Dayton faces second straight PFL road game after OT loss at Morehead

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Dayton Flyers band performs at 2021 season opener on Sept. 11, 2021

Flyers play Drake in matchup of 1-1 teams

Eight of the 11 teams in the Pioneer Football League sit at .500 or below early in the eight-game conference schedule.

That’s the good news for the Dayton Flyers, who fell to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the PFL with a 45-38 overtime loss last weekend at Morehead State. The bad news is Dayton has given up a league-worst 88 points in two games and plays its second straight road game this week at 1 p.m. Saturday at Drake (2-3, 1-1) in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We know we’re a great team,” said linebacker Ben Schmiesing, a Piqua graduate who transferred to UD this season after playing as a walk-on at Ohio State. “We just haven’t showed it yet. I think this week is a great opportunity for us to come out and show everyone how great of a defense we really are and how great of a team in general we are.”

Dayton rallied from a 22-7 deficit to beat Drake 46-29 in Des Moines two years ago and leads the series 27-9. Drake beat Butler 6-3 on the road last week after opening PFL play with a 24-21 loss at home to Valparaiso.

“We know Drake’s a really physical team,” Dayton wide receiver Joey Swanson said, “and they’re going to give us a good fight.”

Dayton, Drake, Butler (2-3, 0-2) and Valparaiso (1-4, 1-1) are among the teams chasing preseason favorite Davidson (3-1, 2-0), PFL newcomer Marist (1-2, 1-0) and Morehead State (2-2, 1-0) in the standings.

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For the second time in three weeks, Dayton will try to erase the taste of a bitter defeat. The 55-3 loss at Southern Illinois hurt because it was the most lopsided loss in 100 years. The loss at Morehead State stung because Dayton twice rallied from 10-point deficits only to lose on an interception in overtime.

“We responded just like we would have if we won the game,” coach Rick Chamberlin said. “It was over, and 24 hours later, we were moving on to Drake. But that was a tough one because we had to fight back a couple of times. There was one bad play in the overtime, but they were about three or four plays before that that got us to that position where we were behind.”

While Dayton has averaged 50.5 points and given up 44 points per game in two PFL games, Drake has scored 13.5 points per game and given up the same amount.

Drake’s only score last week came on a 4-yard run by Cross Robinson in the third quarter. That was all it needed to beat Butler in Indianapolis. Rain slowed both teams.

“Drake’s strength is their defense,” Chamberlin said. “That’s what they rely on: keeping teams out of the end zone, which they have done for a long period of time there. So it will be interesting to see how our offense can move the ball consistently against them.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

Dayton at Drake, 1 p.m., ESPN3, 1290, 95.7

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