DAYTON, Ohio - The University of Dayton Flyers (10-1, 7-1 PFL) will make their first appearance in the Division I Football Championship Playoffs since moving to Division I in 1993 on Saturday against Western Illinois University (6-5, 5-3 MVC) at noon ET at Welcome Stadium.
UD won its 12th PFL conference title this season, currently twice as many as any other PFL team.
The Flyers are looking to become the first Pioneer Football League team to win in the FCS Playoffs. The PFL received its first automatic bid in 2013 and has gone 0-2 in its first two chances, being outscored 83-14.
Dayton finished the regular season with a road loss to Drake, keeping the Flyers from finishing the season with just their third perfect record in 110 years. The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak going back to 2014, the longest active FCS winning streak at the time.
Western Illinois is 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the powerful Missouri Valley Conference. The MVC has five teams in the 24-team FCS Playoff field, including Illinois State, who faces the winner of this matchup on December 5th.
The Flyers have come from behind in the second half in seven of their 10 wins this season, but couldn’t muster the magic in the snowy plains of Des Moines last week. After falling behind 21-0 in the first half, the Flyers cut it to 21-17 but could never get over the final hump.
Dayton has clinched its 38th winning season in the last 39 years.
GOOD NEWS WORTH REPEATING
The Flyers entered the season with the fourth-best winning percentage (.746, 124-42) in FCS football since 2000 AND have produced the most football Academic All-Americans (22) at any level of competition in the same time frame. The top five in winning percentage are North Dakota State (.845), Harvard (.799), Montana (.775), Dayton (.746), and San Diego (.698).
UD has not been shut out in a record 442 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.
• This is the first meeting in program history for Dayton and Western Illinois.
• The two teams have played over 2,000 combined games in 220 seasons on the gridiron.
• UD’s first season of competition was 1905, while WIU’s first season was 1903.
SCOUTING THE LEATHERNECKS
• Western Illinois played the toughest schedule in the FCS, playing seven FCS-ranked opponents as well as Illinois during the season.
• Sophomore LB Brett Taylor ranks 12th nationally in total tackles (123) and 14th in solo tackles (61).
• The Leathernecks went 2-4 on the road during the regular season.
• The Pioneer Football League is in its 23rd season. The original (and now the only) Division I strictly need-based football league began with charter members Butler, Dayton, Drake, Evansville, San Diego and Valparaiso.
• UD’s 103-32 record is the best in PFL history.
• The Flyers were the 11th NCAA FCS team (and the first west of the Alleghenies) to win 600 games in its football history in 2008.
• The 16 members of the club, heading into the 2015 season are: Yale (884), Harvard (848), Penn (830), Princeton (804), Dartmouth (676), Delaware (674), Lehigh (671), North Dakota State (671), Lafayette (669), Dayton (649), Northern Iowa (641), Cornell (633), North Dakota (625), Colgate (625), Holy Cross (613), Brown (601), and Drake (600).
• Of the 600 Club members, Dayton has played the fewest seasons (106, nine fewer than Northern Iowa’s 115).
DAYTON IN THE POST-SEASON
• The Flyers have qualified for their first-ever FCS playoff berth.
• But UD has played in the post-season 13 times, including 11 NCAA Division III playoff appearances.
• Dayton was the Division III national champion in 1980 and 1989.
• This is UD’s first playoff appearance since 1992, and first post-season action since 2007.
THE MAN AT THE TOP
• Rick Chamberlin
is now in his eighth season in charge of the Flyer football program. His record is 65-24.
• He is third all-time in wins at Dayton, behind two members of the College Football Hall of Fame – Mike Kelly
(246) and Harry Baujan (124).
• Chamberlin is also in his 41st season as part of the Flyer football program. A Flyer All-American linebacker in his playing days, he has been a part of 359 of UD’s 6,598 wins – 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and 65 as a head coach. He has also been a part of 460 of UD’s 1,045 games.
• The Springfield, Ohio Native is the 23rd head football coach since the program began in 1905. He is the first of the 11 modern era coaches to have lettered for the Flyers, and the second to be a graduate of the University of Dayton (Pete Ankney was the first when he coached in 1963 and 1964).
• Chamberlin, 59, had been on the Flyer coaching staff for 29 seasons before being named head coach. First as linebackers coach and then as defensive coordinator, Chamberlin helped mold the Dayton Defense’s reputation for its preparation and execution as a unit. Under Chamberlin’s guidance as an assistant and now as a head coach, the Flyers have led the Pioneer Football League in scoring defense in nine of the last 12 seasons.
• A four-year letterwinner (1975-78) for the Flyers, Chamberlin was named to the Football Coaches Association Small College All-America team. He was the third Dayton player to be named a First Team All-American, and was the first defensive player. He was inducted in to the UD Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.
FLYERS FINALIST FOR FCS AWARDS
• Coach Chamberlin has been named a finalist for the FCS Coach of the Year and redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Jeske
is a finalist for FCS Freshman of the Year.
• Chamberlin has the Flyers off to their best start since the 2010 season, with a 10-1 overall record. After going 7-1 in the PFL, Dayton captured a share of the conference title for the 12th time and is playing in its first FCS playoff game in program history.
• Jeske is a finalist after completing 181 of 300 passes for 1,928 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first season on the field. In addition, he has carried the ball 97 times for 87 yards and five touchdowns.
• Should the Flyers advance to the second round of the FCS Playoffs they would take on Illinois State on December 5th.