The Pioneer Football League Report: Week 9

Monday, October 21, 2019
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

All 10 PFL teams will be involved in league action this weekend and will be for each of the five weeks remaining in the regular season. Co-leader Drake returns to action after its off week with a pivotal road trip to a surging Morehead State that has won back-to-back games and sits only a game behind the co-leaders. San Diego, the league’s other co-leader, treks cross country for its own key test at Dayton in a matchup of perennial PFL powers that pits a 3-0 Toreros side against a 2-1 Flyers squad. Davidson and Stetson, also sitting at 2-1 in league play, look to follow up big Week 8 wins while avoiding potential traps as the Wildcats host Marist while the Hatters travel to Valparaiso. Meanwhile, Jacksonville travels to Butler with both squads seeking their first PFL win.

All times Eastern. 


San Diego at Dayton, Noon
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Stadium: Welcome Stadium
Series: DAY leads, 16-10    Streak: SAN, three wins
Previously: San Diego def. Dayton, 36-34 (2018)

Jacksonville at Butler, 1 p.m.
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Stadium: Selllick Bowl
Series: JAC leads, 9-3    Streak: JAC, one win
Previously: Jacksonville def. Butler, 48-44 (2018)

Marist at Davidson, 1 p.m.
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
Stadium: Tenney Stadium
Series: MAR leads, 10-1    Streak: MAR, eight wins
Previously: Marist def. Davidson, 48-41 in 2OT (2018)

Stetson at Valparaiso, 1 p.m.
Broadcast: ESPN+
Location: Valparaiso, Indiana
Stadium: Brown Field
Series: Series tied, 2-2    Streak: STE, one win
Previously: Stetson def. Valparaiso, 45-31 (2018)

Morehead State at Drake, 2 p.m.
Location: Morehead, Kentucky
Stadium: Jayne Stadium
Series: DRA leads, 9-3    Streak: DRA, two wins
Previously: Drake def. Morehead State, 43-6 (2018)


San Diego at Dayton, Noon
Annually one of the most watched fixtures on the PFL calendar, the contest between San Diego and Dayton again will have an impact on the race for the championship. San Diego is one of the league’s co-leaders at 3-0 and will look to stay there against a Dayton squad that is right behind the co-leaders with a 2-1 record. Offensively, these two teams are as evenly matched as can be with Dayton holding a slight edge in yardage (470.3-462.7) in their first three league outings. However, the difference emerges on defense where the top-ranked Toreros defense (268.7 ypg) holds a sizeable edge over the Flyers defensive unit (451.7 ypg). TORERO TO WATCH: Dayton has been susceptible to the run in its first three PFL outings but will San Diego running back Emilio Martinez, who has just 281 rushing yards in 2019 – 115 of those coming against nationally-ranked UC Davis – be able to take advantage? FLYER TO WATCH: San Diego’s defense has not allowed a touchdown by air in its first three PFL contests and intercepted six passes, enter Dayton quarterback Jack Cook whose 12 TD to 1 INT ratio is second only to Reid Sinnett, the Toreros’ quarterback.

Jacksonville at Butler, 1 p.m.
Jacksonville and Butler each enter their Week 9 contest seeking a PFL win that has proven elusive in 2019. Jacksonville has had the misfortune of playing three of the league’s 2-1 squads in its first three outings. Butler has fared no better in its early schedule, facing one of the PFL’s co-leaders and two of the league’s 2-1 teams. Both the Dolphins and Bulldogs have faced Morehead State in the last two weeks: Jacksonville seeing a fourth-quarter lead evaporate in a 30-22 Week 7 loss while Butler was within four points in the fourth quarter before falling by a 31-20 margin last week. DOLPHIN TO WATCH: In its Week 8 loss to Davidson, Jacksonville was held under 100 rushing yards for the first time this season but mostly due to a season-low 26 team carries that was half its previous low. Quarterback Calvin Turner Jr. will look to return to his season averages: his 137 carries (19.6 per game) averaging 5.3 yards each (103.6 yards per game). BULLDOG TO WATCH: Brad Sznajder was a true utility man in last week’s loss to Morehead State. He finished with 90 rushing yards, 20 yards receiving, passed for 43 yards (2-of-2 passing) and even tossed in a 41-yard punt return for good measure. Sznajder leads Butler with 642 all-purpose yards in 2019. 

Marist at Davidson, 1 p.m.
Marist, who has played one of the PFL’s toughest schedule so far in 2019, receives no respite from its early slog when it travels to face a Davidson squad that is 2-1 in league play. The Red Foxes have faced PFL co-leaders Drake and San Diego and Ivy League co-leader Dartmouth in their last three outings, each a loss. The Wildcats bounced back from a Week 7 loss to co-leader San Diego with a decisive victory at Jacksonville last week as it posted a season-best 521 rushing yards. Both Marist and Davidson have faced San Diego in 2019: Marist dropping a 31-7 decision at home in Week 6 while Davidson fell on the road by a 37-17 margin. RED FOX TO WATCH: On a relatively quiet day for the Marist offense against Dartmouth, wide receiver and return specialist Dwayne Menders kept setting up the offense with good field position. He posted 98 combined kick return yards, 26 on one punt return and 72 yards on four kick returns, and finished with 122 all-purpose yards. WILDCAT TO WATCH: Davidson showed off the full depth of its run attack against Jacksonville last week, with 12 Wildcats runners combined for 73 carries and 525 yards. Running back Wesley Dugger was the league’s Offensive Player of the Week (193 yards), averaging 8.8 yards on his 22 carries.

Stetson at Valparaiso, 1 p.m.
Winners of their last four games, Stetson hits the road for only the second time in 2019 when it travels to Valparaiso. The Hatters only other road trip this season was the scene of their only PFL loss, a narrow 26-23 defeat at Marist. Valparaiso, who joins Marist with the PFL’s toughest schedule so far in 2019, returns home to face another of the league’s early challengers for the championship. Keeping with the common opponent theme, both Stetson and Valparaiso have square off against Dayton this season. The Hatters enjoyed their first-ever win against the Flyers with a 38-21 victory last week. The Crusaders enjoyed their best offensive outing of 2019 in a 41-28 loss to Dayton in Week 7. HATTER TO WATCH: Freshman running back Jalen Leary broke out in a big way against Dayton, posting a program-record 220 rushing yards on 19 carries. That after he rushed for 352 yards in his first five games at Stetson. His 220-yard outing is the best by a PFL runner and most by an FCS freshman in 2019. CRUSADER TO WATCH: Quarterback Chris Duncan is slowly returning to form in 2019, posting 516 offensive yards in his last two outings after missing back-to-back games. He ran for two scores against San Diego last week and is responsible for four of Valparaiso’s six touchdowns in its last two games.

Morehead State at Drake, 2 p.m.
Fresh off its off week, Drake returns to PFL play finding that its tied for the league lead at 3-0. The Bulldogs will look to fend off a surging Morehead State squad that has won its last two outings and moved to 2-1 in league play. Drake has surged since entering PFL play and enters this week’s matchup as the league’s top-ranked scoring offense (39.3 ppg) and its top-ranked scoring defense (10.0 ppg) through three league outings. Morehead State also has made the most of its PFL run, scoring 30 or more points in all three contests and holding its last two foes to 22 points or less. EAGLE TO WATCH: Three-time PFL Defensive Player of the Week Vaughn Taylor Jr. ranks ninth among FCS defenders with 12.5 total tackles for loss through seven games in 2019, including 5.5 sacks (22nd in the FCS). He has 7.0 TFL in three PFL games this season. BULLDOG TO WATCH: Freshman quarterback Ian Corwin has hit his stride in PFL play, passing for nine touchdowns against one interception and ranks second in pass efficiency rating (175.7) in league action only through three games.

Complete news and notes available in PDF version

There are few things that can challenge the longevity of Dayton’s scoring streak, which stands at 482 games entering this weekend. However, Rick Chamberlin’s tenure as a Flyer surpasses even that streak. When he takes up his position on the sideline against San Diego this weekend it will be his 500th appearance as a Flyer. He played 45 as an All-American linebacker, then 326 games as an assistant coach under College Football Hall of Fame coach Mike Kelly, before taking over for his mentor and coaching the last 129  games as Dayton’s head coach.

With its win against Valparaiso in Week 8, San Diego’s extended its PFL win streak to 32 games. It is the third longest conference win streak in FCS history. It trails a 39-game win streak by Duquesne in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Association (1999-06) and a 36-game win streak by Jacksonville State of the Ohio Valley Conference (2013-18).

Five Pioneer Football League student-athletes were named as semifinalists for the 2019 William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Mazada and The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. The five PFL student-athletes recognized as semifinalists were: Brad Sznajder, Butler; Ethan Steinbacher, Davidson; Tim Simon, Dayton; Andrew McElroy, Marist; and Gaven DeFilippo, Stetson.  That quintet joins a group that now includes 82 PFL student-athletes who have been named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, or its predecessor the Draddy Trophy, since 1998.

Davidson linebacker George Hatalowich was named to the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Sept. 12.  As the founder and current president of Davidson Football Uplifting Athletes, George has been responsible for raising more than $25,000 to benefit the rare disease community. George has also taken the Davidson Chapter a step further to engage with local patients, families and caregivers through the Uplifting Athletes Bowling event, which allows the families the opportunity to bowl alongside the football team. The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be invited to the 2020 Allstate® Sugar Bowl® and will join Tebow and Allstate volunteers to give back to New Orleans through a special community service project. Allstate will recognize the team during the halftime show. Fans are invited to visit to vote for the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team captain once per day, now through Nov. 22. The team captain will be honored at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN later this season.

Valparaiso is set to celebrate its 100-year history over the course of the campaign by recognizing and celebrating individuals and teams from select eras at four games this season. The Crusaders have won 11 conference championships, including six in the Indiana Collegiate Conference and two in the Pioneer Football League. Valparaiso will retire the numbers of two University legends at the Homecoming game on Sept. 28 at Brown Field. Garry Puetz ’73 and Fuzzy Thurston ’56 (posthumous) will become the first players in program history to have their numbers retired.

The nation’s longest streak of games without being shutout belongs to Dayton, which extended its streak to 48 games with its win at Robert Morris. That streak includes 285 games as an FCS member that is second among active FCS-only streaks. Montana holds the FCS-only longest streak without being shutout at 398 games which dates back to 1989. On the FBS side, Florida holds that subdivision’s longest streak of games without being shutout at 391, dating back to the 1988 season. Meanwhile, the Flyers streak dates back to 1976 when it suffered a 9-0 loss to Marshall.