College Football: Dayton Flyers storm back to bounce Butler

The Dayton Flyers saved their best for last at Welcome Stadium on Saturday, rallying from a double-digit deficit at halftime to hold off Butler 27-22.

Senior safety David Leisring intercepted a pass at the Dayton 12-yard line as the Bulldogs were driving for the go-ahead points in the final minute.

Dayton (4-5, 3-3) kept Butler (5-4, 3-3) off the scoreboard in the second half.

The halftime deficit of 22-10 would have been larger had safety Tim Simon not picked off a pass in the end zone in the final seconds of the second quarter, sending the Flyers into the locker room with a little momentum.

“The first half we made so many mistakes on offense, defense, and against a good team like Butler they were going to make you pay for it,” Flyers coach Rick Chamberlin said.

Dayton made some adjustments at halftime and the offense scored the first three times it had the ball in the third quarter.

The Flyers drove to the Butler 1 on their first possession of the second half, but a couple of penalties stalled the drive and Dayton settled for a 32-yard field goal from Allen Waltz.

After Butler went three and out, the offense needed six plays to go 72 yards for a touchdown. Tucker Yinger ran it in from 13 yards out to make it 22-20.

Dayton got it back on downs after Butler botched a field-goal try, and quarterback Alex Jeske went to work through the air.

The redshirt junior hit Jack Euritt over the middle for a 41-yard catch-and-run that took the ball down to the Butler 15.

Four plays later Jeske lobbed a 2-yard TD pass to Alex Trautman to give Dayton a 27-22 lead with 9:20 to play.

Butler got the ball two more times, but both drives ended in interceptions.

Christian Searles picked off a pass near midfield with 7:50 left to play before Leisring ended it with Dayton’s third interception of the day in the final minute.

“I’m a defensive guy and I want our defense out there,” Chamberlin said. “I want to prove we can stop you no matter what you throw at us, and fortunate enough today we were able to do that.”

The Flyers posted back-to-back wins for the first time this season, keeping alive their goal of a winning campaign. Dayton has had one losing season in the last 40 years.

The Flyers are back at Welcome Stadium next Saturday for their home finale against Marist.