Chisholm scores five touchdowns to lead Dayton past first-place Davidson

Dayton's Jake Chisholm runs for a touchdown after a catch in the first quarter against Butler on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Welcome Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff

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Dayton's Jake Chisholm runs for a touchdown after a catch in the first quarter against Butler on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Welcome Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff

Flyers close season with three straight victories

Jake Chisholm clinched the biggest victory of the season for the Dayton Flyers with a 32-yard touchdown run — his school-record tying fifth touchdown of the day — late in the fourth quarter Saturday at Welcome Stadium.

“He just doesn’t stop,” Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin said. “He is such a well-conditioned athlete. He just took the ball and just kept getting yard after yard.”

Dayton closed its season with a 38-29 victory against first-place Davidson. The Flyers finished 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the Pioneer Football League, winning their last three games.

“This was really kind of like our championship game,” Chamberlin said. “We knew we were out of the running, but we could still be a factor in who wins the PFL. That’s why we didn’t lose any focus or any momentum throughout the week. Our guys were ready mentally and physically to play today.”

Davidson (7-2, 6-1) failed to clinch a share of the PFL championship and fell into a tie for first with San Diego (6-4, 6-1), which was off Saturday. Davidson plays Drake at home next week in its final regular-season game, while San Diego plays at Stetson.

Chisholm rushed for 226 yards on 34 carries and caught three passes for 36 yards. He scored touchdowns in every quarter. He’s the seventh player in school history to score five touchdowns in a game. Ben Shappie was the last in 2008 against Campbell.

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Chisholm caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jack Cook in the first quarter. That was the first play of the game for Dayton, and it followed Davidson’s first play, which resulted in a lost fumble recovered by Ben Schmiesing.

Chisholm scored on a 73-yard run in the second quarter to give Dayton a 17-6 lead. In the third quarter, Cook and Chisholm connected again on a 10-yard touchdown pass. Then on the first play of the fourth, Chisholm scored on a 2-yard run to give Dayton a 31-16 lead.

Davidson rallied with the next two touchdowns and had the chance to tie the score with a two-point conversion at the 4:08 mark, but Dayton stuffed the run at the line.

Davidson then attempted an onside kick. Dayton recovered the ball at the Davidson 43-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Chisholm scored his fifth touchdown with 2:30 to play.

Chisholm scored 13 touchdowns in the last three games and finished the season with 19 touchdowns. While he’s returning for a fifth season, Dayton honored a number of seniors Saturday. Some would have been seniors last season, but elected to return when the 2020 season was cancelled.

“The best description of them is that they’re resilient,” Chamberlin said. “We had a saying a couple years ago in 2019: ‘Got grit.’ Each letter of grit stood for a particular word, and the R was resilient. That’s what these seniors were. They went through a lot, not just losing a season and losing a spring but some of the other things we had to do with practice facilities and so forth, but they never wavered.”

NOTES: During a halftime ceremony, senior wide receiver Cameron Specht was named the winner of the Lt. Andy Zulli Memorial Trophy.

According to UD, “The award goes to the Flyer senior who best exemplifies the qualities of Zulli, a former UD football player who was killed in a military vehicle accident while serving in the Army in Germany shortly after his graduation in 1954. Zulli was not a star football player at Dayton, but his qualities of sportsmanship, scholarship and leadership were so exceptional that this award was created in his memory shortly after his death. It is considered the most prestigious award in the University of Dayton football program.”

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