UD Flyers play top football, too

Sure, I could take you on a nostalgia trip back to the late 1950s and early 1960s when my brothers and I would walk the six blocks to Capital University in the Columbus suburb of Bexley to watch the Crusaders play what amounted to Division III football at old Bernlohr Stadium.

They used to boo public address announcements of Ohio State scores there, maybe because they never read Capital scores at OSU games.

My feeling here is you’d rather read about Ohio State, or even the Bengals.

They aren’t this week’s subjects, either.

We’re going with Dayton football—which I’d compare to those old Capital teams—and how much fun you’ll have if you go to one or more UD games.

Those short walks those many years ago weren’t just about finding a seat up close at a ridiculously low price and not having to fight through traffic jams that took up half the day.

They were about watching the game, seeing the plays develop, hearing the grunts and groans of the players, the quarterback shouting out signals, the coaches giving orders, the referees blowing whistles.

I’m not going to leave out the popcorn.

It’s something like that at UD, where the non-scholarship program plays a competitive schedule, the sight lines are magnificent, the crowds manageable. As for the football, you’d be surprised.

I’m not going to tell you Dayton recruits the same players Ohio State does, but Dayton has players. The Flyers have to go back to 2006 to find a losing record and to 1976 to find another one.

The last coach, Mike Kelly, is in the College Football Hall of Fame with a 246-54-1 record. Rick Chamberlin, the current coach, was 10-2 last year and won seven of those games in the final quarter.

They did it with players who have football ability and won’t bore you with a plethora of mistakes.

“They don’t fit that physical box a lot of those [big] schools go after,” Chamberlin said. “The size, the speed, the weight. Those sorts of things. It doesn’t mean they’re not good football players; it just means their physical stature doesn’t meet what they need at Ohio State.”

“We end up with those young men an inch too short, 10 pounds too light, a 10th of a second slower. It’s not any different in their football skills. All those skills you see in a major school, you’re going to see in our players. And there a lot of good coaches out there. They can’t all be at Ohio State.”

I know, you’re thinking all the greatest players are at Ohio State, and all the best football is played there.

If you sat in a film room and ran the tapes side-by-side, you would notice the difference. You notice the difference between OSU’s first team and second team now.

But if you go to a UD game, you’re not going to be comparing the two programs. You’re going so you can be entertained, and that’s certainly going to happen.

Dayton has two home games remaining—October 29 vs. Stetson and November 5 vs. Valparaiso. Both games begin at 1 p.m. Ohio State hosts Northwestern at 5:30 and Nebraska at 8 p.m. on those dates.

There’s even a good trip game you can enjoy at Butler (in nearby Indianapolis) on October 22, also at 1 p.m.

OK, what about the pageantry of an OSU game with the marching band, the teams running out of the south towers of the Horseshoe, and some of the 100,000 people blocking your view—which you can review on the giant video screen.

Well, UD has a band, an exciting opening run onto the field—and a replay screen.

Except you’ll be so close to the action, you may not need the replay. You’ll be sitting so close, you’ll see plays you only get to see on replay in the big stadiums.

You want big plays? You think because Ohio State has bigger players they make bigger plays?

“You are not going to notice that at all,” Chamberlin said. “You’re going to see execution of football skills.”

“You’re not going to say, ‘Oh, boy, he’s only 190 pounds out there.’ You won’t be able to tell the difference between our players and big-time players until they’re standing side by side. And they’re not going to be standing side by side.”

“We make those catches. Are we going to be able to do it every game? Nobody does. In 2010, Steve Valentino threw a ball 50 yards in the air and Luke Bellman goes up and snatches it in the end zone [an official 37-yard play] with a defensive back right on him against Drake.”

One second remained on the clock as UD won.

“That’s a great play, a pressure play,” Chamberlin said.

Anybody who loves football, especially college football, needs to go to an Ohio State game at some point. Almost every year it seems the Buckeyes are in the hunt for a National Championship.

If you miss a game, there are multiple ways for you to hit a replay button and see everything you want.

Dayton has won National Championships at its level, as well, but that’s not the point. If you want to see a college football game played at a high level, make sure you visit Welcome Stadium when the Flyers are playing.

The popcorn’s good, too.

The views and opinions expressed in On Your Marc are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

Columbus-born Marc Katz had a 44-year newspaper career, 41 of those years covering sports, 40 of them at the Dayton Daily News. He now blogs at katzcopsnsports.com. Reach Dayton City Paper sports writer Marc Katz at MarcKatz@daytoncitypaper.com.

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Columbus-born Marc Katz had a 44-year newspaper career, 41 of those years covering sports, 40 of them at the Dayton Daily News. He now blogs at KatzCopsNSports.com. Reach Dayton City Paper sports writer Marc Katz at MarcKatz@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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