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Posts Tagged ‘Percival Welcome.’

Dayton Flyers Football opens 2010 with 28-14 win over Robert Morris

The University of Dayton football team jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and then scored a critical four-quarter touchdown to defeat Robert Morris, 28-14 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

Flyer quarterback Steve Valentino ran for 106 yards and was 19-for-37 passing for 211 yards and two TD’s. However, it was what Valentino did after a mistake that was the critical play of the game.

QB Steve Valentino (UD photo)

WR Justin Watkins (UD photo)

With Robert Morris having scored two unanswered touchdowns to make it a 21-14 game, Colonial safety Michael Landers intercepted Valentino’s pass near midfield and like he was going to tie the game with the interception down the right sideline. But Valentino ran him down, stood him up and stripped the ball from him where Tyler Hujik recovered the fumble back for the Flyers at their own 19.

UD then drove 81 yards in 10 plays to score a touchdown that would put it back in the driver’s seat. Over the last seven-and-a-half minutes, the Dayton defense allowed just three first downs, and two of them were by penalty.

After Dayton fumbled the ball away at its own 30 on the first play of the game, the new-look defense was tested early, denying Robert Morris a first down and forcing a field goal attempt that was wide and got into the swirling winds at Welcome Stadium. The Flyers offense bounced back with a 74-yard drive to open the scoring. Valentino’s 48-yard run set up Andrew Zapinski’s two-yard run to make it 7-0 after the first quarter.

Welcome Stadium home of the Flyers (UD photo)

A pair of Valentino touchdown passes in the second quarter sent Dayton to the locker room with a 21-0 lead. With 8:26 left in the half, he found Justin Watkins for a 24-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-10, wrapping up a 94-yard, 13-play drive. The drive matched UD’s longest scoring drive in seven years (the Flyers also had a 94-yard drive at Drake in 2007). After holding the Colonials to a three-and-out, Dayton scored again as Valentino connected with Nick Collins for a 4-yard TD with 40 seconds before halftime.

Robert Morris scored on a 92-yard scoring drive when Jeff Sinclair hit a wide open Anthony Coleman for a 33-yard TD. Three plays later Rolf Bathold took an interception 37 yards to the six. On fourth-and-goal, Sinclair spun in from the one to make it 21-14 less than a minute into the fourth quarter, setting the stage for Valentino’s game-changing play, which led to Dayton’s game-clinching drive and a Brian Mack three-yard run to make the final score 21-14.

Mack rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries and Watkins caught a career-high nine passes for 95 yards.

The Dayton Flyers returned just three starters from the 2009 season’s top-ranked defense in the Pioneer Football League, but the new players carried the day for UD. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Matt Pfieger, who was areceiver in 2009, led the way with six tackles (five solo).

Dayton outgained Robert Morris, who is picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference, 388 to 213, and had 26 first downs while allowing 13.

Dayton will be on the road to Pittsburgh next week, playing its second straight NEC team when they take on Duquesne. Game time is 12 noon.

GAME NOTES

* Dayton leads the series with Robert Morris 11-2, and has won the last seven meetings.

* UD has not been shut out in a school-record 376 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. That is also the all-time FCS record.

* Dayton head coach Rick Chamberlin has been a part of 313 of UD’s 613 wins, 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and 19 as a head.

* The Dayton 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 194-40-2 (.825). The “Welcome” is not a greeting, but an honor to the late Percival Welcome, longtime Athletic Director for the Dayton Public Schools.

Info and photos courtesy of Dayton Athletics