Oct. 28, 2005
The University of Dayton football team will finish the 2005 season on the road, playing October 29 at Davidson, and then finishing up at Butler on November 5. This Saturday's game time is 1:00 p.m. EDT. The Dayton-Davidson game is a Pioneer Football League crossover game. UD is 7-1, and 2-1 in the Pioneer Football League North. Davidson is 3-5 overall, and 1-2 in the PFL South.
The Flyers are ranked #2 in the Sports Network's NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major poll, with their only loss to #1 San Diego two weeks ago. UD has been ranked at #1 at some point in every season since the Sports Network poll started in 2001.
UD is celebrating three significant milestones in the 2005 football season. Mike Kelly is coaching his 25th season as the Flyers' head coach, the entire season will mark 100 years of varsity football at UD, last week at UD's last home game, senior quarterback Robert Dence was named the winner of the Lt. Andy Zulli Memorial Trophy in the 50th presentation of the Zulli Award. The Zulli Award is a character-driven award that is among the most prestigious in the program.
The 2005 Dayton Flyers are shooting to be just the 18th team in UD history to finish a season with no more than one loss. It is worth noting that 11 of the previous 17 one-loss-or-better UD teams were also coached by current Dayton head coach Mike Kelly.
UD's win at Drake clinched its 29th straight winning season, which is the best active streak among NCAA Division I teams. Florida State has also clinched its 29th straight winning season. Over the last ten years, UD has averaged 8.6 wins a season. The Flyers have won outright or shared the Pioneer Football League Championship eight times in the 12-year history of the league.
The Flyers will finish the 2005 campaign next Saturday at Butler. That game will begin at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Flyer Facts... *UD is on track to be ranked in the top ten in Division I-AA in points allowed for the sixth straight year. Dayton is currently seventh (14.88 points a game).
*UD has not been shut out in 328 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 October 16, 1976.
*Senior co-captain Ryan Winner has started 29 straight games at left offensive tackle for Dayton. He is the only three-year starter on the team.
*Senior wide receiver Ryan Wrobleski needs 37 yards (50 under his per-game average) to break Pat Hugar's UD career receiving yardage record.
Series Stuff...UD leads the series 3-0. Dayton won last year's game 45-27 at Welcome Stadium on October 2, and won two years ago at Davidson 33-25 on October 4, 2003 when Brandon Staley's 12-yard run with 19 seconds left capped a thrilling 80-yard drive to bring UD from a 25-24 deficit. The Flyers also won the first meeting between the two teams 49-7 in Dayton on September 16, 1989. Davidson's 52 points scored against UD in the last two years is almost as much as the rest of the PFL South scored against the Flyers in the last four seasons combined (57 points).
Coach Mike Kelly...Is in his 25th year as a head coach (all at Dayton), and has 229 wins. His 25 seasons as UD's head coach are the longest tenure in school history (College Football Hall of Famer Harry Baujan coached for 24 years at UD before becoming Director of Athletics). Kelly's .829 winning percentage (229-47-1) is the best among active NCAA Division I-AA coaches (min. five years head coach).
More Mike Kelly...Only three other active coaches at the Division I level--Florida State's Bobby Bowden (351), Penn State's Joe Paterno (343) and Albany's Bob Ford (205)--entered the 2005 season with more than 200 wins.
Even More Mike ...Mike Kelly was the Football Gazette NCAA Division I-AA Non-Scholarship and Pioneer Football League Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 2001, the PFL Coach of the Year in 2000, and the Football Gazette's Coach of the Year in 2002. UD's win over Evansville in 1996 gave him 150 career wins, making him one of only four to reach 150 in his 16th season. The other three are certain College Football Hall of Famers -- Barry Switzer (2001 inductee), Tom Osborne (1998) and Joe Paterno (not in yet, but do you want to bet against him?). Kelly is UD's winningest football coach, having surpassed 1990 College Football Hall of Famer Harry Baujan back in 1993.
Coaching Experience...The Flyers are fortunate to have an experienced coaching staff with three of the coaches at UD for at least 25 seasons: Mike Kelly, Head Coach (Manchester '70), 25th season as head coach, 29th at UD Dave Whilding, Off. Coordinator/Quarterbacks (Earlham '71), 28th at UD Rick Chamberlin, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (Dayton '80), 26th at UD
Coincidence? I Think Not...Almost all (276, to be exact) of UD's NCAA-leading string of 328 games without being shutout have been with Dave Whilding coaching the Dayton quarterbacks. After coaching UD's defensive backs when he came to UD in 1977, Whilding moved over to the offensive side of the ball in 1981.
Six Football Flyers Join UD Hall of Fame...The 2005 football season is the University of Dayton's 100th anniversary season of football. To help commemorate this, six Flyer football players were inducted into the UD Athletic Hall of Fame on January 8. The 2005 Hall of Fame class brings the total membership in UD's Hall of Fame to 146. The new members are Jerry VanderHorst (1948-50), Leo Dillon (1968-70), Larry Nickels (1970-72), Mike Duvic (1986-89), Lou Loncar (1986-89) and Andy Pellegrino (1989-92).
PFL Power...The Flyers' 47-9 PFL record is the best in the 12-year history of the league. UD's eight league championships are more than the rest of the PFL combined.
Tops In I-AA Non-Scholarship...In the 12 years I-AA Non-Scholarship has been an option, UD has the best winning percentage (.804, 111-27) of the 22 schools playing at this level. Duquesne's .752 (100-33) winning percentage is second, followed by Robert Morris (. 668, 77-38-1), Drake (.659, 89-46) and Marist (.607, 71-56).
Welcome Mat...The UD Flyers moved to Welcome Stadium in 1974. The word "Welcome" implies hospitality, but Dayton has been anything but hospitable to its opponents at home. UD is 180-34-1 (.840) at home. The "Welcome" in Welcome Stadium is not a greeting, but honors the late Percival Welcome, longtime Director of Athletics for the Dayton Public Schools. UD has won 34 of its last 41 home games, and 18 of its last 19 road games.
Grab A Paint Brush...The University of Dayton, Dayton Public Schools and the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority have signed a letter of agreement to work together to renovate Welcome Stadium. Thanks to the agreement, the Port Authority was able to acquire $1 million from the State of Ohio in this fiscal year, and potentially another $1million in the next. Safety improvements, painting and new seating are scheduled to happen in the program's first phase, with a new FieldTurf playing surface and a new press box to follow.
Ranking Run...Dayton is ranked again #2 this week in the Sports Network poll, after six straight weeks earlier this season at #1. The Flyers have been ranked first in the Sports Network poll at least once in every year since the poll began in 2001. UD has been ranked either first or second in the Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major poll for 53 of a possible 62 weeks the Sports Network poll has been in existence. The Flyers have been #1 more than half of the time (32 of 62 weeks). UD is also third in the Dopke.com and Football Gazette rankings.
Can't Spell Dayton Without The D...UD is ranked in the top ten of NCAA Division I-AA in scoring defense (7th, 14.88 points a game). The Flyers are positioned to finish in the top ten of scoring defense for the sixth straight season. Dayton is also ranked in scoring offense (5th, 39.63), rushing offense (5th, 260.38), total offense (7th, 464.25), passing efficiency (8th, 162.72) and pass defense (9th, 142.38).
PFL Numbers...UD is in the top three of every important statistical category in the Pioneer Football League except rushing defense and turnover margin. UD leads in scoring offense (39.6), rushing offense (260.4), pass defense (142.4), passing efficiency (162.7), kickoff returns (21.8) and kickoff coverage (43.5). The Flyers are second in scoring defense (14.9), total offense (464.2), total defense (292.0), pass efficiency defense (105.1), punt returns (12.5), first downs (177), opponent third-down conversions (29.4%), fourth-down conversions (83.3%) and red zone offense (84.8%).
2005 Co-Captains Are...John Hoppe at linebacker (a Sports Network pre-season All-American), Steve Verhoff at tailback and Ryan Winner at offensive tackle (also a Sports Network pre-season All-American).
Who Needs Starters?...In the last five years, UD has finished in the top ten in Division I-AA in scoring defense. In those five years, coach Mike Kelly had the luxury of having a majority of his starters back the next season only once. UD returned six starters in 2002. In the other seasons Dayton had five back twice (2003 and 2000), four back once (2004) and three back once (2001). If history means anything, having three starters back will not be a problem for the Dayton defense in 2005.
QB Kevin...Redshirt sophomore quarterback Kevin Hoyng has started just seven games in his UD career, and his first two starts resulted in the second- and third-best total offense efforts in UD football history (378 yards vs. Wittenberg and 328 vs. Tiffin, respectively) behind Kevin Johns' school-record 418 yards at San Diego in 1996. Hoyng is fifth in NCAA Division I-AA in passing efficiency (165.57) and is second in the PFL in total offense (262.1).
More Hoyng...Flyer QB Kevin Hoyng has been UD's leading ground-gainer in six of the eight games this season. is also the top quarterback among the PFL's top ten rushers. Hoyng is seventh with an average of 62.1 yards a game and leads UD in rushing. He averages 5.3 yards a carry. In the Valparaiso win, he gained 85 yards in just five rushing attempts (and did not play in the fourth quarter). He has also completed at least 60% of his pass attempts in six of the eight games this season.
That Was Then, This Is Now...Kevin Hoyng has already surpassed his numbers for 2004. He had 826 yards in total offense last year, splitting time with the now-graduated Brandon Staley. Already this year, he has gained 2,024 yards and is on pace to set break Steve Keller's school record of 2,460 yards (which was set in 14 games). He has completed 87 of 150 passes (.580) for 1,527 yards and 11 TD's. On the ground, he has 497 yards on 94 attempts (5.3 avg.) and six TD's. Last year, Hoyng threw just three touchdown passes and ran for three more.
Player Of The Week(s)...Kevin Hoyng opened the season with two straight PFL Offensive Player of the Week Awards. Back-to-back Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week Awards to the same player has occurred 12 times since the PFL began operation in 1993, but it has never happened to start a season. If you are wondering if anyone has earned the award three straight times, then you do not remember Butler's Arnold Mickens, who won it five straight weeks during the 1994 season. Hoyng joins Kelly Spiker (September 25 and October 2, 2000) and Kevin Johns (November 16, 1996 and September 6, 1997) as the only Flyers to take the PFL Offensive POW twice in a row.
Great Week To Be A Flyer...Each of UD's fall "ball" sports had a conference player of the week during the week ending September 5. Kevin Hoyng was named PFL Offensive Player of the Week. Volleyball player Faye Barhorst was Player of the Week in the Atlantic 10, as was men's soccer player Lubomir Bogdanov. Women's soccer player Reba Sedlacek was A-10 Co-Player of the Week. For good measure, freshman Amy Kempf was A-10 Rookie of the Week in cross country.
Wrobo-Receiver...Senior wideout Ryan Wrobleski has almost surpassed what he did in ten games last year (46 catches, 840 yards) in just eight games in 2005, with 41 receptions for 703 yards. He is second in the PFL in receiving yardage (87.9 yards per game), receptions per game (5.12 and leads in yards per catch (17.1, minimum three catches a game). In the Jacksonville win, he had four of UD's eight receptions for 110 yards and a TD, and also scored two rushing TD's in three rushes for 52 yards. He's had four games of five or more receptions this year. He opened the 2005 year with six catches for 170 yards (including a 50-yard TD) at Tiffin, and added seven more receptions for 94 yards in the Wittenberg win the following week. At Morehead, he had six catches for 95 yards. He's even UD's fourth-leading rusher (184 yards) even though he only has nine carries, one being a 61-yard TD run versus Wittenberg. His 46 catches last season more than doubled the number of receptions he had in 2003 in 11 games (19).
Climbing The Charts...Ryan Wrobleski is within shouting distance of Pat Hugar's UD record for receiving yardage in a career (1,878 yards). Wrobleski is currently third with 1,842 yards. Just ahead is Tim Eubank in second (1,851).
#1 Is #2...Detroit native Ryan Wrobleski changed his number last season to #1, partially imitating the University of Michigan tradition of putting the team's top receiver in the #1 jersey. The other reason is more personal: When he first began playing peewee, he wore #1, and he likes the prospect of finishing his career as he started -- wearing #1.
Making The Most Of His Opportunity...Ryan Wrobleski's only punt return of 2005 resulted in an 86-yard touchdown in the Valparaiso win. It also resulted in the third-longest punt return in UD history, and resulted in Wrobleski begin named PFL Special Teams Player of the Week.
Happy Jack...Jack O'Dell is what could be called a first-strike weapon in the Dayton offense. Literally. Against Wittenberg, he caught a 65-yard TD pass on Dayton's first play from scrimmage. At Morehead, he took the opening kickoff back 54 yards . Aside from three punts (with a 41.5 average, no less), O'Dell has touched the ball 23 times in 2005 (12 pass receptions, and 11 kickoff returns) and is averaging 23.7 yards a touch.
Very, Very Verhoff...In the backfield, the Flyers return their top rusher for the first time since Jermaine Bailey came back for his senior season in 2002. Starting tailback Steve Verhoff, a 2005 captain, was UD's leading rusher last season. He gained 612 yards (3.8 yards per carry) in 10 starts, with four rushing touchdowns. He was named Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-America, First Team CoSIDA Academic All-District and Academic All-PFL. So far in 2005, Verhoff is third on the team in rushing (64 attempts, 271 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 2 TD, 33.9 yards per game).
Elementary...Backup tailback Tim Watson is second on the team in rushing (76 carries, 308 yards, 4.1 yards per carry, two TD's and 38.5 yards a game). No better than fifth on the depth chart last year, a great spring moved him up to the regular rotation this season.
Full-Speed Fullback...Fullback Matt Marshall has only 18 carries in 2005, but his average yards per carry of 5.9 is indicative of what he brings to the UD backfield. The speedy Marshall led UD running backs last year with a 7.2 yards per carry average (35 rushes for 251 yards).
Goal-Line Thunder...Starting fullback Matt Mong (the "Thunder" of UD's Thunder and Lightning fullback tandem) scored three TD's in the season-opening win at Tiffin and now has nine this year. Mong scored five rushing touchdowns in all of 2004. He leads UD in scoring this season and is third in the Pioneer Football League. He has never been thrown for a loss in his college career.
The Winner Is...Offensive tackle Ryan Winner, a 2005 captain, is back for his third year in the starting lineup. He has started the last 29 games at left tackle for UD. The largest Flyer (6-foot-6, 294 pounds) has been a mainstay on a line that has bulldozed the way for 98 rushing touchdowns the last three seasons, compared to 20 for Flyer foes. He was First Team All-Pioneer Football League and selected an Honorable Mention All-American by the Football Gazette. He's also received some 2005 preseason accolades. The Sports Network picked him to be on its preseason All-America team, and I-AA.org Magazine chose Winner to be its preseason PFL Lineman of the Year.
Comeback Kid...Offensive guard Ross Mroczek came back after off-season knee surgery (he missed the last three games of 2004 after a severe knee injury) to be named UD's Offensive Player of the Week in the season-opening 38-0 win at Tiffin. Even with the injury, Mroczek was named UD's Most Improved Player in 2004.
To Serve And Protect...Offensive linemen have earned three of the first five UD Offensive Player of the Week Awards in 2005. Ross Mroczek was named after the Tiffin win, Adam Love was chosen following Austin Peay and Ryan "Bo" McNulty was tabbed after the Jacksonville win. The Flyer O-Line has plowed the way for a 5.3 yard-per-carry average this season.
You Know You Have Arrived When...Senior All-American tackle and captain Ryan Winner's family owns and operates a regionally-famous butcher shop, but he isn't the member of the Dayton offensive line who has a sandwich named after him. That honor goes to senior tackle Dan Fedyk, for whom the "Fedyk Dog" is named at Pug's Dog House near UD's campus. For the record, it's a hot dog with mustard, onions, chili, cheese and cole slaw.
I'm Your Dence-ity...Despite throwing the first incompletion of his college career in the Austin Peay win, backup quarterback Robert Dence is the highest-rated passer in the PFL. This season, Dence has competed eight of ten passes for 104 yards and a QB rating of 167.36. One of the best athletes on the team, Dence is also one of the outside men in kickoff coverage for the Flyers, and was named Special Teams Player of the Week after the Jacksonville game.
Truly Zulli...Robert Dence was named the 2005 winner of the Lt. Andy Zulli Memorial Trophy at halftime of the Valparaiso win. He barely had put the award away and his helmet back on when he went out and made the tackle on the second-half kickoff. Later in the half, he guided the Flyers to a pair of scoring drives, the first of which ended when he ran 23 yards for his second TD of the season.
Hoppily Stopping The Ballcarrier...Senior linebacker John Hoppe leads the Flyers in tackles (71), solo hits (35) and tackles in the backfield (7). Hoppe's 8.9 tackles a game is fifth in the PFL.
Dayton's Big Hoppe...Senior linebacker John Hoppe was named PFL and Football Gazette Defensive Player of the Week following the Jacksonville win. UD's answer to David Ortiz (it's most valuable hitter), Hoppe complimented his nine tackles in the game with some serious ball skill. He intercepted two passes, including one early in the third quarter that he returned 47 yards for the touchdown that ignited a 28-point third quarter to seal the win.
Swing Shift...John Hoppe took care of the first six points in a two-touchdown swing that really decided the Valparaiso game. With Valpo driving to a potential score late in the first half that would have made the score 21-14 in favor of UD, Hoppe ran down Crusader QB Ryan Doerffler from behind and stripped of the ball at the one. Flyer safety Brandon Cramer picked it up and ran it back 98 yards for the TD that gave Dayton a 28-7 halftime lead.
Cramer-Geezic...Sophomore safety Brandon Cramer was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week after the Valparaiso win that saw him score on a 98-yard fumble recovery return. But he also intercepted his first pass of the year, and was in on five hits in the game. For the season, Cramer leads UD in fumbles forced (2), passes batted away (5) and his third in tackles (47).
Start Me Up...Junior linebacker Brian Kelly has started the last four games in place of injured senior Pat Weale, and Kelly has turned in 40 tackles (13 vs. Jacksonville and 15 vs. San Diego). He also recovered two fumbles at Drake. Kelly is second in overall tackles with 60.
Pickoff Artist..Junior cornerback Casey Klaus leads UD and is tied for seventh in the PFL in interceptions (3 on the season, 0.38 per game). Klaus led UD with nine hits vs. Austin Peay (five solo) with two passes batted down.
Paper or Plastic...Defensive end Scott Wintering's 2.5 sacks this year leads the team.
From Depth To Defense...Junior Marques Warner has moved from UD's deepest position (tailback) to defense, where he has proved to be a fast learner. Warner has moved up to #2 corner behind Chance Walton.
Putting The "Special" In Special Teams...UD has had 22 different players make at least one special teams tackle this season. Frank Kohstall leads with eight hits (4 solo), and two others have six -- Marques Warner (5 solo) and Robert Dence (4 solo). Oddly, all three began their UD careers on the offensive side of the ball. Dence is still there as UD's #2 quarterback, while Warner moved from tailback to cornerback, and Kohstall moved from fullback to defensive end.
Our Man Hall...Sophomore punter Derek Hall's first two punts of the year were kicked out of bounds inside the ten-yard-line. For the season, he is averaging 37.5 yards a punt, with eight of his 28 boots winding up inside the 20, and five more being fair caught.
Nick's New Stat...If you can "pre-board" an airplane, can you get a "pre-first down?" Nick Ruhe is practically doing just that, averaging 9.9 yards a punt return, second in the PFL.
The Cream Does Rise To The Top...UD's 2005 roster includes a number of what some might call "over-achievers." Fifty-three current Flyers were in the National Honor Society, and 92 were team captains in some sport.
Gotta Play Smart...The University of Dayton placed a league-best 10 players on the 2004 Academic All-Pioneer Football League team. Since the league's origin in 1993, over a quarter (113 of 410) of the PFL All-Academic selections have been Dayton Flyers. UD also had 46 players on the PFL Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or better).
Hitting The Books...The University of Dayton had two football CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2004, matching the most from one school for the fourth straight year. UD had eight players named to the 2004 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, which doubled any other team in the district (Kentucky had four). UD has had 43 football Academic All-Americans. Among schools currently playing Division I football, only Nebraska (80) and Notre Dame (44) have had more. UD has had at least one football player named Academic All-American in 13 of the last 14 years. Twelve Flyers were nominated for Academic All-America in each of the last three years (2003, 2004 and 2005).
Super Stat...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 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 youngest coach to win a Super Bowl, and Noll is the fourth-youngest. As a matter of fact, UD has ties to 18 Super Bowl rings. In addition to Noll's four and Gruden's one, five former members of Dayton coaching staff own a total of 13 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), John McVay (49ers, XVI, XIX, XXII, & XXIV), Tom Moore (Pittsburgh Steelers, XIII & XIV) and George Perles (Steelers, IX, X, XII & XIV). McVay was the Flyers' head coach from 1965-72. The other four were UD assistants.
Up Next...Dayton make its first visit to the newly renovated Butler Bowl, wrapping up the 2005 season at Butler on November 5. Game time is 1:00 p.m. EST (please note that by then Dayton and Indianapolis will both be on Eastern Standard Time).