The University of Dayton football team won its final home game of the season against one of the top teams in the Pioneer Football League on Senior Day at Welcome Stadium.
Dayton (5-5, 4-3) beat rival Drake 28-13 on a rainy Saturday afternoon, outscoring the Bulldogs 21-6 in the second half and giving Drake (6-3, 5-1) its first league loss. The Dayton defense held one of the PFL’s top offenses to 260 yards. Drake entered the game averaging 422.6 yards.
“I was telling (the players) this might be the most satisfying win I’ve ever had here at UD,” coach Rick Chamberlin said. “I’ve been part of some great games here, but for our seniors to play against a team like Drake and to win in this fashion — coming up with plays when we needed it, both offensively and defensively, as a coach you couldn’t ask for anything more for a Senior Day.”
UD took the opening kickoff and drove 77 yards in 11 plays, using up more than four minutes of clock. Dayton scored when redshirt senior Dan Jacob ran in from the 2-yard line. Jacob finished with 68 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Drake redshirt senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski, the reigning PFL Offensive Player of the Year, struggled to find time to throw. The Flyers sacked him four times with five hurries and also intercepted two passes, one returned for a 32-yard touchdown by senior corner Kyle Sebetic with 14:07 to go in the third quarter.
“I felt very comfortable going into this game because I felt our players had a good handle of Drake’s offense,” Chamberlin said. “Had a good understanding of what they were trying to do.
“That was a big key for us. If you just allow (Piatkowski) to sit back there, he’s going to find the receiver. I told him after the game that he’s the best offensive player in the league. I don’t care what he did today.”
Early in the fourth, Drake made it 14-13 with a 30-yard field goal. Dayton responded with a 68-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 3-yard run by senior Robert Washington.
With the outcome still in question, UD went on a 14-play, 67-yard drive that exhausted more than eight minutes. Jacob scored his second touchdown with 1:09 left.
“It’s emotional,” Jacob said. “It’s the last time we’ll be here and that’s emotional. I think it gave us a little fire. A big win today. It feels great.”