The Dayton Flyers (1-2) open up their Pioneer Football League play against the Davidson Wildcats (3-0) this Saturday at Welcome Stadium at 1 p.m. This game has huge implications for how the PFL play might pan out this year as Dayton, voted to finish second in the PFL, is coming off back-to-back losses, and Davidson, predicted to finish last in the PFL, is coming off three straight victories, which is their highest win total already since their 2011 season.
To say no one saw Davidson’s hot start to this season coming would be an understatement, especially after their 91-61 victory over Guilford last week. Yes… that is a football score not a basketball score.
“They have a new coach in there, new energy, confidence in the players, you can see it on the film,” head coach Rick Chamberlin said. “I know they aren’t going to be intimidated by coming over to the Dayton Flyers home field, they’re feeling good about themselves, so we have to be at our best.”
They scored 57 points in the first half and had at least two touchdowns in every quarter. And with only having thrown 28 passes this season, a lot of their impact has been on the ground by way of Wesley Dugger and William Wicks, who have already combined for 11 touchdowns on the ground this year. The duo also averages over 250 yards per game, with Dugger pacing the way for the PFL with 152 yards per game, followed by Dayton’s own redshirt senior Tucker Yinger with a 125.3 average.
However, Dayton is no stranger to the running game themselves, having three payers with three rushing touchdowns on the year already. Yinger and redshirt freshman Richie Warfield have led the attack out of the backfield, with Yinger averaging over 100 yards per game and Warfield dominating in the redone. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jack Cook has also got it done on the ground, averaging over 50 yards rushing per game.
“Thankfully we have a really deep core of running backs and a lot of us can do different things and can complement each other really well,” Warfield said.
Unlike Davidson, Dayton boasts a more balanced offensive attack, averaging 228 yards on the ground and 239.7 yards through the air compared to Davidson’s 481.7 and 138.7 yards per game respectively. On the flip side, Dayton’s defense has struggled to start the year, allowing over 30 points per game and allowing close to 450 yards of total offense per game.
“Defensively, we have to stop allowing big plays, and the big plays are happening because of missed tackles or a mental bust,” head coach Rick Chamberlin said. He also made a note about missed opportunities that that the team has faced, especially with the kicking game, “We are losing/leaving points on the field by not converting field goals.”
So, to say that this game won’t be won in the trenches, would be a lie. Flyer fans and parents alike should expect a heavy dosage of runs during UD’s annual Family Weekend game. Fans should also watch out for Yinger as he has a chance to move to at least third on UD’s all-time rushing yards list as he sits 18 yards behind third place holder Gary Kosins and 146 yards behind second place holder Sylvester Monroe.