Kyle Sebetic earned his first Flyer Defensive Player of the Week award in last Saturday's Davidson win.
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The University of Dayton football team will salute its 31-member senior class and their families Saturday, Nov. 6 when the Flyers host Drake. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
UD is 8-1 overall, 6-0 in the Pioneer Football League and has won seven straight games after last week’s 37-13 win at Davidson. Dayton’s 6-0 conference mark places the Flyers in first place with Jacksonville.
Right behind UD and JU in the PFL are the Drake Bulldogs. Drake is 6-3 overall and 5-1 in league play. The Bulldogs have won their last three games and have clinched third place in the PFL. Naturally, the’Dogs have their sights set higher, but in order to win at least a share of the PFL title Saturday’s game at Welcome Stadium is a must-win situation for them.
The 31 Flyer seniors -- WR Nick Collins, OG Dan Fornek, OF Tyler Friedrich, P Kenton Froebe, LB Ross Fumagalli, K, Nick Glavin, C, Justin Griffis, LB Joey Homan, TE Alex Johnston, S A.J. Kaltenbach, DE Devon Langhorst, TE Zach McPherson, P Nate Miler, DT Mike Morante, WR Anthony Papp. QB Jeff Pechan, OT Dan Prindle, DE Matt Riddle, LB Joe Ries, S Eric Robbe, C Blake Saul, DT Brad Schmitt, OT Eric Studt, QB Steve Valentino, DT Charlie Vasey, F James Vercammen, OT Jon Warford, WR Justin Watkins, DE Brandon Wingeier, S Steve Wirkus and RB Andrew Zapinski -- enter the Drake game with a four-year record of 37-7. In their first three years they were part of two PFL championships and UD’s 2007 NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major national title.
Dayton has clinched its 34th winning season in the last 35 years.
UD returned 15 starters (10 offense, three defense, two specialists), from the team that was 9-2 and won a share of the 2009 PFL title.
Head coach Rick Chamberlin has guided UD to 9-3 and 9-2 marks in his first two seasons.
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 were predicted to win their 11th Pioneer Football League championship in the annual PFL coaches’ poll that was announced on August 9. UD received 76 points while Butler was picked to finish second, receiving two first-place votes, with 69 points. Jacksonville got the four remaining first-place votes. Drake was predicted to finish fourth with 54 points, followed by San Diego (52), Marist (45), Davidson (30), Campbell (25), Morehead State (22) and Valparaiso (9).
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Drake is tough in the trenches, leading the PFL and ranked seventh in FCS in rushing defense (87.8 yards a game). Linebacker Ben Morrison leads DU in tackles (58) and was the PFL co-Defensive Player of the Week after returning an interception 95 yards for a TD in last week’s 38-17 win over San Diego.
Quarterback Mike Piatkowski leads the offense, completing 149-of 250 passes (.596) for 1,690 yards and 14 TD’s. His favorite targets are Steve Platek and Drew Blackmon, who both have 38 catches apiece.
Dayton leads 22-4, and has won the last three contests. Last year UD won in Des Moines 23-6 on Nov. 11. The last Drake win in the series was on Oct. 28, 2006 at Welcome Stadium by the score of 21-9.
THE EYES OF THE NATION
The Flyer football program received more national attention this summer than perhaps ever, when Steve Valentino and James Vercammen were named to the Payton Award and Buchanan Award Watch Lists. UD is also receiving votes in the Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS and the FCS Coaches Polls
UD has not been shut out in a school-record 384 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 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.
ALL-PFL PERFORMERS RETURN
Dayton returned 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 returned WR Justin Watkins (second team) and C Justin Griffis (honorable mention).
LONG TIME STARTERS
Joe Ries, Brandon Wingeier and Steve Valentino each enter the Davidson game with 32 starts under their belts (although 13 of Valentino’s starts were at receiver). Seven other Flyers also have double-digit starts. Justin Watkins has 27, Tyler Friedrich and Eric Studt each have 24, James Vercammen has 22, Justin Griffis 20, Dan Fornek and Dan Prindle each have 19, Brian Mack has 16, Anthony Papp has 15, Mike Morante has 14, and Nick Collins has 12 starts.
VALENTINO NAMED FIRST PFL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior QB Steve Valentino was named the 2010 season’s inaugural PFL Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Dayton’s 28-14 season-opening win over Robert Morris. The Walter Payton Award candidate accounted personally for 317 of UD’s 388 yards in total offense. He ran the ball 16 times for 106 yards and completed 19 of 37 passes for 211 yards and two TD’s in the win. It was his fifth career PFL Player of the Week Award.
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) and was 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.
GAME UP IN STANDINGS, GAME BEHIND IN THE STATS
Despite playing less than a half in the Central State blowout, and just about a half against Valparaiso, Steve Valentino is still third in total offense (261.2), fourth in rushing (62.1) and fifth in passing offense (199.1) in the PFL.
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 QB 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 WR 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 San Diego. This season, Vercammen leads the team in tackles (79), solo stops (45) and tackles behind the line (12.0). He also has five sacks, three fumbles forced, two pass breakups, a quarterback hurry, and interceptions and a fumble recovery.
VERCAMMEN NAMED PFL PLAYER OF THE WEEK TWICE
James Vercammen was named the PFL Defensive Player of the Week after UD’s 48-14 win over Valparaiso, and co-Player of the Week after the 41-23 win vs. Campbell. Against Valpo, he led UD with 12 tackles (five solo) Saturday, including a sack, a fumble recovery and 2.5 tackles behind the line. Dayton held Valparaiso to 33 net rushing yards in the game. He had 17 stops (8 solo) and two critical fourth-quarter fumbles forced in the Campbell win.
James Vercammen turned a “SportsCenter-quality” play in the Butler win. On a blitz, Vercammen was picked up by a Bulldog running back. The Flyer senior didn’t go around the blocker, nor did he go through the blocker. He went over him, jumping over the would-be pass protector and stopping the pass with his facemask. The play can be seen on the Dayton Flyers YouTube Channel.
QUALITY VS. QUANTITY
Dayton only returned 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 32 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.
WINGEIER NAMED NFF NATIONAL SEMIFINALIST
Brandon Wingeier was a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s William V. Campbell Trophy.
The Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, has been referred to as “the academic Heisman.” One of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, the Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.
He was one of 121 semifinalists from all levels of college football. UD has had semifinalists in three of the last four years. Bart Bergfeld made the cut in 2008, and Brandon Cramer was a finalist in 2007.
SPEAKING FURTHER OF WINGEIER
Brandon Wingeier was named the PFL Defensive Player of the Week after the Morehead State game. Wingeier spearheaded UD’s defensive effort in the trenches, as the Flyers held Morehead to just two yards net rushing. Wingeier’s 2.5 tackles behind the line led UD, as did his 1.5 sacks. Dayton entered game with 4 sacks, but had 5 in the MSU win alone. He also had five stops in the game (three solo) and forced the fumble on the MSU 11-yard line that set up UD’s second TD of the game.
RIES NAMED PFL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Redshirt senior linebacker Joe Ries was named the PFL Defensive Player of the Week after leading all players in tackles in UD’s 21-20 win at San Diego. Ries led with 10 stops. More importantly, he came up with the two critical fourth-down plays on San Diego’s last two possessions in the fourth quarter to preserve UD’s one-point advantage, and eventually, the win. With 7:24 left, teammate Devon Langhorst made the initial hit on San Diego running back Phil Morelli but Ries finished the play, keeping the USD workhorse from getting a second-effort first down on fourth-and-less-than-one at the Dayton 30. Then, with 48 seconds left on a fourth-and-three at midfield, Ries came on a blitz and got a hand on Mason Mills’ pass, knocking it to the ground and keeping the Flyers undefeated in the PFL.
In five games in the month of October, All-American James Vercammen had 55 tackles, 7.5 stop in the backfield, five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
James Vercammen leads the Dayton defense in five statistical categories, including total tackles (79), solo hits (45) and stops in the backfield (12). Devon Langhorst is second in tackles (62) and solo stops (27), and leads in sacks (8.5) and QB hurries (4). Matt Pfleger is UD’s leader in pass breakups (7) and interceptions (2).
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 in interceptions (2) and pass breakups (7).
QUALITY & QUANTITY
UD returned 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 was back, as were 13 of the players who caught a pass, and the team’s top four rushers.
THE GOOD HANDS PEOPLE
Ten different Flyers have caught at least one pass this season. Justin Watkins leads the team in receptions (41) and yards per catch (15.7). Tyler Hujik is second in receptions (26). Nick Collins is third (19). Luke Bellman is fourth (18). Anthony Papp is fifth (15). Eight different players have touchdown receptions. Collins and Papp have three apiece. Watkins and Bellman have two TD receptions. Jordan Boykin has one, as does Steve Valentino, Hujik and Justin Millio (who is no longer on the team).
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.
#1 CAUGHT UP TO #1
Justin Watkins, who wears jersey number 1 as UD’s lead receiver, is now the Flyer record holder for career receiving yardage. His first catch against Campbell broke the mark previously held by the player who started that uniform number 1 tradition, Ryan Wrobleski. Wrobleski’s old record was 2,058 yards. Watkins now has 2,211.
After four-and-a-half years as a Flyer without a touchdown catch, Anthony Papp has three in the last four games. He hauled what proved to be the eventual game-winning TD pass in back-to-back wins at San Diego and Butler.
UD’s stable of backs -- RS sophomore Taylor Harris, RS sophomore Dan Jacob, RS sophomore Brian Mack and senior Andrew Zapinski -- have 981 yards and 23 TD’s between them. Collectively, they average 5.0 yards a carry.
HUNTER NAMED PFL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Freshman Gary Hunter was named the PFL Special Teams Player of the Week when he returned what is believed to be the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a freshman in the 105-year history of University of Dayton football. Early records are incomplete, but no Flyer freshman has returned a kickoff for a score in the modern era of UD football. Just after Valparaiso scored to tie the game in the first quarter, Hunter gave Dayton the lead back with an 82-yard return. Hunter has 18 returns for a 29.8 yards-per-return average.
MORE THAN HIS FAIR SHARE
UD head coach Rick Chamberlin has been a part of 320 of UD’s 620 wins – 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and 26 as a head coach.
Rick Chamberlin’s career .812 (26-6) winning percentage is the best among PFL coaches. Drake’s Chris Creighton is next among the league coaches (.767, 115-35 overall & .633, 19-11 at Drake).
DOING GOOD WORK
Senior offensive tackle Dan Prindle is a member of the 22-man 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.
THEY ARE WHO WE THINK THEY ARE
Dayton is one of just two schools in FCS football to have a member of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team (Dan Prindle) and a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy (Brandon Wingeier). Delaware is the other team.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Nick Glavin’s 198 career points put him 11th at UD. Just ahead are Ryan Hulme (201) and Tim Duvic (203). Glavin is also fourth in career PAT’s for the Flyers with 124. Hulme is next with 139. Glavin is fourth for career field goals at UD (25). Greg French is third with 29.
Justin Watkins is the record holder in Flyer career receiving yardage with 2,211 yards. Watkins is second in career receptions (124). Bill Franks (133) is the UD record holder.
In not quite two seasons as a starting QB, Steve Valentino is second in career pass completions (311), career passing yardage (4,204 yards) and career total offense (5,639). Kevin Hoyng is first in all three (8,862 passing yards, 530 completions, 9,528 yards in total offense). Valentino is also seventh in all-purpose yardage at UD with 2,980 yards. Gary Kosins is sixth (3,101).
Nick Glavin is the active leader in the PFL in overall scoring and kick scoring (198 points), field goals made (25) and PAT’s made (121). The all-time PFL career record holders in those categories are San Diego’s J.T. Rogan (326), San Diego’s Hutch Parker (296), Drake’s Billy Cundiff (79) and Parker (197). Justin Watkins is the active receiving yardage leader (2,211 yards). Valparaiso’s Rob Giancola is the all-time leader (3,804).
THE RED WALL (AND OTHER NATIONAL RANKINGS)
Dayton is tied for eighth in sacks per game (3.0) and ninth in FCS football in rushing defense (89.1). In other national rankings, UD is third in team kickoff return average (25.5) and seventh in scoring (35.3). Individually, Devon Langhorst is seventh in sacks (0.9). Taylor Harris is eighth in scoring (9.4). Tyler Hujik is 13th in punt return average (14.2). Gary Hunter is 13th in kickoff return average (28.2).
PFL MEANS PIONEER FOOTBALL LEADERS
UD leads the PFL in scoring defense (19.2), KO returns (25.5), 4th down conversions (80.0%, 12-15), red-zone offense (85.1%, 40-47) sacks (3.0, tied), sacks allowed (1.0, tied) and FG accuracy (77.8%, 7-9). UD is also second in scoring offense (35.3), total offense (383.6), total defense (312.3), rushing defense (89.1), pass efficiency (137.9), first downs (20.7), opponent 3rd down conversions (36.8%, 49-133), and turnover margin (+0.9).
Individually, Gary Hunter is No.1 in KO return average (28.2). James Vercammen is tied for first in fumbles forced (0.33) and fourth in tackles per game (8.8), Devon Langhorst is fourth in sacks (0.94). Tyler Hujik is second in punt return average (14.2). Nick Glavin is second in kick scoring (6.0) and PAT’s (36). Taylor Harris is second in scoring (9.4) and TD’s (11, tied). Matt Pfleger is third in passes defended (1.1). Steve Valentino is third in total offense (261.2), fourth in rushing (62.1), fourth in passing efficiency (138.7) and fifth in passing yardage (199.1). Justin Watkins is third in yards per catch (15.7) and fourth in receiving yards (71.4).
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
Two PFL teams’ last shutout was by the Dayton defense. One is Davidson, who UD beat last year 17-0 on Oct. 17 (12 games ago). The other is San Diego (12019 games ago, 41-0 in 1999).
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).
The Flyers’ 74-19 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.
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. UD is already over $1,000 on the year.
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
For the fourth 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. 7 to Oct. 26, teams that sign up in advance got a pre-practice talk from Flyer head coach Rick Chamberlin, took the field to warm up with the UD football team, and then observed practice until they went 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 198-40-2 (.829). 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
Four Times: James Vercammen; Twice: Taylor Harris, Nate Miller, Justin Watkins; 1 each: Tyler Friedrich, Nick Glavin, Gary Hunter, Dan Jacob, A.J. Kaltenbach, Devon Langhorst, Mike Morante, Matt Riddle, Joe Ries, Eric Robbe, Blake Saul, Tyler Schutz, Kyle Sebetic, Eric Studt, Steve Valentino, Chase Walton, Steve Wirkus
SCOUTS OF THE WEEK SCORECARD
Twice: Pat Dowd, Branden Johnson, Jacob Rigali, Justin Simpson, Nick Weston; 1 each: Will Bardo, Kevin Bell, Kevin Cripe, Ryan Cronin, John Ehrensberger, Ben Estey, Grant Huckenstein, Tom Hunt, Victor Kaczkowsi, Tyler Massie, Jared Phillips, Sal Savato, Sean Sward, Jake Voight, Robert Washington, Mitch Yinger, Bill Young
Freshman cornerback Howard Savage has two “Hammer Hit of the Week” awards to his credit this season, both on kick coverage. Other Hammers this season are by Bryan Bailin, Devon Langhorst, Zach McPherson, Joe Ries, James Vercammen and Brandon Wingeier.
FLYER PFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player of the Week--Steve Valentino: 9/4
Defensive Player of the Week--Brandon Wingeier, 9/18
Defensive Player of the Week--James Vercammen, 10/2
Special Teams Player of the Week--Gary Hunter, 10/2
Defensive Player of the Week--Joe Ries, 10/9
Defensive Co-Player of the Week--James Vercammen, 10/23
LAST TIME OUT--DAYTON 37, DAVIDSON 13
University of Dayton quarterback Steve Valentino compiled 280 yards of total offense and the Dayton defense came up with three turnovers to lead the Flyers to a 37-13 Pioneer Football League victory over Davidson Saturday afternoon at Richardson Stadium.
Valentino completed 11-of-17 passes for 223 yards and two TDs and rushed 12 times for 57 yards for the Flyers. Taylor Harris had seven carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns, while Tyler Hujik caught two passes for 81 yards and a TD. Nick Collins and Justin Watkins each had three catches for 56 and 46 yards respectively.
Devon Langhorst led UD with nine tackles, including half a sack. Steve Wirkus had seven in his first career start. Kyle Sebetic added six hits and a fumble recovery. James Vercammen had five stops and an interception, as did Chase Walton. Walton returned his 42 yards. Langhorst, Wirkus, Sebetic and Vercammen all had five solo tackles.
Davidson received the opening kickoff and got on the scoreboard early with a 37-yard field goal following a 52-yard drive. The Flyers answered by scoring the next 21 points.
UD began with a 6-play, 64-yard scoring drive, capped by a Harris 18-yard touchdown run. Valentino connected with Hujik for a 69-yard touchdown pass with 6:10 left in the second quarter to open a 14-3 cushion.
On the next play from scrimmage, the Flyers¹ Chase Walton picked off a pass and returned it 42 yards to the Davidson 7-yard line to set up Dayton¹s third TD, a 1-yard run by Brian Mack, which made the margin 21-3.
The Wildcats added another field goal just before halftime to send the teams to the locker room with the score Dayton 21, Davidson 6.
UD took the second-half kickoff and engineered its longest drive of the day in terms of plays (9), yards (78) and time of possession (5:26). On 4th-and-9, Valentino hooked up with Anthony Papp for a 29-yard touchdown pass. The Flyers missed the extra point, leaving the margin at 27-6.
With the score 27-13, Dayton drove down to the Davidson 30, and on 4th-and-1, Taylor Harris went straight up the middle and 30 yards for a touchdown to make the margin 34-13 and put the game away. A 32-yard pass from Valentino to Nick Collins also keyed the scoring drive.
Nate Miller added his first field goal of the season to make the final score 37-13.
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, 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. 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.
The Flyers will finish the season with their first trip to Marist on Saturday, November 13. Game time is 12 Noon ET.