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