The University of Dayton football team scored a season-high 41 points en route to a 41-27 win over Morehead State Saturday at Welcome Stadium. Quarterback Will Bardo completed 15 of 23 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns and redshirt freshman running back Connor Kacsor carried the ball 13 times for 106 yards and a TD.
The Dayton defense was led by linebacker Colin Monnier, who had 14 tackles (8 solo) and an interception.
The Flyers have now won back-to-back contests and improved their record to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the PFL. Morehead State dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the PFL. A crucial hook-and-ladder conversion for a touchdown swung the game’s momentum toward Dayton as time expired in the first half.
With the Flyers leading 17-13 with 11 seconds left before halftime and driving on the Morehead State 39-yard line, UD quarterback Will Bardo completed a nine-yard strike to wide receiver Ross Smith. Smith caught the ball and then lateraled it to a streaking Robert Washington coming out of the backfield. Washington sped toward the goal line, juked an Eagle defender at the 10-yard line then ran in for a Dayton score. The touchdown gave UD a 24-13 halftime lead. It was the second week in a row that UD scored as time expired in the first half.
The Flyers took advantage of the momentum to score on their first three drives out of the half (two touchdowns and one field goal). In fact, spanning from the second to fourth quarter, UD scored on five straight drives (4 touchdowns and 1 field goal) and scored 24 unanswered points turning a 13-10 deficit into a 34-13 lead. Dayton was five-for-five in red zone opportunities on the day.
The Flyers gained 532 yards total offense, UD's best output in 47 games going back to the Campbell game (559 yards) on Oct. 4, 2008.
Bardo fired three touchdown passes on the day, which equaled the amount of passing touchdowns he had for the entire season coming into the game. He completed 15-of-23 passes for 214 yards. Backup Jake Voigt was also three-for-four for 49 yards in two first-half series. Eight different Dayton receivers caught the 18 pass completions, but no one had more than three receptions. Nik Gillum (57 yards, 1 TD), Jordan Elmore (24 yards, 1 TD) and Robert Strong (16 yards) each had three to lead UD.
Junior Gary Hunter averaged 40.8 yards per touch, returning two kickoffs for 92 yards and catching two passes for 71 yards.
The Flyer rushing attack was led by Kacsor, who topped 100 rushing yards for the second consecutive game. Kacsor had 106 yards on 13 carries, including a 12-yard touchdown run. Dan Jacob had 73 yards on 13 carries with a score, while Bardo had 56 yards on 10 carries and Washington carried the ball five times for 30 yards.
Along with Monnier's big game, cornerback Kyle Sebetic had eight hits (five solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and two passes broken up. At the other corner, Matt Pfleger also had eight tackles with five solo and one pass batted away. Safety Zach Elias added eight tackles in his first career start, while fellow safety Matt Bianco had seven stops and an interception.
The Flyer scoring started in the first quarter as tight end Jordan Elmore caught a 16-yard pass from Bardo to give UD a 7-0 lead with 12:22 remaining in the first quarter. Morehead answered with a TD on the next possession, but UD's Pat Dowd blocked the PAT to keep Dayton ahead. The Flyers responded with the first of two Pat Sankovic field goals.
On its last possession of the first quarter, Morehead State drove 90 yards to take its only lead of the game. The score would remain 13-10 until UD began its string of five consecutive scoring possessions.
Dayton remains home next week, taking on Valparaiso Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.