Dayton football ends 2023 season with blowout win at Davidson

The Dayton Flyers ended the 2023 season football season dominating the Davidson Wildcats, 45-14, Saturday night at Richardson Stadium in Davidson, NC.

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Freshman running Luke Hansen ran for 162 yards while quarterback Dante Casciola passed for three touchdowns.

UD concludes the season with a 4-7 overall record, and 2-6 in the Pioneer Football League.

The Flyers took the opening kickoff and drove 68 yards on six plays. Gavin Lochow took the ball on a jet sweep from Casciola and ran 31 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

After forcing the Wildcats to punt, Dayton started their next possession on their three-yard line. They drove 97 yards on 13 plays and capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass by Cole Dow to tight end Alec Keathley to expand the advantage to 14-0.

UD’s defense stepped up on Davidson’s next two series.

Josh Anderson returned an interception 32 yards for a pick-six and the Flyers led, 21-0. Sam Mueller forced a fumble and Jerell Lewis recovered it. Dow found Hansen for a five-yard score to put Dayton ahead, 28-0, at halftime.

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The Wildcats got on the board to start the second half as Coulter Cleland threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Clarence Freeman to cut it to 28-7.

UD answered by driving 65-yards on five plays that was capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Casciola to Lochow to extend it to 35-7 after three quarters.

Will Holt opened the fourth quarter scoring with a 38-yard field goal to increase the lead to 38-7. Davidson’s Mason Sheron ran 30-yards for a touchdown to cut it 38-14. Keathley recovered the onside kick at the Wildcat 45-yard line. The Flyers ran over six minutes off the clock and Casciola found Derek Willits for his first career touchdown with 1:52 left to cap the scoring.

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The Wildcats entered the game as one of the top offensive teams in FCS football. They were No. 1 in rushing offense (313.9), second in scoring offense (42.6), and third in offense (475.1).

UD held them to 262 yards on the ground, two touchdowns, 349 yards of total offense, and also forced two turnovers. The two turnovers led to 14 points.

The Flyers ran for 215 yards as a team and had 381 yards of total offense.

With Dayton beating Davidson, Drake won the Pioneer Football League regular season title and a berth in the FCS playoffs.