DAYTON, Ohio – Behind three second-half touchdown runs by sophomore running back Sean Prophit, the Red team defeated the White Team 24-7 Sunday afternoon at Welcome Stadium. The game was the final event of the University of Dayton’s spring practice season, but it was hardly just the game.
As is the tradition at UD’s Spring Game, the next season’s team captains were announced at the pre-game coin flip. Rising redshirt senior linebacker Jack Crain, rising senior quarterback Alex Jeske, and rising senior defensive end Nick Surges were named 2017 team captains. Team captains are voted on by the team after the last spring practice, and results are kept secret until Sunday’s coin flip.
Crain has played in every game for the last three years (34 games) for the Flyers. In that time he has accumulated 216 tackles, including a career high of 105 in 2015. This success led Crain to a be a Second Team All-PFL Selection in 2016 as well as earning two First Team Academic All-PFL honors.
Speaking of academics, Crain is a two-time winner of UD’s John L. Macbeth Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award. The Macbeth award goes to the member of the team with the highest GPA who has completed at least four semesters.
Jeske was the recipient of the UD’s 2016 White-Allen Most Valuable Player Trophy. The Flyer signal caller was a dual-threat weapon on offense in in his second season as a starter, leading the Flyers in rushing yards (676), passing yards (1,936), and touchdowns (29).
These numbers helped Jeske finish lead the PFL in touchdowns responsible for (29), fourth in total offense in the league (2,623), and second in scoring (90 points). Jeske was Second-Team All-PFL. In addition, Jeske was named First Team Academic All-PFL for the second straight season last year.
Surges was also Second Team All-PFL and Second Team Academic All-PFL in 2016. He led the Flyers in sacks (8.5), QB hurries (8, tied) and fumbles forced (2). He was also second in tackles for loss (12.0). Among returnees, he was third in tackles (46).
All three captains hail from the Chicago suburbs. Crain is from Lisle, Jeske is from Glen Ellyn, and Surges is from Naperville. Crain and Surge were high school teammates at Benet Academy, while Jeske played at Glenbard South.
Just before the opening kickoff, the coaches’ choice for special teams captain was also announced. Christian Searles, who is also an all-league cornerback, was named. Searles is a senior who was First Team All-PFL as a return specialist in 2015. He also is from Chicago, and played his high school ball at Mt. Carmel.
Once the game got started the defenses held sway in the first half, as the only scoring was a 37-yard field goal by Mike Ruffolo to give the Red Team a 3-0 lead at the break. Coach Rick Chamberlin noted that the offenses found their rhythm in the second half, when all four of the game’s touchdowns were scored.
Sophomore Sean Prophit pushed Red’s advantage up to 10-0 with a short run on fourth down, but Kyle Kaparos found Markus Hurd from 17 yards out to make it 10-7. Prophit added two more scores to give Red the 24-7 win. A highlight on the White side were two interceptions by sophomore safety Tim Simon.
Following the game, the members of the 2017 recruiting class in attendance were paired with their “Big Brother.” Each incoming freshman is paired with an upperclassman who helps them adjust to college football heading into their first season on campus.
“It was a really good way to wrap up our spring,” head coach Rick Chamberlin said. “We’ve had a competitive spring, and we had some good plays on both sides today.”
“We wanted our upperclassmen to develop consistency on a daily basis during our spring practices and I think we did that. We’re not ready to play a game by any stretch. We need to improve in a lot of areas. But what we accomplished this spring puts us in a good position to have a good summer and be ready when camp starts in the fall.”
UD opens the season on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Robert Morris. The Flyers open at home against Southeast Missouri State on Saturday, Sept. 9. Game time is 1 p.m. ET.