PDF Game Notes
The 104th season of University of Dayton football begins Saturday when the Flyers travel to Robert Morris to take on the Colonials. Game time at Joe Walton Stadium is 12:00 p.m. ET.
The Flyers return 11 starters (four offense, six defense, and one specialist) from a team that won a share of the 2010 Pioneer Football League title with a record of 10-1 and was ranked 25th nationally.
Head Coach Rick Chamberlin is back for his fourth season at the helm for the Flyers. He has guided UD football to a career record of 28-6. Chamberlin led the Flyers to a 9-3 record in 2008, 9-2 in 2009, and 10-1 last season. That’s the best three year start in program history.
The biggest off-season decision facing the UD coaching staff was who was to replace two-time Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Year, Steve Valentino, at quarterback. Redshirt Freshman Will Bardo will take over under center in hopes of guiding the Flyers to their third straight Pioneer Football League title and fourth in the last five seasons.
Among the Flyers’ 11 returning starters is senior defensive end Devon Langhorst. Langhorst was a member of the 2010 Third Team Associated Press Championship Subdivision All-American team and was First Team All-Pioneer Football League. He ranked second nationally in sacks with 14 and was second on the team in tackles with 77. Langhorst has been nationally recognized as a Preseason Third Team All-American by College Sporting News and Preseason Honorable Mention All-American by JB Scouting.
Two other Flyer football players received preseason honors. Kick returner Gary Hunter and punt returner Tyler Hujik were named to the College Football Preseason Awards watch list. Hunter led the conference with 28.2 yards per kick return with one return touchdown. Hujik ranked third in the conference among punt returners with an average of 13.1 yards per return.
GOOD NEWS WORTH REPEATING
The Flyers enter the 2011 season with the second- best winning percentage (.792, 97-24) in FCS football since 2000 AND the most football Academic All-Americans (21) at any level of competition in this century.
SCOUTING THE COLONIALS
Robert Morris finished the 2010 campaign with an 8-3 record and returns nine starters including First Team All-NEC Conference quarterback Jeff Sinclair. Sinclair tied a Robert Morris record last season with 22 touchdown passes. Sinclair enters the 2011 season with a career starting record of 13-5.
The Colonials have five players named to the Northeast Conference Preseason team. Sinclair is joined on that team by senior tight end Shadrae King, senior offensive lineman Logan Miles, junior defensive lineman Nolan Nearhoof and senior return specialist Anthony Coleman. King enters the 2011 season needing just 19 receptions and six touchdown receptions from establishing a new school record. King was also named to the 2011 FSC Preseason All-America Second Team by both The Sports Network/Fathead.com and Phil Steele. Last season he finished with 43 catches for 531 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Northeast Conference coached tabbed Robert Morris to finish third in 2011 preseason poll. Robert Morris shared the 2010 Northeast title with Central Connecticut State and represented the NEC in the FCS playoffs.
UD leads the series with RMU 11-2, and has won the last eight meetings. The Flyers won last year’s season opener between both teams 28-14. UD led 21-0 at the half, but Robert Morris closed the gap to 21-14. RMU’s Michael Landers intercepted a Steve Valentino pass attempt near midfield and attempted to run it back to the house to knot up the game at 21. Valentino ran him down, stripped the ball and Flyer receiver Tyler Hujik recovered the fumble at the UD 19. UD then drove 81 yards in 10 plays to score a TD to secure the game. Over the last seven-and-a-half minutes, the UD defense allowed just three first downs, and two of them were by penalty.
THE EYES OF THE NATION
After finishing a season nationally ranked (25th in both the Sports Network and AFCA polls) for the first time in school history as a Division I team, UD received 21 votes (48th) in the preseason Sports Network /FCS Poll.
UD has not been shut out in a school-record 386 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. UD brings a nine-game winning streak into the season that is the second-best active streak in FCS football. National champion Eastern Washington has won its last 11 games. Fellow PFL member Jacksonville also has a nine-game winning streak.
THE MAN AT THE TOP
Head coach Rick Chamberlin has guided UD to 28 wins in his first three seasons, going 9-3 in 2008, 9-2 in 2009 and 10-1 last year. That’s the best three-year start by any Flyer football coach. Dayton has won a share of PFL championships in two of his three years, and missed the third by just five points at Jacksonville in the final game of 2008 season.
MORE THAN HIS FAIR SHARE
Rick Chamberlin has been a part of 322 of UD’s 622 wins – 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and 28 as a head coach.
Rick Chamberlin’s career .824 (28-6) winning percentage is the best among PFL coaches. Drake’s Chris Creighton is next among the league’s coaches (.763, 116-36).
LEADING FROM THE FRONT
You will find the Flyers’ 2011 captains in the trenches. Defensive end Devon Langhorst and offensive tackle Dan Prindle are UD’s co-captains this season. Both are redshirt seniors and members of three PFL title teams in their careers.
LONG TIME STARTERS
Eight Dayton players enter the 2011 with double-digit starts under their belts. Justin Griffis leads with 22 (although all 22 are at center and he is now a guard). Right behind is Dan Prindle with 21. Brian Mack has 17, Zach Weber 12, and Tyler Hujik, Devon Langhorst, Matt Pfleger and Kyle Sebetic each have 11.
FIRST TIME STARTERS
Twelve Flyers are projected to be starting for the first time on Saturday. They are QB Will Bardo, RB Taylor Harris, WR Jordan Boykin, FL Branden Johnson, OT Tom Corcoran, C Bill Petraiuolo, DT Phil DeBoer, DE Anthony Sadler, LB Sean Belanger, and Flyer Andre Crawford. As redshirt freshmen, Bardo and Johnson will also be seeing their first Flyer action.
FIRST TIME QB
Redshirt freshman Will Bardo takes over at quarterback for Dayton, following two-time PFL Offensive Player of the Year Steve Valentino. This will be the first game that Bardo has played in (that counts, at least) since he led Ft. Thomas Highlands High School to the 2009 Kentucky 5A Championship.
RETURNING TO THE SCENE
Will Bardo steps into the starting QB role at Dayton on the very same field his predecessor made his first collegiate start at quarterback. Steve Valentino, who was an All-PFL wideout as a redshirt sophomore in 2008, was pressed into service when the Flyers traveled to Robert Morris in 2009 after injuries knocked out the top three quarterbacks on the UD depth chart. Valentino led Dayton to a 21-14 win and an eventual 19-2 record as a starter.
NOT HIS FIRST RODEO
Having an inexperienced quarterback step into the starting lineup is nothing new for Dayton offensive coordinator Dave Whilding. Of the 17 new starting quarterbacks in Whilding’s 31 years of coaching the position, 11 took over with less than 20 career passes to their credit (including Steve Valentino and two QB’s now in the UD Athletic Hall of Fame – Kevin Johns and Steve Keller). Three (Kevin Wilhelm, Kelly Spiker and Brandon Staley) had exactly the same number as new QB Will Bardo -- zero.
Seven current members of the Flyer football team have had relatives who also played for UD, including four players whose fathers played -- Austen Alber (Tim, 1986-88), Alex Johnston (Jim, 1973-75), Matt Dorenkott (Brian, 1976-78) and Kyle Pignatiello (Mike, 1980-82).
Defensive end Langhorst was a member of the 2010 Third Team Associated Press Championship Subdivision All-American team and was First Team All-Pioneer Football League. He ranked second nationally in sacks with 14 and was second on the team in tackles with 77. Langhorst has been nationally recognized as a Preseason Third Team All-American by College Sporting News and Preseason Honorable Mention All-American by JB Scouting.
UD returns its entire stable of top running backs from 2010 -- seniors Taylor Harris, Dan Jacob and Brian Mack. They combined for 946 yards and 22 TD’s between them last year with a 4.7 yards per carry average. Harris is currently listed as the starter but all three have started in the past.
SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
Sophomore Gary Hunter led the PFL and was ranked eighth in FCS football in kickoff return average as a freshman in 2010. Hunter averaged 28.2 yards a return. He had what is believed to be the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a freshman in the history of University of Dayton football. Early records are incomplete, but no Flyer freshman has returned a kickoff for a TD in the modern era of UD football. After playing corner last year, Hunter has moved to the offensive side of the ball and is a wide receiver.
DOING GOOD WORK
Redshirt senior offensive tackle Dan Prindle was a member of the 2010 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.
THE RED WALL (AND OTHER NATIONAL RANKINGS)
Dayton was second in FCS football in sacks per game (3.6) and rushing defense (78.4) in 2010. In other national rankings, UD was sixth in scoring (35.5), seventh in team kickoff return average (24.1) and eighth in turnover margin (1.0). Individually, Devon Langhorst was second in sacks (1.3) and tied for eighth in tackles for loss (1.7). Gary Hunter was eighth in kickoff return average (28.2). Tyler Hujik was 11th in punt return average (13.1). Taylor Harris was 12th in scoring (8.7).
PFL MEANS PIONEER FOOTBALL LEADERS
Last season 2010, UD led the PFL in rushing defense (78.4), KO returns (24.1), sacks (3.6), sacks allowed (1.5) and 4th down conversions (78.9%, 15-19). UD was also second in scoring offense (35.5), total offense (380.5), total defense (314.3), first downs (20.6), opponent 3rd down conversions (36.0%, 58-161), red zone offense (85.2%, 46-54) and turnover margin (+1.0).
SHUTTING OUT DISTRACTIONS
Two PFL teams’ last shutout was by the Dayton defense. One is Davidson, who UD beat 17-0 on in 2009 (15 games ago). The other is San Diego (123 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 2011 season. Yale (864), Penn (813), Harvard (812), Princeton (785), Fordham (748), Dartmouth (651), Lafayette (650), Delaware (649), Lehigh (639), Dayton (622) Cornell (620), North Dakota State (613) Northern Iowa (610), North Dakota (604) and Colgate (603). Of the 600 Club members, Dayton has played the fewest seasons (103, nine fewer than Northern Iowa’s 112). UD moved into the Top 10 in 2010.
The Flyers’ 76-19 PFL record is the best in the history of the league. UD has won 11 league championships (including ties) in the 18 years the PFL has existed. The rest of the league has 13 combined.
COMPLETIONS FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS CHARITY INITIATIVE
After picking up “Loose Change” for Catholic Social Services in 2008, scoring “Touchdowns for Tots” in 2009, and taking down “Sacks For Groceries” in 2010, the University of Dayton has a new charity of choice this season. It is “Completions For Cystic Fibrosis.” For every pass completion during the 2011 season, PNC Bank will make a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
For the fifth 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. 6 to Oct. 25, teams that sign up in advance get a pre-practice talk from Flyer head coach Rick Chamberlin, take the field to warm up with the UD football team, and observe practice until they go 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 199-40-2 (.830). The “Welcome” is not a greeting, but an honor to the late Percival Welcome, longtime AD for the Dayton Public Schools.
Dayton has won four straight road games, and nine of its last ten. The last loss was at Duquesne, 35-31, on Sept. 11, 2010.
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.