Senior Nick Collins leads UD with three TD's this season.
PDF Game Notes
The University of Dayton’s defense of its share of the 2009 Pioneer Football League championship begins Saturday when the Morehead State Eagles visit Welcome Stadium. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
The Flyers are 1-1 after splitting a pair of games against Northeast Conference opponents. UD beat Robert Morris at home 28-14 and lost at Duquesne 35-31. Morehead lost its opener 48-7 at James Madison (who then went on to knock off Va Tech in week 2) then won at home 31-21 against St. Francis (Pa.).
Dayton returns 15 starters (10 offense, three defense, two specialists), from the team that went 9-2 and won a share of the 2009 Pioneer Football League title.
Head coach Rick Chamberlin has guided UD to 9-3 and 9-2 records in his first two seasons.
ALL CAPTAINS ALL PFL
The Flyers are led by captains Tyler Friedrich, Joe Ries and Steve Valentino. All three are redshirt seniors, members of two PFL championship teams in their careers and were named First Team All-PFL in 2009.
Friedrich is an offensive guard from Dublin, Ohio. A versatile player who has also played tight end and tackle in his career, Friedrich started all 11 games last season. Ries is a linebacker from Cincinnati. As a junior, he was second on the team in tackles (70), and led in interceptions (3) and fumbles forced (2). Valentino is just the fourth two-time captain in school history. The Solon, Ohio native moved from wideout to quarterback after the season opener, and led the Flyers to their 10th PFL title in 15 years.
Saturday’s quarterbacks earned the first two PFL Offensive Player of the Week Awards. UD’s Steve Valentino won in week one and MSU’s Zach Lewis last week. They are 1-2 in PFL total offense.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
Morehead State is led by sophomore quarterback Zach Lewis who is the reigning PFL Player of the Week after completing 27 of 41 passes for 458 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s St. Francis win. Lewis leads the PFL in passing efficiency (138.2) and passing yardage (271.5). Linebacker Tony Bachman is third in the league in tackles per game (12.0). End Jerome Raymond is second in the PFL in tackles in the backfield (2.25). Raymond was the first PFL Defensive Player of the Week this year after recovering two fumbles, gaining credit for 2.5 tackles in the backfield and eight total tackles (four solo).
Dayton leads the series 10-5, but Morehead has won three of the last four meetings by a combined margin of 15 points. Last year, UD snapped the Eagles’ three-game series streak with a 30-15 win at Morehead. Dayton scored 30 unanswered points after the Eagles scored the first TD. The Dayton defense allowed 83 yards in the first quarter, 38 in the second, 27 in the third and 11 in the fourth for a total of 159 yards total offense. MSU was held to a season-low eight first downs. James Vercammen led UD in tackles with nine hits (seven solo) and two in the backfield. Steve Valentino was 14-for-20 passing the with 242 yards.
THE EYES OF THE NATION
The Flyer football program received more national attention this summer than perhaps ever, when quarterback Steve Valentino and Flyer James Vercammen were named to the Walter Payton Award and Buck Buchanan Award Watch Lists. UD is also receiving votes in the Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS poll.
GOOD NEWS WORTH REPEATING
The Flyers entered the season with the second best winning percentage (.791, 87-23) in FCS football since 2000 AND the most football Academic All-Americans (19) at any level of competition in the decade.
MORE GOOD NEWS
The Flyers are predicted to win their 11th Pioneer Football League championship in the annual PFL coaches’ poll that was announced on August 9. Dayton received 76 points while Butler was picked to finish second, receiving two first-place votes, with 69 points. Jacksonville received the four remaining first-place votes and finished third in the preseason poll with 68 points. Behind those three teams were Drake (54 points), San Diego (52), Marist (45), Davidson (30), Campbell (25), Morehead State (22) and Valparaiso (9). Nine points were awarded for a first-place vote, with one point less for each succeeding place. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. Dayton has won the PFL two of the last three years, tying Butler in 2009.
UD has not been shut out in a school-record 377 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.
ALL-PFL PERFORMERS RETURN
Dayton returns five 2009 First Team All-PFL performers – OG Tyler Friedrich, LB Joe Ries, QB Steve Valentino, F James Vercammen and DE Brandon Wingeier. In addition, UD also returns WR Justin Watkins (second team) and C Justin Griffis (honorable mention).
LONG TIME STARTERS
Joe Ries, Brandon Wingeier and Steve Valentino each enter the Morehead State game with 25 starts under their belts (although 13 of Valentino’s starts were at receiver). Seven other Flyers also have double-digit starts. Justin Watkins has 20, Tyler Friedrich and Eric Studt each have 17, James Vercammen has 16, Justin Griffis 13, Dan Fornek and Dan Prindle each have 12, and Anthony Papp has 10 starts.
VALENTINO NAMED FIRST PFL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior quarterback Steve Valentino was named the 2010 season’s inaugural Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Dayton’s 28-14 season-opening win over Robert Morris. The UD co-captain and Walter Payton Award candidate accounted personally for 317 of UD’s 388 yards in total offense. Valentino ran the ball 16 times for 106 yards and completed 19 of 37 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns in the win. It is the fifth career PFL Player of the Week Award for Valentino. He earned four weekly awards last season en route to being named the PFL Offensive of the Year and leading UD to a share of the PFL title.
Senior quarterback Steve Valentino is the first Dayton player to be named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List. The Payton Award goes to the player of the year in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision and is presented by the Sports Network. A First Team All-PFL wide receiver in 2008, he became Dayton’s starting quarterback in the 2009 season’s second week due to injuries. He promptly led the Flyers to seven consecutive victories and finished the regular season among the league leaders in four categories (with a league-best 281.6 yards total offense) en route to being named the 2009 PFL Offensive Player of the Year. Just the fourth Flyer to be a two-time football captain, he is the first position player in PFL history to be named first-team all-league at two different positions. After two games this year, he leads the league even more in total offense (306.0), and is also first in rushing (76.5), third in passing yardage (229.5) and fourth in passing efficiency (133.4).
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
This is the first time since he has began playing organized football that reigning PFL Offensive Player of the Year Steve Valentino has been a starting quarterback two years in a row. He started at quarterback as a senior at Solon High School, and then redshirted and was a third-string QB in his first two years at UD. He moved to wide receiver in 2008, and then came to the rescue and returned to QB last year.
STILL AT QB, STILL A CAPTAIN, BUT...
There are a lot of attributes attached to Steve Valentino (captain, Payton candidate, PFL Player of the Year, etc.) but he no longer holds the title of “Fastest Player on the Team.” That honor now goes to freshman kick returner/cornerback Gary Hunter, who ran a 4.32 in the preseason. Valentino runs a 4.44.
Senior James Vercammen was named to the Sports Network’s Preseason All-America First Team in July. Playing the hybrid safety/linebacker position know as “Flyer,” he is the only player from the PFL on the first team and one of four from the league on any of the Sports Network preseason teams. Vercammen is also the only player from the PFL who has been named to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List. The Buchanan Award is given to FCS football’s best defensive player. Vercammen is the first UD player to be named to the Buchanan Watch List. As a redshirt junior, Vercammen’s 134 tackles set a new single-season record in the PFL and was third in the FCS. His season earned him a spot on the Sports Network’s Football Championship Subdivision All-American Second Team and All-PFL First Team. He posted eight games of double-digit tackles, including a 19-tackle, 1.5 tackle for loss and one pass breakup game against conference foe San Diego.
QUALITY VS. QUANTITY
Dayton only returns three starters from last year’s defense that led the PFL in scoring defense (13.6) and total defense (242.5), but they were the three most productive Dayton players on that side of the ball. Flyer James Vercammen led the PFL and was third in the nation in tackles (134). Linebacker Joe Ries was second on the team in tackles (70), and led in interceptions (3) and fumbles forced (2). Defensive end Brandon Wingeier led the team in sacks (6.5) and fumbles recovered (2).
SPEAKING OF WINGEIER
Brandon Wingeier is a two-time ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American. A mechanical engineering major, he has started 53 straight games for the Flyers. Last year he led UD in sacks (6.5). He also had 39 tackles, 11.5 hits in the backfield, two fumbles recovered, two QB hurries, a fumble forced, a pass batted down and an interception he returned 57 yards for a touchdown.
YOUNG DAYTON DEFENSE PASSES FIRST TEST
With just three starters back on defense, the plan was to ease the young defense into the flow of the game in the season opener against Robert Morris. The plan went right out the window when the Flyer offense fumbled the ball away on the very first play of the game at its own 30-yard-line. But the defense rose to the occasion, with three first-time starters in the secondary making stops as UD forced RMU into a three-and-out and eventual missed field goal. UD went on to hold the Colonials to 58 yards total offense in the first half.
DEFENSE BY COMMITTEE
Nine Flyers had at least three tackles in the Robert Morris win, and seven of the nine were first-time starters. Safety Eric Robbe led the way with nine hits. Cornerback Matt Pfleger (who played wide receiver in 2009) was right behind with seven stops (five solo). Four players were involved in sacks, and nine had tackles in the backfield (led by All-American James Vercammen’s 2.5). Six players each had a pass knockdown.
Last year, redshirt sophomore Matt Pfleger was playing wideout for UD behind a deep and talented group of receivers. This year, he is a starting cornerback who leads UD in total tackles (17), solo hits (13), pass breakups (4) and interceptions (1, tied with A.J. Kaltenbach).
QUALITY & QUANTITY
UD returns 10 of 11 starters on offense (and that does not include center Blake Saul who started all 12 games in 2008 and was limited with a back injury in 2009). Every player who scored is back, as are 13 of the players who caught a pass, and the team’s top four rushers.
THE GOOD HANDS PEOPLE
Last season’s top receiver, Justin Watkins, returns after finishing second in the PFL in receiving yardage per game (84.3) and first in yards per catch (19.7). Watkins also led UD in receptions (47) and TD catches (7). Five returnees had at least 10 passes in 2009 – Nick Collins (27 for 358 yards), Justin Millio (22 for 203), Anthony Papp (19 for 213) and Luke Bellman (14 for 279). Although he was hurt last year, Millio caught a UD single-season record 67 passes in 2008.
CAREER DAY FOR WATKINS
Redshirt senior wideout Justin Watkins caught a career-high eight passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in the Robert Morris win. He leads the PFL and is ninth nationally in yards per game (100.5). He is also second on the league in catches per game (7.0).
Redshirt sophomore Brian Mack is second on the team in rushing, averaging 59.0 yards game, 17.5behind Steve Valentino’s team-high 76.5. Mack is averaging 4.9 yards per carry in 2010.
DOING GOOD WORK
Senior offensive tackle Dan Prindle is a finalist for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Finalists are 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.
On the field, Prindle started in 10 games in 2009, helping the Flyers to a 9-2 record and a share of the PFL Championship. He was named Second Team Academic All-PFL.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Nick Glavin is currently 20th in career scoring at UD with 159 points. Just ahead are Kelly Spiker (162), John Bianchi (163), Ben Shappie (168) and Greg Schwarber (169). Glavin needs three field goals and one PAT to move into the top five in both categories at UD.
Justin Watkins is currently fifth in Flyer career receiving yardage with 1,769 yards. Just ahead is Tim Eubank at 1,851. Watkins needs seven receptions to crack the top five in career receptions.
Steve Valentino is fifth in career total offense with 3,911 yards. Next on the list is Steve Keller (3,974). Valentino is also 10th in career yards passing (2,871). In his sights are Ken Polke (2,896), Frank Siggins (3,019), Rob Florian (3,026), Jon Vorpe (3,146) and Dan Sharley (3,229). He also needs 22 pass completions to reach the top three in that category. Florian sits third with 254.
PFL MEANS PIONEER FOOTBALL LEADERS
UD leads the PFL in scoring offense (29.50), first downs (23.5), kickoff returns (27.5), sacks allowed (2, tied with Campbell), 4th down conversions (1.000, 2-2) and red zone offense (1.000, 7-7). The Flyers are also second total offense (381.0), rushing offense (151.5), rushing defense (101.0) and time of possession (33:07).
Individually, Steve Valentino leads the league in rushing (76.5) and total offense (306.0). Justin Watkins leads in receiving yardage (110.5) and is second in receptions per game (tied, 7.0). Nick Glavin leads in PAT’s (8-8). Cornerback Matt Pfleger is tied for the league lead in passes defensed (2.5 per game).
Last season, UD led FCS football in pass efficiency defense (96.71) and was second in pass defense yardage (140.1), third in total defense (242.6.10), first in (128.20) and fifth in scoring defense (13.6). UD also led the PFL in first downs allowed (11.8), opponent third down conversions (25.2%), lowest penalty yardage assessed (36.9) and time of possession (33:13 per game).
SHUTTING OUT DISTRACTIONS
Three PFL teams’ last shutout was by the Dayton defense. Naturally one is Davidson, who UD beat last year 17-0 on Oct. 17 (six games ago). The other two are Butler (26 games ago, 61-0 in 2007) and San Diego (113 games ago, 41-0 in 1999).
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
The Flyers are continuing “Tuesday Night Lights,” the free program where pee wee football teams take the field for a practice with the University of Dayton football team, for the third straight year. Every Tuesday from Sept. 7 to Oct. 26, 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 then observe practice until they go home at 8:30 p.m.
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 2010 season. Yale (857), Harvard (805), Penn (804), Princeton (784), Fordham (743), Lafayette (648), Dartmouth (645), Delaware (637), Lehigh (629), Cornell (618), Dayton (612), North Dakota State (604) Northern Iowa (603) and North Dakota (601). Of the 600 Club members, Dayton has played the fewest seasons (102, nine fewer than Fordham’s 110).
MORE THAN HIS FAIR SHARE
UD head coach Rick Chamberlin has been a part of 313 of UD’s 613 wins – 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and 19 as a head coach.
The Flyers’ 68-19 PFL record is the best in the history of the league. UD has won 10 league championships (including ties) in the 17 years the PFL has existed. The rest of the league has 12 combined.
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 194-40-2 (.826). The “Welcome” is not a greeting, but an honor to the late Percival Welcome, longtime AD for the Dayton Public Schools.
SACKS FOR GROCERIES UD’S 2010 CHARITY INITIATIVE
After picking up “Loose Change” for Catholic Social Services in 2008, and scoring “Touchdowns for Tots” in 2009, the University of Dayton has a new charity of choice this season. It is “Sacks For Groceries.” For every sack the Flyers come up with, PNC Bank will make a donation to a Miami Valley Food Bank.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK SCORECARD
1 each: Gary Hunter, Eric Robbe, Tyler Schutz, Eric Studt, Steve Valentino, James Vercammen
SCOUTS OF THE WEEK SCORECARD
1 each: Kevin Cripe, Pat Dowd, Branden Johnson, Victor Kaczkowsi, Sal Savato, Justin Simpson
FLYER PFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player of the Week--Steve Valentino: 9/4
LAST TIME OUT--DUQUESNE 35, DAYTON 31
Dayton scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:24 left in the game, but Duquesne answered with one of its own 63 later to edge the Flyers 35-31 at Rooney Field Saturday in Pittsburgh.
UD quarterback Steve Valentino was 22 of 32 passing for 248 yards and three TD’s. Two of his TD’s went to Nick Collins, who had seven receptions for 94 yards. The other one, the one that gave UD a 31-28 lead with 1:24 to go, was a 26-yarder to Justin Watkins. Watkins finished with six catches for 106 yards. Tyler Hujik also had six receptions for 37 yards.
Brian Mack was UD’s top ground gainer, carrying the ball 12 times for 58 yards. Valentino added 47 yards with a nine-yard touchdown run.
Defensively, A.J. Kaltenbach led with 11 hits. Matt Pfleger added 10 tackles (8 solo), with an interception and three more passes batted down.
On special teams, freshman Gary Hunter returned five kickoffs for a 30.8 yards per return average.
Dayton scored first, but Duquesne answered to tie the score 7-7. The Dukes scored on the last play of the first half to make it 21-all at halftime. The Flyers regained the lead with a 27-yard Nick Glavin field goal, but the Dukes took advantage of UD’s only turnover to drive 53 yards and take its first lead of the game.
After being held to back-to-back punts for the only time all game, the Flyers put together their longest drive of the day, going 80 yards in 11 plays to take a three-point advantage. Valentino was four-for-five for 77 yards on the drive, including converting and fourth-and-13 situation with a 16-yarder to Hujik.
But Valentino’s 26-yard strike to Watkins came 22 seconds too soon as Duquesne quarterback Sean Patterson led his team 66 yards in eight plays for the game-winning score.
Duquesne had the advantage in total offense 461-374, but all other stats were virtually equal, including yards-per-play (Dayton led 6.0 to 5.9), first downs (Duquesne 25-21), turnovers (1 each) and penalties (both teams had four for 35 yards).
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 are 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 second-youngest coach to win a Super Bowl (supplanted by Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin in 2009), 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, five 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.
Dayton will play its first home night game in six years when the Flyers host Central State next Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m. ET.