The Welcome Stadium turf A.J. Green criticized in 2019 after he suffered an injury during a Cincinnati Bengals practice in Dayton is no more.
The Dayton Flyers played their first game on new turf Saturday in a 46-3 victory against Kentucky State and raved about the new surface.
“I don’t really like it,” linebacker Ben Schmiesing joked. “We lost our home-field advantage of pebbles and weeds. It’s just kind of standard old turf now — not as fun. No, it’s great turf, and it felt good out there. It’s definitely a softer surface, a little more forgiving.”
Dayton made the most of its renovated stadium, which also has new lighting and a new paint job, especially in the second half when it turned a 10-3 game into a blowout with 36 points.
“Offensively, we got in a better rhythm,” Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin said. “That’s a good defense. That first half, they were playing hard. They had athletes off the edge who were disrupting a lot of our plays. Our offense made some adjustments on the formations and in particular plays that we were calling, and once we got into a rhythm, we wore them down.”
Jake Chisholm caught one touchdown pass in the first quarter and another in the third and added a touchdown run, his first of the season, in the third. The redshirt senior from Union, Ky., had one touchdown catch entering the game.
Chisholm has 34 touchdowns in his career (23 rushing and 11 receiving). He needs six more to move into the top five in career touchdowns in UD history. Eight more touchdowns would move Chisholm into second place behind only Pat Hofacre (53, 1990-93).
Chisholm ran 13 times for 33 yards and caught two passes for 59 yards.
“I think we were just trying to take what the defense had given us,” Chisholm said. “Credit to their coaching staff. They had really good game plan when it came to trying to stop the run. But I think that opened up some of the passing game, and I think we took advantage of that.”
Dayton (2-1) kept Kentucky State (0-3) winless in the first matchup between the two schools.
Dayton made the first big play of the game late in the first quarter. With the game scoreless, Kentucky State drove to the Dayton 23-yard line. On third-and-7, Jonathan Jerry threw a pass that Nathan Arthur deflected. The ball bounced off one Dayton defender before being intercepted by cornerback Michael Franks, who returned it 69 yards to the Kentucky State 30.
“Everyone did their job,” Franks said. “It was tipped up a couple of times. There was good pressure by the defensive line, and I was happy to be right where the ball dropped.”
Dayton capitalized on the turnover, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Dante Casciola to Chisholm.
That play extended Dayton’s consecutive game scoring streak to 500 games. Dayton has not been shut out since it lost 9-0 to Marshall on Oct. 16, 1976. The only longer active streak in NCAA college football belongs to Division III powerhouse Mount Union, which has scored in 521 straight games. Its streak began on Nov. 7, 1981.
Kentucky State got on the board in the second quarter with a 44-yard field goal from Mason Molique.
Dayton pushed its lead back to seven points, 10-3, on a 38-yard field goal by Sam Webster with 1:25 left in the half.
In the third quarter, Chisholm scored on a 54-yard pass from Casciola. He caught the pass along the sideline, made a defender miss and sprinted to the end zone to give Dayton a 17-3 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Kentucky State’s returner had trouble fielding the kick and then was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
A 10-yard touchdown run by Chisholm late in the third quarter gave Dayton a 25-3 lead.
Three players finished the scoring with their first career touchdowns.
• Sophomore H-back Cade Beam, a Tippecanoe graduate, scored on a 31-yard pass from Casciola.
• Redshirt freshman running back Ty Stylski, a Kings graduate from Mason, scored on a 3-yard run.
• Running back Logan Davis, a redshirt freshman from Prospect, Ky., also scored his first career touchdown on a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Casciola completed 11 of 18 passes for 182 yards and ran 13 times for 43 yards.
The Flyers are off next week and return to action against Drake at 1 p.m. Oct. 1 at Welcome Stadium.
“What we’ll do is get better,” Chamberlin said. “That’s the whole purpose of the bye week. It’s not a blow-off week. We will take off Monday and Tuesday, give them some rest there. Then Wednesday and Thursday is all fundamentals, working on things we need to get better at if we’re going to win the conference. Then Friday, Saturday, we’ll be restarting on Drake to get a couple extra days there to get ready for them.”
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