By: Chris Bendel – Staff Writer
In a come-from-behind victory, the Dayton Flyers football team beat the Robert Morris Colonials, 27-24, on a field goal with 2:32 remaining in the game by senior kicker William Will.
The Colonials led 10-0 at the half on a combination of poor execution by the Flyers offense and a stingy RMU defense before the Dayton offense rattled off 17 straight points in the third quarter and positioned Will for the 37-yard game winning field goal.
Against a defense that head coach Rick Chamberlin described as one of the toughest on the team’s schedule, redshirt senior tailback Connor Kacsor carried the ball 33 times for 72 yards.
Senior receiver Cory Stuart led the team with five receptions for 91 yards and caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Jeske, who entered the game late in the first half after redshirt sophomore quarterback Blake Bir struggled earlier in the game.
“Blake just got out of sync the way the Robert Morris defense was pressuring him,” Chamberlin said.
According to Chamberlin, Bir lacked composure in his first start under center which prompted the switch. Jeske benefitted from the Flyers offense, executing more smoothly as the game progressed and the natural first-game mistakes waned.
“Our offense just couldn’t get into a rhythm early on… It’s live action at game speed. Mistakes happen,” Chamberlin said.
Jeske finished the afternoon 11-of-17 for 162 yards and had an interception and touchdown apiece.
Senior and All-PFL linebacker Chris Beaschler recorded a career-high 18 tackles and two sacks to anchor a defense that conceded just 247 yards of total offense and 91 yards on the ground.
“[Beaschler] was well prepared for this game,” Chamberlin said. “He studied film and had the game plan down.”
Senior safety Danny Leach, who was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week Sunday, intercepted two passes, recorded four tackles and recovered a fumble.
He returned one of the interceptions 93 yards for a touchdown in the middle of the third quarter, tying the game at 10 and halting a Robert Morris offense poised to take a two touchdown lead. It was the third-longest return in program history.
Freshmen punters Sean Smith and Chris Papalia combined to average 42.5 yards per punt, with two falling inside the RMU 20-yard line.
During the team’s off week, the coaching staff will continuously monitor the progression of the team’s three quarterbacks. Redshirt senior Luke Johnson, Bir and Jeske will all take snaps with the team’s first offensive unit, according to Chamberlin.
The Flyers return to Welcome Stadium for the home opener against Duquesne University Saturday, Sept. 19, at 1 p.m.