Sept. 16, 2009
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The University of Dayton football team takes to the road Saturday, Sept. 19, when the Flyers face the Robert Morris Colonials. Game time at Joe Walton Stadium is 12 noon ET. Dayton is looking to bounce back from last Saturday's season-opening 13-10 loss to Urbana at Welcome Stadium in Dayton. RMU is also looking for its first win of 2009 after two close losses of its own. The Colonials lost to VMI 14-13 and Bucknell 26-23 on the last two Saturdays. This will be Robert Morris's first home game of the year.
NO ONE'S DOING IT BETTER The Flyers entered the season with the second-best winning percentage (.788, 78-21) in FCS football since 2000 AND have produced the most football Academic All-Americans (17) at any level of competition in the same time frame.
STREAKING UD has not been shut out in 367 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.
SERIES STUFF Dayton holds a 9-2 edge in the series with Robert Morris, and has won the last six meetings. UD won the last game, 31-14 at Welcome Stadium on September 20, 2008.
THE COLONIALS ARE... 0-2, with both losses coming by a total of four points. RMU has 17 starters back from last year's 5-6 team. The offense is headlined by junior halfback Myles Russ, who is fifth in FCS football in rushing per game, averaging 131.0 yards a contest. The defense is led by junior linebacker Alex DiMichele, who has reached double digits in tackles in nine of his 12 career college games for Robert Morris. He opened the season with 15 tackles and recovered three fumbles at VMI.
LAST YEAR'S GAME--UD 31, RMU 14 Four interceptions by the Flyer defense, including a 38-yard return for a touchdown by Matt Smyth, helped Dayton top Robert Morris 31-14. Smyth and Kevin Burns each recorded two interceptions apiece. The Flyer defense also had a forced fumble and four sacks. Burns led UD with eight tackles, Sean Heenan had three tackles and two sacks and Brandon Wingeier forced a fumble and recorded a sack. Steve Valentino had 199 all-purpose yards, 55 of them off of five receptions and one touchdown catch. Robert Morris outgained UD 368 to 300, but the turnovers by the Colonials sealed the Flyer win. Myles Russ led RMU with 68 yards rushing on 14 carries. Robert Morris linebacker Alex DiMichele was the game's leading tackler with 11 hits.
KNOWING HOW IT FEELS... Robert Morris's last two losses are by a total of four points. Dayton's last three losses are by a combined nine points.
CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN The Flyers are led by captains Drew Fumagalli, Sean Heenan and Steve Valentino. Fumagalli is a redshirt senior linebacker from Naperville, Ill. He played in only nine games due to injury, but still had 21 solo tackles and 36 total tackles with a sack and three tackles in the backfield. Heenan, a redshirt senior defensive tackle from St. Joseph, Mich., is Ohio College Football's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year among FCS Subdivision teams in the state of Ohio. He was Second Team All-PFL after finishing second on the team in sacks (7.0) and tackles in the backfield (12.5). He was also selected a Second Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American in 2008. Valentino is a senior wide receiver/quarterback/kick returner from Solon, Ohio. He was First Team All-PFL after catching 50 passes (2nd on the team) for 626 yards (1st) and four TD's (1st). He was in the top five in the PFL in receiving yards per game (5th, 52.2), punt return average (5th, 11.8), kickoff return average (2nd, 23.9) and all-purpose yards per game (4th, 122.2).
ALL PFL ALL BACK Four of the ten UD players who were named All-PFL in 2008 are back in the Red & Blue in 2009. Wideout Steve Valentino was a first team selection, as were defensive tackle Kalen Hemmelgarn and linebacker Joe Ries. Defensive tackle Sean Heenan was a second-team selection.
DAYTON D The Flyers return eight starters from the team that finished in the FCS top ten of all four major defensive statistical categories last year. The Flyers were ninth in pass efficiency defense (100.61), sixth in total defense (255.83), fifth in scoring defense (15.33) and second in rushing defense (60.67). Four of the starters are in the heart of the defense - all-conference performers Kalen Hemmelgarn and Sean Heenan at tackle and Joe Ries at linebacker, and co-captain Drew Fumagalli at the other linebacker. The other four returning starters on defense are defensive end Brandon Wingeier, cornerback Scott Horcher, safety Kevin Burns and cornerback/safety Matt Smyth. Smyth started at both positions in 2008, and led FCS football in passes defended per game (1.75). He is expected to start at corner in 2009. Wingeier was just one of four non-seniors named a 2008 ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American. Horcher's 27 career starts are the most of anyone on the team. Burns moved into the starting lineup for the last 10 games of the season, and only two returning players had more tackles than his 52 hits. One of those two players with more tackles was James Vercammen, who had 62 tackles (36 solo). Vercammen is expected to start at Flyer, UD's hybrid safety/linebacker position, after starting the last three games of the year (FYI, Ries was the other player with more tackles than Burns. Ries had 74.)
ENDANGERED SPECIES The top two quarterbacks coming out of spring ball for the Flyers are both laid up with shoulder injuries. Redshirt sophomore Jeff Pechan, who started two games last year suffered and on-the-job accident over the summer and tore his labrum. Pechan is out for the year. Redshirt freshman Timmy Fogarty started the Urbana game and went 7-of-14 for 28 yards before spraining his shoulder when he landed on it as he was being sacked. Fogarty is expected to be out two games. Sophomore Jared Phillips came in for Fogarty and was 14 of 32 for 145 yards. Ironically, the player on the roster with the most passes is UD's all-conference receiver, Steve Valentino, who has thrown 20 passes filling at QB the last two seasons.
GOOD HANDS PEOPLE Although none of the active quarterbacks heading into the season for the Flyers had thrown a pass in a college game, there's plenty of experience at the other end of the transaction. UD returned four of its top five receivers from last season, and a record-setting wideout from two years ago. Redshirt senior JMichael Jonard caught a then-school-record 64 passes (for 756 yards and six touchdowns) in 2007. He was not enrolled in school during the 2008 season, and in his absence, redshirt sophomore Justin Millio pulled in the current record of 66 passes for 526 yards and three TD's. Also back are Steve Valentino (2nd on team, 50 catches for 626 yards, 4 TD's), Nick Collins (3rd, 33 for 482, 3 TD's) and Justin Watkins (5th, 16 for 286, 3 TD's). Valentino, a team captain, was First Team All-PFL in 2008. Watkins is expected to start on the outside opposite Valentino. While Valentino is the fastest player on the team, Watkins' career 17.8 yards-per-catch average is the best on the team by nearly five yards a catch.
WELCOME BACK... JMichael Jonard's return after a year away from football didn't show any rust. He caught a career-high nine passes for 71 yards in the Urbana game. He leads the Pioneer Football league in receptions per game (9.0) and is tied for fourth nationally.
V IS FOR VERSATILE... Senior captain Steve Valentino turned 10 "touches" in to 150 yards in the Urbana game. He caught five passes for 45 yards (including a 10-yard TD), returned three punts for 36 yards (12.0 avg.) and two kickoff s for 69 yards (34.5 avg.). He leads the PFL and is eighth nationally in kickoff return average, and is second and tied for ninth in punt return average.
IT'S WHAT'S UP FRONT THAT COUNTS Up front, starting redshirt sophomore center Blake Saul and senior right guard Tyler Friedrich are the only two returning starters back on the offensive line, although Saul missed the opener due to injury and has not reappeared on the depth chart yet. Whoever starts at the other three (projected to be Eric Studt and Dan Prindle at the tackles and Dan Fornek at left guard) will be a varsity letterwinner, taking advantage of UD's great depth on the line. Redshirt sophomore Justin Griffis, another letterwinner, started in place of Saul against Urbana. In 2008, UD quarterbacks threw 425 passes, while being sacked just 18 times. That's just one sack for every 24 pass attempts. By contrast, Dayton opponents were sacked once every 13 times they threw the ball.
STARTER JACKET... Cornerback has started a team-high 27 games in his UD career. Number 27 was one to remember against Urbana. He had 10 tackles (eight solo), broke up two passes and intercepted another. He has seven career interceptions, tied for third among active PFL players.
THE FLYER FLYER... Senior James Vercammen has taken over the "Flyer" position (a hybrid DB/LB role) in the Dayton defense, and he came through with 14 tackles in the opener. That's the best in the PFL and second-best in FCS football. His two tackles in the backfield also tie him for first in the league.
BURNSIE... Senior safety Kevin Burns had 12 hits in the Urbana game, including one in the backfield. He is second in the PFL in tackles, behind teammate James Vercammen.
McGLAVIN Senior Nick Glavin returns at kicker for the Flyers after doing most of the placekicking for the last two seasons. Last year, he was second on the team in scoring with 72 points. He was 39 of 42 on PAT's, and 11 of 16 in field goals with a long of 42 yards. He led the PFL in kick scoring (averaging 6.0 points a game). He also punted in 2008, averaging 34.0 yards a punt. Of his 54 punts, 14 were downed inside the 20 and another 11 were fair caught. Glavin was one-for-two in field goals in the Urbana, opening the scoring with a career-long 43-yarder. He has 15 career field goals, the best in the PFL among active players.
MILLER'S CORNER... Redshirt sophomore Nate Miller's debut as UD's punter was a solid one. He punted nine times for a 38.9 yard average, but five of his nine punts were downed inside the 20. He had a long punt of 50 yards.
FIVE FLYERS RECOGNIZED BY OHIO COLLEGE FOOTBALL Ohio College Football.com selected a preseason All-Ohio NCAA FCS/NCAA II/NAIA Team, and honored five UD players on it, including DT Sean Heenan, who was tabbed their preseason defensive player of the year. Also chosen were fellow defensive tackle Kalen Hemmelgarn, linebacker Joe Ries, center Blake Saul, cornerback Matt Smyth and wide receiver Steve Valentino.
TOUCHDOWNS FOR TOTS Chamberlin has announced a new charity initiative for the upcoming season. In 2009, UD will conduct "Touchdowns for Tots" benefitting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots program. For every touchdown scored by the Flyers, National City, now a part of PNC Bank will donate $50 to Toys for Tots. In addition, the home football game against San Diego will be "Touchdowns for Tots Day" and fans will be encouraged to bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots.
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. For eight Tuesdays in September and October, teams that sign up in advance will 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 their evening is over at 8:15 p.m.
ONE SCORE AGO The 1989 NCAA Division III national championship team will be inducted as a unit into the University of Dayton Athletic Hall of Fame at the Davidson game.
THE PFL COACHES HAVE SPOKEN The UD football team has been predicted to place second (tied with defending champ Jacksonville) in the annual PFL coaches poll. For the fourth consecutive season, the Pioneer Football League's coaches have tabbed San Diego as the preseason favorite, but only voted them five of 10 possible first-place votes. The league's coaches also expect a competitive conference race as only six points separate the Toreros from Dayton and Jacksonville. Dayton picked up three first place votes and Jacksonville received the other two first place votes. Following Jacksonville were Morehead State (51) and Butler (42) to round out the league's top five. Drake (40) was picked to finish sixth followed by Davidson (37), league newcomer Marist (32), Valparaiso (20) and Campbell (nine).
600 CLUB 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 12 members of the club, heading into the 2009 season. Yale (853), Harvard (798), Penn (796), Princeton (780), Fordham (738), Dartmouth (643), Lafayette (640), Delaware (633), Lehigh (625), Cornell (616), Dayton (603) and North Dakota State (601). Of the 600 Club members, Dayton has played the fewest seasons (101, nine fewer than Fordham's 110).
MORE THAN HIS FAIR SHARE UD head coach Rick Chamberlin has been a part of 303 of UD's 603 wins - 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and nine as a head coach.
PFL POWER The Flyers' 61-18 PFL record is the best in the history of the league. UD has won nine league championships (including ties) in the 15 years the PFL has existed. The rest of the league has 11 combined.
WELCOME MAT 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 190-39-2 (.827). The "Welcome" in Welcome Stadium is not a greeting, but an honor to the late Percival Welcome, longtime AD for the Dayton Public Schools.
GREAT GRAD RATES UD's was one of two PFL teams and only 23 teams nationally to earn Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA for their performance in graduating their student-athletes in the sport of football. Public Recognition Awards are given to those programs recognized by the NCAA as one of the teams in the top 10 percent for Academic Progress Rate in their respective sport. The teams recognized were Air Force, Brown, Bucknell, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Davidson, Dayton, Duke, Harvard, Holy Cross, Navy, New Hampshire, Penn, Princeton, Rice, Richmond, Rutgers, Stanford, Villanova, William & Mary and Yale. Only 19 of the 331 NCAA Division I schools had more teams cited than the eight that Dayton had. The UD sports recognized were men's and women's basketball, football, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, men's tennis and women's indoor track.
HITTING THE BOOKS The Dayton football program has produced 17 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans since the 2000 season. That's most at any level of college football. Last season, four Flyers were named Academic All-American, the most in one year in school history. Named to the first team were Bart Bergfeld and Brandon Wingeier, while Sean Heenan and Patrick McCormick were selected to the second team. In the history of the Academic All-America program, UD has had 48 Academic All-Americans. Among schools currently playing Division I football, only Nebraska (97) and Notre Dame (52) have had more. Ohio State has also had 48. UD's total includes safety Brandon Cramer who was named the 2007 Division I football Academic All-American of the Year, capping a career that saw him named an Academic All-American for three straight seasons. Covering all sports, at least one University of Dayton student-athlete has been named an Academic All-American for 25 straight years.
THE BOOKS TOOK A BEATING LAST YEAR The University of Dayton placed 13 Flyer football players on the 2008 University Division ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV Team, the most of any team in the country. The Dayton list included seven first-team selections which tied with Penn State's seven for the most first-team selections of any Division I program. In the district, the 13 Flyers named to the first and second teams were more than twice as many as the next team, Ohio State, who had six. UD had eight players named to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team, twice as many as any other school in the district. At least 12 Flyers were nominated for Academic All-America in each of the last four years (16 the last two seasons).
GOTTA PLAY SMART The University of Dayton placed a league-best 16 players on the 2008 Academic All-Pioneer Football League team. UD's 16 selections were almost triple as much as anyone else in the league. Drake and Butler each had six players selected. It was the sixth straight year UD had the most players on the PFL Academic team. Since the team's origin in 1993, nearly 30 percent (172 of 585) of the PFL All Academic selections have been Dayton Flyers. UD also had PFL-high 69 players on the PFL Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or better). That was 13 better than the next-best school, and was the 15th time in the 16-year history of the league UD had the most.
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 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 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 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), John McVay (49ers, XVI, XIX, XXII, & XXIV), current Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore (Pittsburgh Steelers, XIII & XIV, Indianapolis Colts XLI) and George Perles (Steelers, IX, X, XII & XIV). McVay was the Flyers' head coach from 1965-72, and Fontes, Gruden, Moore and Perles were on his staff.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK OFFENSE--Justin Griffis, 6-1, 275, Redshirt Sophomore Center DEFENSE--Scott Horcher, 5-11, 190, Senior Cornerback SPECIAL TEAMS--Nate Miller, 5-10, 185 Redshirt Soph. Punter D SCOUT--Joe Janasek, 6-1, 190, Freshman Linebacker ST SCOUT--Jordan Martin, 6-2, 200, Freshman Linebacker O SCOUT--Zachary Splain, 6-1, 170, Freshman Quarterback Hammer--Zach McPherson, 5-11, 205 Senior Tight End
UP NEXT Dayton is back home to face Duquesne. Game time at Welcome Stadium is 1 p.m. ET.