DAYTON, Ohio – The University of Dayton football team came back from a 22-10 halftime deficit to beat the Butler Bulldogs 27-22 Saturday in Dayton.
The halftime margin could have been larger, but Flyer safety Tim Simon intercepted a Butler pass in the end zone on the last play of the first half, after the Bulldogs had a first-and-goal from the eight-yard line.
UD scored 10 points in the third quarter to make it a two-point game, and then began the fourth by stopping a fake field goal try to get the ball at its own 29. The Flyers drove 71 yards in nine plays to take the lead when QB Alex Jeske threw out of a short-yardage formation to tight end Adam Trautman from the two.
Dayton led 27-22, but Butler would have the ball two more times. Both were ended by interceptions. Christian Searles went high for a contested pick at midfield to end the first possession. UD converted a third-and-nine but the play as wiped out by an illegal formation penalty. Sean Smith’s punt from the Butler 43 put the ball at the 14 with 4:50 left in the game.
The Bulldogs methodically moved down the field, using 13 plays to penetrate to the Dayton 26 with 54 seconds to go. Linebacker Jack Crain nearly had a diving interception on first down, and then safety David Leisring came up with the pick that ended the threat. One knee later, Dayton had a hard-fought 27-22 win.
Dayton improves to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in the Pioneer Football League. Butler had a three-game winning streak snapped, falling to 5-4 and 3-3 in the PFL.
· Jeske was UD’s top ground gainer, with 11 carries for 69 yards with one TD. He was also 13 of 27 passing for 172 yards and a TD.
· Tucker Yinger took 13 handoffs for 64 yards and a touchdown. After having one attempts for zero yards in the first quarter, 59 of his yards came in the second and third quarters.
· The 13 completions were spread among seven Flyers. Adam Trautman (3 for 31), Ryan Skibinski (2 for 54) and Jack Euritt (2 for 52) led the way.
· Simon, in his first career start, led UD with 12 tackles (7 solo) with an interception and a pass broken up.
· Leisring had 11 hits, with all but one by himself. He also had the game-ending interception.
· Other Dayton defenders with at least five tackles were Kevin Maloney (8, with a QBH), Jason Balogh (7, with a PBU), Jack Crain (6 with a PBU), Christian Searles (5, 4 solo and a PBU), Nick Surges (5, with 2 QBH) and Andrew Lutgens (5, with a PBU and a blocked PAT).
· Smith averaged 43.0 yards per punt on three punts. He averaged over 50 yards on his first two punts, but his third punt was a 28-yarder that gave Butler the long field on its last possession.
· Searles returned five kickoffs for an average of 21.2 yards, against the coverage team that went into the game leading the PFL with a 17.0 yards allowed average.
· Jeske is 21-4 as a starter.
· Yinger is now ninth in career rushing at UD with 2,005 yards.
· Searles started his 35th career game. He has started the last 32 in a row.
· Trautman has led UD in receptions seven times in nine games this season.
· The Flyers have blocked six kicks this season, second in the FCS football.
· Dayton has won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
· UD has won the last four meetings in the Butler series.
· Butler came into the game leading the PFL in turnover margin (+10) but turned it over three times in the game, while Dayton finished with a clean sheet.
· The Flyers have scored in 463 consecutive games, the best active string in college football.
· The Flyers remain home for Senior Day when the Marist Red Foxes come to town on Saturday, Nov. 4. Game time is 1:00 p.m. ET.
· Dayton’s 19 seniors and their families will be recognized before the game. At halftime, one of them will be named the 2017 winner of the Lt. Andy Zulli Memorial Award, a character-driven honor that is considered the most prestigious in the UD football program.
· The Marist game is also Military Appreciation Day.