Dayton can extend scoring streak to 500 games in home opener

Flyers will play their first game at renovated Welcome Stadium

The Dayton Flyers football team didn’t set foot inside Welcome Stadium this season until Wednesday. With the 73-year-old stadium undergoing an $11 million renovation, UD played its first two games on the road and trained at the Jerry Von Mohr Practice Field, which itself got an upgrade last fall.

Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin said he was most interested in the new turf at Welcome Stadium.

“That’s what we want to get a feel for,” Chamberlin said, “because each field turf is a little different.”

Welcome Stadium will also have a new track, new lighting and a new paint job on the outside. Work on the stadium will continue in 2023.

Dayton (1-1) will play its first game at the renovated stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday against Kentucky State (0-2), a NCAA Division II program from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. It’s Dayton’s first game against Kentucky State and its first game against a D-II school since it played Central State in 2016.

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The Thorobreds lost 33-10 at home to Delta State and 9-7 at Fort Valley State in their first two games.

“They’re unknown to us,” Chamberlin said. “We’ve really never had any kind of connection with them. But what I’ve seen is they run the the triple option. As a defensive coach, you get very nervous about that because they’ve got some very good athletes and a quarterback who knows how to run it. On the triple option, any one play can be a big play. Then defensively, they run around. They love to hit people. They’re going to come after us, and I do I feel like they feel that this is their big game. We’ve got to be at our best.”

Dayton beat Robert Morris 22-20 in its opener before losing 49-16 last weekend at Youngstown State. The Penguins scored touchdowns on their first three drives — all on passes by Demeatric Crenshaw — to put Dayton in a 21-0 hole.

“Defensively, we thought we played hard,” cornerback Jeremy Jonozzo said. “We thought we were a team with great effort. We saw that in the first two weeks. We always run to the football. But it was basically just our technique and our assignments. It was our execution. They were very good team. They had very good players, great athletes. Just sticking to what we do and what we’re taught is really what we learned.”

Dayton’s 499-game scoring streak will be on the line Saturday. It has not been shut out since it lost 9-0 to Marshall on Oct. 16, 1976.

“That’s in the back of my mind for sure,” wide receiver Luke Brenner said.

A year ago this week, Dayton narrowly kept the streak alive, losing 55-3 to Southern Illinois. Sam Webster kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter for UD’s only points. It was only the fourth time in the streak Dayton had scored only three points.

The Football Bowl Subdivision record for consecutive games without being shut out belonged to Michigan, whose streak lasted 365 games (Oct. Oct. 27, 1984, to Sept. 6, 2014), until Florida broke the record in 2017. Florida’s streak now stands at 425 games. The next-closest active streak belongs to Texas Christian, which has scored in 369 straight games.

At the FCS level, Montana has an active streak of 409 straight games. That started in 1989. Dayton’s record isn’t considered the FCS record because it started the streak as a Division III school. Its FCS streak is 305 games.

Mount Union owns the Division III record. It has scored in 520 straight games. Its streak began on Nov. 7, 1981.

Chamberlin has been present at UD throughout the streak — first as a player, then as an assistant coach and then as a head coach.

“It just shows you again the quality of football players and coaches we have here at Dayton,” he said. “Those offensive coaches have been able to put points on the board, and I tell you they were hard to come by at Youngstown last week. But I was very proud of how our guys stuck in there and fought, especially in the second and third quarter.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

Kentucky State at Dayton, 1 p.m., 1290, 95.7

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