The Dayton Flyers normally like their chances in a defensive duel, but they couldn’t make enough plays when it counted Saturday at Welcome Stadium, losing to Campbell 17-7.
The first half was dominated by two guys neither team really wanted in the spotlight. Punters Sean Smith and Brad Dennis combined to kick it away on nine straight possessions.
Dayton (2-5, 1-3) had the best chance to score in the final seconds of the first half, but freshman kicker Allen Waltz hit the crossbar from 45 yards, sending the teams to halftime in a scoreless tie.
Campbell (5-2, 4-0) moved down the field on the opening drive of the second half and quarterback Daniel Smith found Aaron Blockmon for a 20-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
Dayton came right back to get even on a 14-play, 71-yard drive highlighted by Tucker Yinger’s 16-yard run that ended with the senior going head-over-heels and landing short of the goal line.
On the next play, H-back Alex Kenner pushed his way into the end zone for the tying score, extending the Flyers’ string of not being shutout to 461 games.
The visitors responded with a drive that appeared to be capped by a 42-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Jaquan Brooks.
The Camels receiver started celebrating a bit too soon and Flyers senior Christian Searles knocked the ball out at the 1-yard line. Dayton recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
Campbell grabbed the lead for good early in the fourth quarter when Smith and Blockmon hooked up on a 38-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-7.
Dayton picked up 24 first downs but penalties and dropped passes once again plagued the Flyers.
Alex Jeske had two passes intercepted in the final five minutes, one that bounced off a defensive lineman and another that went through the hands of a receiver near the goal line.
“I don’t feel like we got dominated,” Flyers coach Rick Chamberlin said. “We just beat ourselves today and the score shows that.”
The Flyers haven’t lost four PFL games since 2011. They need to run the table the final four games to avoid a losing record for the first time since 2006.
“Our players are embarrassed right now,” Chamberlin said. “Embarrassed of how things are going for us. I’m sure they will work hard this week to make sure we’re playing Flyer football, which we really haven’t done too many times this year.”
Dayton is at Davidson next Saturday for a 1 p.m. start.