The University of Dayton football team celebrated Senior Day by handing Drake its first league loss Saturday at Welcome Stadium, knocking off the Bulldogs 28-13.
The Dayton defense held Drake to 260 yards in total offense, well under its average of 422.5, and the 'Dogs' 13 points were 16 under their average. Drake came into the game having allowed just 12 sacks in nine games, but UD had four along with five quarterback hurries. The defensive tone was set early when defensive end Pat Dowd sacked Drake QB Mike Piatkowski for a 14-yard loss on Drake's first play from scrimmage. Dowd had 1.5 sacks on the day. UD held Drake to just 17 yards rushing.
Safety Ben Welsh led UD with 11 tackles. Linebacker Colin Monnier added 10 with an interception. Safety Zach Elias, in his first career start, had seven and forced a fumble and cornerback Kyle Sebetic had six tackles, four solo hits, three passes broken up and a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Offensively, Dan Jacob had 17 carries for 68 yards with two TD's. Forty-one of those yards came on Dayton's final drive that protected an eight-point lead by keeping the potent Drake offense off the field for eight minutes and 19 seconds. Will Bardo completed 13 of 24 passes for 166 yards. Ross Smith caught six of those passes for 65 yards.
The Flyers took the opening kickoff and drove 77 yards to take a 7-0 lead with Jacob taking it in from the two. UD looked to add that with a field goal in the second quarter, but Drake blocked the field goal, recovered it at its own four and then drove 96 yards for a game-tying TD.
On the second play of the second half, Sebetic gave the lead back to Dayton with a 32-yard interception return. The Flyer defense bent, but didn't break, holding the Bulldogs to a pair of extended drives that ended in field goals to make the score Dayton 14, Drake 13 with 14:16 left in the game.
And that's when UD took over on both sides of the ball. The Flyers put the game away with extended touchdown drives of 68 and 67 yards. A Robert Washington three-yard run put the Flyers up by eight with 12:12 to go, and then after Dayton forced a punt, UD put the game on Jacob's back.
Twenty-seven seniors were honored in pre-game ceremonies, and slot receiver Robert Strong, who caught two passes for 31 yards in the contest, was named the winner of the Lt. Andy Zulli Memorial Trophy at halftime.
The Flyers improved to 5-5 overall, and 4-3 in the Pioneer Football League. Drake fell to 6-3 and 5-1. Dayton finishes the season at Marist next week.