Sept. 22, 2005
Two of the four remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Mid-Major Football will clash on Saturday when the University of Dayton Flyers visit Morehead State for a 7:00 p.m. EDT game. Dayton is 3-0 and ranked #1 in the Football Gazette and Sports Network NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major rankings and second by Dopke.com. Morehead is also 3-0, and rated fourth by the Football Gazette, fifth by the Sports Network and seventh by Dopke.
Saturday's contest will be a crossover game in the Pioneer Football League. Since Dayton plays in the PFL North Division and MSU plays in the South Division (the Eagles are the preseason favorite to win the division), the game will not count in the league standings. San Diego (another PFL North member) and Wagner are the other two unbeatens, also at 3-0.
The Flyers have been ranked at #1 at some point in every season since the Sports Network poll started in 2001.
The University of Dayton is celebrating three significant milestones in the 2005 football season. Mike Kelly is coaching his 25th season as the Flyers' head coach, the 50th presentation of the Lt. Andy Zulli Memorial Trophy will occur on Senior Day, and the entire season will mark 100 years of varsity football at the University of Dayton.
Last year, Dayton finished the 2004 football season 7-3. UD was ranked fifth in the nation in the final Football Gazette ranking, and sixth in the Sports Network NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major poll. The Flyers' three losses were to two of the five teams ranked ahead of them (#2 Drake and #3 San Diego) and to Ivy League powerhouse Yale.
Dayton's 28 straight winning seasons is the best active streak among NCAA Division I teams. The Flyers share that honor with Florida State. 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.
*UD led all NCAA divisions in total defense last year. Dayton allowed just 263.1 yards a game in 2004. UD was also third in scoring defense, marking the fifth straight year the Flyers were in the top ten in Division I-AA in points allowed. Dayton is currently fourth in total defense (188.3) and fifth in scoring defense (7.7).
*UD has not been shut out in 323 straight games, the best such string in all of college football. The last team to shut out the Flyers was Marshall, 9-0, on October 16, 1976.
*Dayton returns home next Saturday to celebrate 100 years of football at the University when Jacksonville visits Welcome Stadium. Game time is 12 noon EDT. A tailgate, on-field ceremonies and a post-game reception are planned.
Series Stuff...Dayton leads the series 8-2, and has won the six straight meetings. The last three games have resulted in shutout wins for the Flyers. That string began with the 2002 PFL championship game (28-0), the second game of the 2002 season (12-0) and last year in Dayton on September 11 (28-0).
Coach Mike Kelly...Is in his 25th year as a head coach (all at Dayton), and has 225 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 (225-46-1) is the best among active NCAA Division I-AA coaches (minimum 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 (271, to be exact) of UD's NCAA-leading string of 323 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). Those in attendance will be introduced at halftime of the 100 Years of Football Game against Jacksonville next Saturday. The Varsity D Club will host a pre-game tailgate, former Flyers in attendance will be on the field as UD comes onto the field at game time and a post-game reception in the Time Warner Cable Flight Deck overlooking the stadium will be held.
PFL Power...The Flyers' 45-8 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 (.805, 107-26) of the 22 schools playing at this level.
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 178-33-1 (.842) 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 32 of its last 38 home games, and 16 of its last 17 road games.
Ranking Run...Dayton is ranked #1 this week in the Sports Network poll. 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 48 of a possible 57 weeks the Sports Network poll has been in existence. The Flyers have been #1 half of the time (29 of 57 weeks). UD is also first in this week's Football Gazette rankings and second by Dopke.com (behind San Diego).
Can't Spell Dayton Without The D...UD is ranked in the top ten of NCAA Division I-AA in pass defense (6th, 67.5 yards a game), scoring defense (8th, 11.5 points a game) and total defense (8th, 225.0 yards a game) after two weeks into the 2005 season. The Flyers have been in the top ten in scoring defense in each of the last five years.
What Condition Their Condition Is In...UD has allowed only 145 yards in the second half so far in 2005, compared to 420 in the first half. Just 69 yards have come in the fourth quarter.
PFL Numbers...UD is first or second in every important statistical category in the Pioneer Football League except rushing defense and turnover margin after three weeks. UD leads in scoring offense (41.7), total offense (533.7), rushing offense (306.7), passing efficiency (192.2), total defense (188.3),pass defense (67.0), pass efficiency defense (79.80), net punting (35.0), punt returns (12.1), first downs (80), third-down conversions (60.5%) and third-down conversion defense (16.7%).
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 five straight 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 three 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 second in NCAA Division I-AA in passing efficiency (195.30) and leads the PFL in total offense (281.0). Hoyng is also the only quarterback to be ranked among the PFL's top ten rushers. Hoyng is seventh with an average of 66.3 yards a game and leads UD in rushing. He averages 6.0 yards a carry so far in 2005. He has completed 33 of 51 passes (.644) for 644 yards and five TD's. Splitting time with the now-graduated Brandon Staley, Hoyng threw just three touchdown passes last year. His three rushing TD's this season already match what he did last year. In 2004, Hoyng was UD's second-leading rusher (322 yards, 68 attempts, 4.7 avg., 3 TD's). He also completed 53.1% of his passes (34 of 64) for 504 yards, three touchdowns and just two interceptions.
Player Of The Week(s)...Kevin Hoyng has 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 Player of the Week 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 is off to a great start in 2005, with 17 receptions for 318 yards (both marks lead the PFL). He has caught a TD pass in four straight games, going back to last season. 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. He's even UD's fourth-leading rusher (80 yards) even though he only has three 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). The Detroit Central Catholic product had 46 of UD's 104 receptions (44.2%), 840 of UD's 1,520 receiving yards (55.3%) and six of the Flyers' nine aerial touchdowns (66.7%) last year. Although he played for the team least likely to throw the ball in the pass-happy Pioneer Football League, Wrobleski was second in the PFL in receiving yards (84.0, just 0.6 behind Austin Peay's Pat Curran) and fourth in receptions per game (4.60). If Wrobleski can approach his 2004 numbers, he has a shot at Pat Hugar's UD record for receiving yardage in a career (1,878 yards). Wrobleski needs four yards to pass Al Laubenthal and move into fifth place on the Flyer career yardage list. Wrobleski enters the Morehead State game with 1,560 yards.
#1 Is #2...Detroit native Ryan Wrobleski changed his number last season to #1, imitating the University of Michigan tradition of putting the team's top reciever in the #1 jersey. After three weeks, Wrobleski is 13th in NCAA Division I-AA in receiving yardage (106.0 yards a game).
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. O'Dell has touched the ball six times in 2005 (three pass receptions, and three kickoff returns) and is averaging 35.8 yards a touch. O'Dell's three catches have resulted in a 41.7 yards-per-catch average, and his 30.0 yard kickoff return average is 10th in Division I-AA and first in the PFL.
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 and second-leading receiver last season. He gained 612 yards (3.8 yards per carry) in 10 starts, with four rushing touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes out of the backfield for 115 yards (6.4 avg.). He was named Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-America, First Team CoSIDA Academic All-District, and First Team Academic All-Pioneer Football League. So far in 2005, Verhoff is third on the team in rushing (42.0 yards per game).
Elementary...Backup tailback Tim Watson is second on the team and tenth in the PFL in rushing (30 carries, 156 yards, 5.2 yards per carry, two TD's and 52.0 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 eight carries in 2005, but his average yards per carry of 6.0 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. Mong scored five rushing touchdowns in all of 2004. 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 24 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 80 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons and three games, compared to 17 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 two of the three UD Offensive Player of the Week Awards in 2005. Both have been guards. Ross Mroczek was named after the Tiffin win, and Adam Love was chosen following Austin Peay. The Flyer O-Line has plowed the way for a 5.7 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 last week, backup quarterback Robert Dence is the second-highest-rated passer in the PFL (behind teammate Kevin Hoyng). This season, Dence has competed three of four passes for 37 yards and a QB rating of 152.7. One of the best athletes on the team, Dence is also one of the outside men in kickoff coverage for the Flyers.
Hoppily Stopping The Ballcarrier...The Dayton defense, led by senior linebacker John Hoppe, held Tiffin to just 87 yards in total offense, and to 56 yards rushing in 34 carries (1.6 avg.). The Dayton defense held Tiffin to minus-three yards in the third quarter. Hoppe led UD with 11 tackles (six solo), including two hits in the backfield. He also blocked a punt. For the year, Hoppe leads the Flyers in tackles (28), solo hits (14) and tackles in the backfield (5). Hoppe's 9.3 tackles a game is tied for third in the PFL.
Halfway There...While Hoppe leads with 28 hits, CB Casey Klaus, DE Scott Wintering and S Brandon Cramer are second on the team with 14 tackles each.
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 40.2 yards a punt, with three of his five boots winding up inside the 20. Hall is third in the PFL in punting, and UD leads the league in net punting (35.0).
Nick's New Stat...If you can "pre-board" an airplane, can you get a "pre-first down?" Nick Ruhe is doing just that, averaging 11.5 yards a punt return, tops 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 two years (2003 and 2004).
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.
Week#1...Dayton 38, Tiffin 0...Matt Mong had three touchdown runs and Kevin Hoyng passed and ran for scores to lead Dayton to a 38-0 win over Tiffin. The game marked the first game of Flyer head coach Mike Kelly's 25th season at the helm of the Dayton football program. Mong scored on three of his seven carries, with TD runs of 7, 2 and 1 yard. Hoyng scored on a 1-yard run in the first and threw a 50-yard scoring pass to Ryan Wrobleski in the second. In his first career start, Hoyng ran for a team-leading 57 yards on seven carries and completed 12 of 19 passes for 271 yards with an interception for Dayton. Wrobleski caught six passes for 170 yards. Ten UD players ran the ball, and seven different players caught passes. The Flyers outgained the Dragons 530 yards to 87 and had 25 first downs to just seven for Tiffin. The Dayton defense held Tiffin to minus-three yards in the third quarter. Linebacker John Hoppe led UD with 11 tackles (six solo), and blocked a punt.
Week #2 -- Dayton 41, Wittenberg 23...Behind 296 yards passing and two touchdowns from redshirt sophomore quarterback Kevin Hoyng, the University of Dayton football team defeated Wittenberg University, 41-23, at Welcome Stadium. Hoying was 15-for-22 passing as top-ranked UD won its home opener for fifth-straight year and for the 21st time in the last 22 years. Trailing 20-13 at halftime, the Flyers came back to outscore the Tigers 28-3 in the second half. Dayton scored the first two times it had the ball in the second half. UD tied it after taking the second-half kickoff Ryan Wrobleski running for a 61-yard TD just 57 seconds into the third quarter. Four minutes later, the Flyers found the end zone again as Hoyng ran 19 yards to cap a five-play, 67-yard drive. A Wittenberg 24-yard field goal from Mark Porter with 1:32 remaining in the third quarter made the score 27-23, but UD tacked on two more TD's for insurance in the fourth quarter. Matt Champa caught a two-yard pass from Hoyng and Matt Marshall carried from 12 yards out. The Flyer win overcame a tremendous individual effort by Murray, who gained 239 yards on 25 carries with two TD's. Murray's 239 net yards are the most against UD since the Flyers moved to non-scholarship football in 1977. After surrendering 276 yards in the first half, the Dayton defense allowed just 87 more yards in the second half, including just five yards in the fourth quarter. Conversely, the Flyer offense gained 342 of it 554 yards in total offense after intermission. For the game, Wrobleski caught seven passes for 94 yards. He also carried the ball twice for 75 yards and a TD. Jack O'Dell caught two passes for a 113 yards and a TD. Sophomore punter Derek Hall punted four times, averaged 44 yards and put two of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Defensively, John Hoppe led the Flyers for the second straight game with 12 tackles. He was in on a half a sack and had 1.5 tackles for a loss. Scott Wintering had a sack for a 10-yard loss to go along with seven tackles.
Week#3...Dayton 46, Austin Peay 0...UD dominated both sides of the ball in a 46-0 rout of the Austin Peay Governors at Welcome Stadium. The Flyer defense pitched its second shutout of the year in improving to 3-0, and the offense accumulated 517 yards of total offense. APSU came into the game with the Pioneer Football League's second-best ground attack, averaging 238.5 yards a game. But UD's defense held strong all game, allowing the Govs just 49 yards rushing and a total of five first downs and 115 yards total offense. Austin Peay's leading rusher, Chris Fletcher, was held 109 yards under his season's average, running for 21 yards on 11 carries. Cornerback Casey Klaus led Dayton with nine tackles on the day, with five solo hits and two passes batted down. UD did not allow a first down until the score was 21-0 in favor of the Flyers. Linebacker John Hoppe and nickelback Steve McDonald both had five tackles. Hoppe's were all solo hits with two in the Governor backfield. Tim Watson was the team's top mover, carrying the ball 13 times for 88 yards (6.8 yards per carry). Dayton quarterbacks Kevin Hoyng and Robert Dence combined for 107 yards passing (8 of 13). Hoyng was six of ten for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Wrobleski caught four passes for 54 yards and a TD.
Up Next...Dayton comes back home to play Jacksonville on October 1 at 12 noon EDT. That is the game that the University is celebrating its 100th years of football. UD (then known as St. Mary's Institute) played its first varsity game of football on November 4, 1905. After that, the Flyers begin league play in the PFL North Division, traveling to PFL defending champion Drake on October 8.