After milestone 700th victory, Dayton still in mix for PFL title and playoff bid

Flyers take four-game winning streak into final home game of season

Linebacker Ben Schmiesing proudly wore a new T-shirt honoring the 700th victory of the Dayton Flyers football program to interviews with local reporters Wednesday on campus.

Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin surprised the players with the T-shirts on Saturday after a 52-28 victory against Presbyterian in Clinton, S.C. Equipment manager Tony Caruso had the shirts made in advance of the game.

The text on the front of the shirts read “700th victory” and “1905-2022,” signifying how long it took Dayton to reach the milestone.

“That’s a big number,” said Chamberlin, who has been a part of more than 400 victories as a player, assistant coach and head coach. “Not many colleges across the country can say that. It’s a credit to all the former players and coaches that have come before us here.”

Dayton became the ninth Football Championship Subdivision team to win 700 games. The others are: Yale (927-387); Harvard (892-403); Princeton (872-507); Penn (871-508); North Dakota State (769-377); Dartmouth (724-459); Delaware (713-474); and Lehigh (703-622).

At the top level of college football in the Football Bowl Subdivision, 31 programs have won 700 games. Michigan (985-352) leads the way.

At the Division II level, Pittsburg State (737-361) and Tuskegee (707-385) have reached the milestone.

Five Division III teams have 700 victories: Mount Union (834-389); Wittenberg (791-371); Washington & Jefferson (770-401); Widener (720-440); and Wabash (710-397).

Dayton (7-2, 5-1) has won four games in a row hopes to get its 701st victory when it plays Morehead State (2-7, 1-5) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Welcome Stadium. The Flyers are tied for second place in the Pioneer Football League with Butler and Davidson (both 7-2 and 5-1).

St. Thomas (8-1, 6-1) leads the PFL but is ineligible for the playoffs during a four-year transition from Division III to the Football Championship Subdivision. To earn the PFL’s bid, Dayton needs to win its last two games against Morehead State and Davidson (1 p.m. Nov. 19 on the road) and have St. Thomas win its final two games at home against Stetson and at Butler next week. Dayton last played in the FCS playoffs in 2015 when it lost 24-7 to Western Illinois in the first round.

If Dayton and Butler both win their final two games, there would be a three-way tie for first, and Butler would receive the playoff berth based on its 31-0 victory against Dayton.

“Our focus is on Morehead,” Chamberlin said, “because if we don’t beat Morehead then there’s no playoffs or championship that we can even look forward to.”

Dayton lost 45-38 at Morehead State last season. Max Pappas threw six touchdown passes for the Eagles, who finished 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the PFL. Morehead State was picked to finish fifth out of 11 teams in the PFL this season but is tied for ninth. It has lost four PFL games by eight points or fewer.

Dayton’s victory in the rain last week was its most lopsided of the season in PFL play. Running back Jake Chisholm scored four touchdowns (three on the ground and one through the air) to move into second place in UD history in career touchdowns. He has 43. Pat Hofacre has 53.

Chisholm also moved into third place in career rushing yards (2,967). He trails Tucker Yinger (3,757 yards) and Connor Cacsor (3,581).

Chisholm will be one of 29 seniors honored before the final home game of the season. He was part of a 26-man recruiting class in 2018. Most of the seniors come from the 25-man 2019 recruiting class.

“It’s definitely a strange feeling,” Chisholm said. “I got to participate in the Senior Day festivities last year as a true senior, but now as a fifth-year, it feels real because it will be my last time actually playing there.”

The Piqua graduate Schmiesing graduated from high school in 2018 like Chisholm but spent his first three seasons in college as a walk-on at Ohio State. He leads the team with 50 tackles in his second season at Dayton.

“It’s definitely a mix of emotions all hitting you at once,” Schmiesing said. “It’s something I’ve been trying to soak in every single game, knowing the season goes quick and trying to remind myself to be in the moment every chance I can.”

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