College Football: Flyers set to face SEMO in home opener

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College Football: Flyers set to face SEMO in home opener

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Flyers defensive back Christian Searles closes on a Jacksonville receiver. STAFF FILE PHOTO

The Dayton Flyers open the home portion of the schedule at 1 p.m. Saturday vs. Southeast Missouri State.

Dayton lost at Robert Morris 13-10 while Southeast Missouri was competitive, but on the wrong end of a 38-16 score at Kansas.

It’s the first-ever meeting between the Flyers and the Redhawks. Dayton will return the trip to Cape Girardeau in 2018.

Here are four storylines to watch:

Avoiding an early skid

The Flyers haven’t lost back-to-back games to start a season since they dropped two straight road games to kick off the 2012 season.

Dayton has won five straight home openers and 13 consecutive regular-season home games.

Round two for Kaparos

Dayton’s Kyle Kaparos was 13-of-18 passing in his first college start. Kaparos found the end zone on the second drive last Saturday at Robert Morris.

The redshirt sophomore hadn’t played significant minutes in a game since his senior season at Upper Arlington High School.

“It took a little bit to get going,” he said. “After getting a couple of hits out of the way I started to get into a rhythm and stay loose out there.”

Huge Challenge

Southeast Missouri will provide a big challenge for the Flyers … literally. The SEMO roster lists 13 players weighing in at over 300 pounds.

“We’ve talked about it all week,” Flyers 237-pound defensive lineman Nick Surges said. “We’re just going to have to execute really well and use the technique we are taught to make plays and keep our offense out on the field.”

“They’re big, they’re fast, they’re physical,” Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin said. “We’ve got them here at Dayton, we’re practicing wel. We’ve got to go out and just play our game and do the best that we can and not worry about them.”

A work in progress

The kicking game got off to a slow start at Robert Morris. Freshman Patrick Sandler was 1-of-3 on field goal tries. He connected from 25 yards out, while missing from 32 yards (hit the upright) and 44 yards (wide right) in the fourth quarter.

Those miscues might be overlooked in a blowout, but they tend to be glaring issues in a game that finished with a 13-10 final score.

On the other side, preseason All-America candidate Christian Searles returned two kickoffs for 57 yards with a long effort of 39 yards.

SATURDAY’S GAME

Southeast Missouri State at Dayton, 1 p.m., AM 1290, News 95.7 WHIO

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