Oct. 8, 2005
For the second straight year, the football game between the University of Dayton and Drake University came down to one play, and for the second straight year, the road team won. Fortunately for the Dayton Flyers, the game was played in Iowa and UD took the exciting 25-17 come-from-behind win over Drake at Waukee Stadium in Des Moines.
What promised to be a high-scoring game on paper proved to be anything but on the field, as each team could only muster one first down in the first quarter. The Flyers scored first after catching a break in the second period. A short punt struck a Bulldog blocker, and Dayton linebacker Brian Kelly fell on the ball at the Drake 37. Eight plays later, fullback Matt Mong launched himself over the goal line put Dayton on the board. The extra point was missed, giving UD a 6-0 lead.
On UD's next possession, the Flyers needed just three plays to go 73 yards, with wideout Carlton McFadgen catching a 30-yard TD pass (his first career score) from Kevin Hoyng. UD's two-point attempt was no good, giving Dayton a 12-0 lead at halftime.
Drake got on the board with an 11-play, 76-yard drive (fullback Matt Goodwin scoring from the three) to make the score 12-7 with 7:44 left in the third. The `Dogs made it a 12-10 game with 11:53 on a Ryan Horvath 36-yard field goal, and following a Hoyng interception that was returned to the eight, took a 17-12 lead 22 seconds later when quarterback Connor Jostes ran it in from there.
Up to that point, Drake had outgained the Flyers 145 to 11 in the second half, and UD's best sustained drive of the day was a mere eight plays for 37 yards to open the scoring. But Dayton has not earned the #1 ranking in NCAA Division I-AA M id-Major football without some backbone, and the Flyers showed what they were made of on the next possession.
UD drove 80 yards on 12 plays to retake the lead. Hoyng bounced back from his costly interception with five straight completions, including a three-yard pass to tight end Matt Champa out of a short-yardage formation.
After the Dayton defense held on downs, the Dayton ground game came to life. After being held to just 90 rushing yards on 38 carries (2.3 avg.) to that point, the Flyers ran the ball eight straight times and drove 55 yards to go up by eight. Two critical third-down conversions stood out. Hoyng gained 16 yards on a third-and-eight from the UD 47, and then senior tailback Steve Verhoff went 29 yards down the left sideline on third-and-eight from the Drake 35.
That 29-yard run was the longest of Verhoff's career, and provided a small bit of redemption for the Flyers. It was Verhoff's number that was called on the final play of last season's Drake game, and when he and Brandon Staley could not hook up on the handoff, that fumble gave the Bulldogs a 13-6 win in Dayton.
Verhoff carried three more yards, and then Mong punched it in for his second three-yard touchdown. Josh Heyne's PAT made the score 25-17 with
But the Dayton defense had to make one more stand. Jostes moved his team down the field, and when a roughing-the-passer penalty on a fourth down incomplete pass gave Drake new life, the Bulldogs had time for two more plays from the Dayton 20. Jostes fade to Daniel Marx was long on the right sideline, and his pass over thie middle under pressure on the last play of the game was batted down by Casey Klaus to give Dayton the win.
With the victory, UD improved to 6-0 on the season, and 1-0 in the Pioneer Football League's North Division. The Flyers also clinched their 29th consecutive winning season, extending the own school record and the longest streak in NCAA Division I football (Florida State also entered 2005 with 28 straight winning seasons, and the Seminoles are currently 5-0).
Klaus, a junior cornerback, was one of five UD players with at least seven tackles on the day. Dayton's other corner, Chance Walton, led with eight hits (seven solo) and a fumble recovery. Linebackers Brian Kelly and John Hoppe, Klaus and safety Brandon Cramer each had seven. Kelly also recovered two fumbles. Cramer forced two fumbles and broke up two passes, and Hoppe forced another fumble.
Hoyng was 16 of 25 passing for 173 yards and two TD's. He also led UD in rushing, with 47 net yards on 20 carries. Verhoff had 43 yards on seven carries, Steve Watson added 29 yards on 12 attempts from the tailback position, and Mong's two touchdowns came on for carries for 14 yards. Ryan Wrobleski was the team's leading receiver (five catches for 52 yards).
Assuming this week's Mid-Major rankings hold true, the Flyers will return home for a #1 vs. #2 matchup next Saturday. UD will put its 6-0 mark up against San Diego's 5-1 record. It will also be a battle for first place in the Pioneer Football League's North Division (Both teams are 1-0 in league play.) Saturday's game time is 1:00 p.m. EDT.