Sept. 2, 2006
Dayton, OH - The University of Dayton football team began the 2006 season with a scrappy 21-14 victory over the visiting Robert Morris Colonials. It was the sixth straight time UD has won its home opener and the 22nd time in the past 23 years the Flyers have opened the season with a win at Welcome Stadium.
Robert Morris didn't make it easy for Dayton to extend their NCAA best streak of 330 consecutive games without being shutout, but with their backs to the wall the Flyers put up 21-unanswered points over the final two quarters to extend the streak and win the game.
The Colonials, who went 2-8 last season, gave the Flyers all they could handle in the first half limiting the offense to just 119 yards. The Dayton defense, on the other hand, surrendered 267 yards to a balanced Robert Morris offense that moved the ball early with ease.
After a first quarter that yielded no points, the Flyers fell to a 7-0 deficit with 6:15 to go in the second quarter on a 16-yard pass from sophomore Colonial quarterback Erik Cwalinski to senior tight end Jarvis Powers. Cwalinksi torched the UD defense to a tune of 196 passing yards in the first half. He connected with junior receiver Mario Hines for his second touchdown strike with 1:36 remaining in the half.
After halftime was over it was a much different story. The Flyers came out of the gate strong with a 10-play drive that looked to put some momentum in their favor, but junior quarterback Kevin Hoyng had his pass intercepted by Robert Morris' James Kazil.
Later in the quarter UD would get a big break on senior defensive end David Walbright's 23-yard interception. The following drive, however, was stopped by the Colonials and Dayton was forced to punt. Junior kicker Derek Hall's boot was short and a host of players gathered around Robert Morris returner Mario Hines. Amidst the confusion the ball hit Hines, who could not make the catch, and Dayton senior Chance Walton jumped on the loose ball, giving UD new life at the Robert Morris 23-yard line.
This set up the Flyers' first score of the game as Dayton finally cracked the end zone on an 11-yard reverse by senior Carlton McFadgen with 1:54 to go in the third quarter. Senior kicker Josh Heyne's ensuing extra-point attempt was no good.
With the score 14-6, the Flyers headed into the final quarter with plenty of momentum in their favor. It did not take long for the Flyers to strike again as senior tailback Greg Wimberly fought his way into the end zone at the 8:50 mark on a one-yard run. Senior tailback Brandon Godsey evened the score at 14-14 by completing the two-point conversion following the touchdown.
With 1:37 left in the game it was Godsey again putting the Flyers up for good. From six yards out, the senior pounded his way up the middle for the game-clinching score.
The Colonials would still have another chance to tie the game with two time-outs remaining, but their last drive was snuffed out by junior Steve McDonald's interception at the UD 31-yard line.
After a first half that saw Dayton get out-maneuvered and out-played, the Flyers returned to limit the Colonials to just 107 second half yards while racking up 186 yards of their own.
It really was a dramatic turn-around for the Flyers and there is no better way of illustrating it than by looking at the total time of possesion. The Colonials clung to the ball for 10:35 in the opening quarter. In the second frame time was split pretty evenly with Robert Morris holding the ball for 7:48 to the Flyers' 7:12. In the third quarter Dayton hung on to the ball for 9:20 to the Colonial's 5:40. Then the Flyers got downright stingy taking control of the clock and the game for 10:22 of the final quarter.
Dayton was paced by a 13 for 22 passing effort by Hoyng, who compiled 162 yards through the air and an additional 21 on the ground. Senior Nick Ruhe led the receiving corps with five catches for 77 yards on the afternoon. Godsey was the leading back for UD, picking up 47 yards on 13 carries. UD was led on defense by a pair of senior linebackers in Pat Weale and John Hoppe. Weale recorded 10 tackles (three solo) and also had a fumble recovery, while Hoppe added nine tackles of his own (four solo) and forced a fumble.
The Flyers (1-0) will move on to play Wittenberg next Saturday at 1:00 P.M. with the Tigers playing host. .