punt that had been touched but not controlled. Hujik darted between two players to scoop it up and run 32 yards for a touchdown.
Senior Nate Miller was named the Pioneer Football League’s Special Teams Player of the Week after the MSU win. Miller accounted for 12 of the 30 Flyer points in the win, making field goals of 23, 26 and 32 yards, and converting all three PAT’s he attempted. He also averaged 38.8 yards a punt on five punts, placing three inside the 20-yard line and on fair catch. Miller’s 11 field goals this season are tied for the best mark in the PFL this season, and his 18 punts inside the 20-yard line are six more than anyone else in the league. He leads UD in scoring (52 pts.) and averages 37.5 yards per punt.
DOING GOOD WORK
Redshirt senior offensive tackle Dan Prindle was a member of the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Honorees were selected based on their contributions to their community and campus. Prindle has volunteered at Children’s Medical Center, St. Vincent DePaul and the Bombeck Center on campus. In addition, he was a part of Christmas on Campus, YMCA Summer Camp and has also helped with the Special Olympics. This summer he was a camp counselor at UD’s engineering camp for gifted students. He is also an executive officer of Dayton’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and has served as a representative at the NCAA’s APPLE Conference which concentrates on improving substance abuse prevention programming and policies in athletics departments. Prindle was UD’s Offensive Player of the Week in the Marist win.
Seven current members of the Flyer football team have had relatives who also played for UD, including four players whose fathers played -- Austen Alber (Tim, 1986-88), Alex Johnston (Jim, 1973-75), Matt Dorenkott (Brian, 1976-78) and Kyle Pignatiello (Mike, 1980-82).
The Flyers became the 11th NCAA FCS team (and the first west of the Alleghenies) to win at least 600 games in its football history when UD beat Davidson on October 18, 2008. Here are the 14 members of the club, heading into the 2011 season. Yale (864), Penn (813), Harvard (812), Princeton (785), Fordham (748), Dartmouth (651), Lafayette (650), Delaware (649), Lehigh (639), Dayton (622) Cornell (620), North Dakota State (613) Northern Iowa (610), North Dakota (604) and Colgate (603). Of the 600 Club members, Dayton has played the fewest seasons (103, nine fewer than Northern Iowa’s 112). UD moved into the Top 10 in 2010.
The Flyers’ 78-21 PFL record is the best in the history of the league. UD has won 11 league championships (including ties) in the 18 years the PFL has existed. The rest of the league has 13 combined.
COMPLETIONS FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS CHARITY INITIATIVE
After picking up “Loose Change” for Catholic Social Services in 2008, scoring “Touchdowns for Tots” in 2009, and taking down “Sacks For Groceries” in 2010, the University of Dayton has a new charity of choice this season. It is “Completions For Cystic Fibrosis.” For every pass completion during the 2011 season, PNC Bank will make a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
For the fifth straight year, the Flyers sponsored “Tuesday Night Lights,” the free program where pee wee football teams take the field for a practice with the University of Dayton football team. Every Tuesday from Sept. 6 to Oct. 25, teams that sign up in advance get a pre-practice talk from Flyer head coach Rick Chamberlin, take the field to warm up with the UD football team, and observe practice until they go home at 8:30 p.m.
The UD Flyers moved to Welcome Stadium in 1974. The word “Welcome” implies hospitality, but UD has been anything but hospitable to its opponents at home, where it is 201-42-2 (.824). The “Welcome” is not a greeting, but an honor to the late Percival Welcome, longtime AD for the Dayton Public Schools.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK SCORECARD
Three times: Taylor Harris; Twice: Devon Langhorst, Bill Petraiuolo, Tyler Shutz, Steve Wirkus; Once: Will Bardo, Bryan Bailin, Pat Dowd, Brannon Dunn, Owen Elger, Gary Hunter, Joe Janasek, Nate Miller, Colin Monnier, Dan Prindle, Eric Robbe, Chase Walton, Ben Welsh
SCOUTS OF THE WEEK SCORECARD
Four times: Anthony Davis, Twice: Kevin Cripe, Ross Smith, Tommy Zervas; Once: Austen Alber, Ryan Aske, Jack Beebe, Joe Blume, Miles Clark, Dylan Dearwester, Grant Georgic, Connor Kacsor, Soern Osborne, Tim Pallay, Jake Rumpke, Mitch Sanders, Mitch Yinger
SEEING THE FUTURE
Freshman running back Anthony Davis has already earned four Scout Team Player of the Week awards, and the week of the Jacksonville game he did something unprecedented -- he was both the Offensive and Special Teams Scout of the Week. Davis was the Indiana high school rushing yardage leader last year for Indianapolis Warren Central High School.
LAST TIME OUT--DAYTON 30, MOREHEAD STATE 28
UD got big performances from its big performers, and withstood a 21-point fourth quarter by Morehead State to defeat MSU 30-28 Saturday in Morehead, Ky. Senior running back Taylor Harris ran the ball 28 times for 216 yards for the Flyers. It was the first time a Dayton runner ran for 200 yards or more since Jermaine Bailey did it against Drake in the 2000 season. Senior end Devon Langhorst was UD’s top tackler with 13 hits. Langhorst came into the game leading Dayton in tackles and sacks, and he added two more sacks to give him 10.5 on the year.
The Flyers led at halftime 13-7, and scored the only points in the third quarter when the Flyers ran the ball 11 straight times before Will Bardo hit Jordan Boykin for a six-yard pass to put UD up 20-7.
Against a lot of teams this would have been a comfortable lead, but against the Pioneer Football League’s highest-scoring offense, it wasn’t going to be enough. The Eagles found another gear, gaining 243 of their 349 yards of the day in the final 18:26 of the game. MSU scored TD’s on three drives of 70+ yards, but the Flyers answered after each score.
MSU’s last TD with 1:07 on the clock, making it a two-point game, 30-28.
Harris recovered the onside kick, and ran the first nine yards of Dayton’s final possession. When Bardo gained the first down on a quarterback sneak, the Flyers only had to take a knee once to secure the road win.
Will Bardo backed Harris on the ground with 63 yards on 12 attempts. Bardo had a tough day through the air (7 of 26 for 69 yards) but completed four of his last nine passes for 50 yards, two TD’s and two other first downs to keep drives alive.
Along with Langhorst’s 13 tackles, safety Steve Wirkus added 10 (one in the backfield) in his first game back after missing the last two with an ankle injury.
Any list of the best coaches in college football history has to include the University of Dayton’s Mike Kelly. And now it does.
Kelly was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame July 16 at the 2011 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in South Bend, Ind.
Kelly’s 27-year record of 246-54-1 is the best by far at UD (nearly twice as many wins as fellow NFF Hall of Fame member Harry Baujan’s 124), and his .819 winning percentage is fourth-best among college coaches with 25 or more years experience.
Kelly was a seven-time national coach of the year, six-time PFL coach of the year, and guided his teams to three national championships (1989, 2002, 2007). Forty-eight of UD’s 50 Academic All-Americans played for Kelly, as did a total of 84 First Team All-Americans. Seventy of his former players went into coaching, including 16 in college.
The Mike Kelly Coaching Endowment Fund was established this summer with a $1 million commitment from the family of a UD football alumnus.
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 (now there are four) to have two alumni coach Super Bowl winners. The others are San Jose State, with grads Bill Walsh (XIV, XIX, XXIII) and Dick Vermeil (XXXIV), Arkansas with grads Jimmy Johnson (XXVII, XXVIII) and Barry Switzer (XXX), and Eastern Illinois with Mike Shanahan (XXXII, XXXIII) and Sean Payton (XLIV).
At the time of their wins, Gruden was the second-youngest coach to win a Super Bowl and Noll is the fifth-youngest. As a matter of fact, UD has ties to 19 Super Bowl rings. In addition to Noll’s four and Gruden’s one, six former members of Dayton coaching staffs own a total of 14 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), current Saints QB coach Joe Lombardi (XLIV), John McVay (49ers, XVI, XIX, XXII, & XXIV), current Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore (Steelers, XIII & XIV, Colts XLI) and George Perles (Steelers, IX, X, XII & XIV). McVay was the Flyers’ head coach from 1965-72, and Fontes, Jim Gruden, Moore and Perles were on his staff. Lombardi, an Air Force Academy grad and the grandson of Vince Lombardi, began his coaching career at Dayton. He coached for three seasons on Mike Kelly’s staff while stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
UD returns home for Senior Day against San Diego on Nov. 5. Valparaiso is at Marist.