Dayton’s search for consistency continues with road game at Valparaiso

Marist tackles Dayton's Jake Chisholm on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Welcome Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff
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Marist tackles Dayton's Jake Chisholm on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Welcome Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff

UD is in sixth place in PFL with four games to play

The Dayton Flyers have struggled to find consistency in the 2021 football season. That’s evident with a quick glance at their schedule: win, loss, win, loss, win, loss.

Six games into the season, Dayton is 3-3 and 2-2 in the Pioneer Football League. It has yet to win or lose consecutive games. If that trend continues, it will win on the road this week in Indiana at Valparaiso (1-5, 1-2) after losing 20-17 at home last week to Marist.

The Flyers play at 1 p.m. Saturday at Brown Field. ESPN3 will broadcast the game.

“We were pretty consistent throughout (the Drake) game,” coach Rick Chamberlin said Wednesday, “but all of our other games, we’ll have moments in which we’re playing really good, and then we’ll have moments in which we’ll allow our opponent to have an advantage. The competition we play against, you can’t give them any advantages because they’ll make you pay for it.”

Dayton sits in sixth place in the PFL with four games to play. Davidson, Marist and Morehead State are all 3-0. The Flyers have lost to Marist and Morehead State and play Davidson at home in the final game of the regular season Nov. 13.

Seventh-place Valparaiso has lost two straight one-score games — 27-24 to Marist in overtime at home and 20-13 on the road to St. Thomas — since beating Drake 24-21 for its only victory.

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The Flyers lead the series against Valparaiso 26-3 and have won the last two games in the series after losing 8-7 at Valparaiso in 2017. Valparaiso used the Crusaders nickname the last time they played the Flyers but retired that nickname last February and picked a new nickname, the Beacons, in August.

“Our new nickname directly connects to the University’s motto, ‘In Thy Light We See Light,’ and represents the Valparaiso University community in many ways,” said Valparaiso President José D. Padilla, J.D., in a press release. “We are beacons of light and hope in our communities.”

While the nickname may be unfamiliar to Dayton fans, the Valparaiso head coach is a familiar face. Landon Fox spent 11 seasons as a defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Dayton before taking the head coaching job at Valparaiso in 2019. Dayton beat Valparaiso 41-28 in 2019 the first time Fox coached against his old team.

Fox’s first team finished 1-11. Valparaiso improved to 4-2 in the 2021 spring season. Fox was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is presented annually to the best coach at the Football Championship Subdivision level, for leading the program to its best winning percentage since 2003. Valparaiso tied for second in the PFL.

Dayton’s Zach Rumpke, a redshirt junior who plays the flyer position, looks forward to seeing Fox on the opposite sideline again.

“He’s going to be talking to us,” Fox said, “and we’ll probably see him and talk a little bit to him. He’s a very energetic guy, and he knows our defense well, so he’s going to have a game plan ready for his offense.”


SATURDAY’S GAME

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

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