DAYTON — Behind a record-setting performance by senior running back Connor Kacsor, the University of Dayton Flyer football team beat the Georgetown Hoyas 23-14 Saturday afternoon at Welcome Stadium in UD’s season opener.
Kacsor became the first Dayton runner to gain more than 300 yards in a single game, carrying the ball a career-high 34 times for 301 yards with one touchdown. Kacsor eclipsed Jermaine Bailey’s old mark by 50 yards. After being held to just 14 yards in the first quarter, Kacsor exploded for 279 over the next three periods behind a line that returned just two starters from last season.
It was Kacsor’s sixth 100+ yard rushing performance in his last seven games. It is also the second-highest single-game effort in Pioneer Football League history. Sean Bennett ran for 313 for Evansville in 1996.
Quarterback Will Bardo was 19 of 33 for 176 yards passing, with a touchdown and an interception. Gabe Macis (63 yards) and Branden Johnson (61) each caught six balls. Ross Smith added three for 33 yards.
Placekicker William Will provided what ended up being the nine-point winning margin with his three field goals. The first, which were the first points of the game, came on a 49-yard FG that was the longest field goal by a Dayton kicker in 30 years.
The Dayton defense held Georgetown to a three-and-out to start the game, setting up Will’s 49-yard field goal. Will added his second “trey” from 31 yards at the end of Dayton’s first possession of the second quarter.
Georgetown got on the board with its longest drive of the day, holding the ball over eight minutes on a 14-play, 69-yard scoring drive that end with Daniel Wright taking it in from the one. The PAT gave the Hoyas a 7-6 lead, but Dayton grabbed the advantage back for good less than a minute-and-a-half later.
UD drove 75 yards on just four plays, thanks to Kacsor busting loose for a 43-yard TD run. In fact, Kacsor accounted for 67 of the yards on the drive on carries of 13 yards and 11 yards on the first two plays.
Dayton took the second half kickoff and quickly drove into Hoya territory, but a fumble at the GU 31 turned the ball over. After grabbing the ball, Georgetown also grabbed the momentum, driving for a potential go-ahead score until the Flyer defense stopped the Hoyas on fourth-and-one at the UD 23.
The Flyers answered with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Bardo to Johnson, at the end of an eight-play, 77-yard drive to make the score 20-7.
Dayton held the Hoyas to another three-and-out, but that was followed by another drive into Georgetown territory ended by a turnover, and again GU turned that into a touchdown drive (Kyle Nolan to Justin Hill from five yards) that made it Dayton 20, Georgetown 14.
The Flyers were up to the challenge, keeping the ball for nearly seven minutes, and adding Will’s third field goal of the day to give UD a 23-14 edge and make it a two-score game with 7:08 left in the game.
Georgetown did not cross the 50 from that point, and the Hoyas fell to 0-2 on the season.