Nov. 1, 2011
GAME #9: The USD Toreros (4-1 PFL; 6-2), coming off a bye, play their final road game of the season at the University of Dayton (4-2 PFL; 6-3) this coming Saturday. Game time is 10:00 a.m. (PDT) at Welcome Stadium (11,000 capacity). Dayton won their third straight with a 49-10 road win at Valparaiso.
SERIES RECORD: This is 19th meeting between USD and Dayton with the Flyers owning a commanding 14-4 advantage... Dayton has won the last four meetings, including last year's 21-20 win in San Diego on October 9th... In that contest the Toreros held a 20-14 lead early in the 4th period as QB Sam Scudellari connected with TE Patrick Doyle for a 9-yard score with 13:08 to go. However, Dayton answered as QB Steve Valentino hit Anthony Papp for a 16-yard scoring play with 11:52 left for the final points of the game. Mason Mills led USD's offense (27-38 for 221 yards, 1 TD) while Loka Kanongataa paced the Torero defense (9 tackles, 2 QB hurries). USD's four wins in the series came in consecutive years between 2003-2006.
WEBCAST/VIDEO: Saturday's contest will be webcast live with Jack Cronin calling the action. Pre-game begins at 9:40 am (PDT). The audio will be streamed at www.usdtoreros.com. Click on the listen link from the USD website main page. A free video stream of the game is also available and can be found at www.DaytonFlyers.com.
PFL STANDINGS/SCHEDULE FOR NOV. 5TH: Jacksonville (5-0 PFL; 6-2), Drake (5-1; 7-2), San Diego (4-1; 6-2), Dayton (4-2; 6-3), Campbell (4-2; 5-3), Butler (2-3; 4-4), Marist (2-4; 3-6), Morehead State (1-4; 2-6), Davidson (0-5; 2-6), Valparaiso (0-5; 0-8). This week's other PFL games (times listed Eastern): Davidson at Butler (12 noon), Valparaiso at Marist (12 noon), Morehead State at Campbell (1pm), Jacksonville at Drake (2pm).
MILLS HONORED BY SAN DIEGO HALL OF CHAMPIONS: Sophomore quarterback Mason Mills (Coronado, CA) was honored by the San Diego Hall of Champions as a Star of the Month for September. The Torero quarterback (6-0, 195 lbs.) led USD to a 3-1 start and combined for 75-of-121 passing (62.0%) for 1,027 yards and 11 touchdowns. In two of the road victories Mills guided the Toreros to come-from-behind victories in the 4th quarter. He threw three 4th quarter touchdowns in USD's 42-40 season opening victory at Azusa Pacific, and this past weekend tossed four 4th quarter touchdowns in USD's 48-44 win at Morehead State. The game-winner at MSU came with just 17 seconds left in the game, a 13-yarder to freshman WR Brandon White. Against Azusa Pacific he finished 27-42 for 402 yards and 4 touchdowns. At Morehead State he was 19-31 for 312 yards and 5 touchdowns despite not coming into the game til midway through the 2nd quarter. Through four games he ranks 13th in total passing yards among all FCS players, 17th in passing efficiency, 18th in passing yards per game and 20th in total offense. During the month he earned two Pioneer Football League Offensive player of the week honors.
PFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: USD has had four players this season earn player of the week honors from the Pioneer Football League... Quarterback Mason Mills has been offensive player of the week twice (Sept. 4; Sept. 25) for his performances in road wins over Azusa Pacific and Morehead State. Junior DB Ryan Costa was tabbed a defensive player of the week (Sept. 11) following USD's home win over Western New Mexico. Blake Oliaro earned his first career honor for defense after he collected 7 solo tackles, 4 sacks and an interception in USD's 55-14 road win over Valparaiso. Sophomore Sam Hoekstra became USD's fourth player following his performance in the team's 31-24 home win over Drake that earned him Special Teams Player of the Week. His 85-yard punt return for a touchdown with 7:62 left in the game provided the game-winning score. He also added 8 receptions for 86 yards and finished with 182 all-purpose yards.
TORERO TIDBITS: Sophomore running back Kenny James leads all FCS players in all-purpose running (211.13)... His all-purpose totals are broken down by 827 yards rushing, 209 receiving and 655 in kickoff returns... His 119 yard rushing effort at Campbell was his 4th game of 100 or more yards (personal best 207 at Valparaiso)... Sophomore Sam Hoekstra continues to lead Torero receivers with 49 catches for 532 yards and 6 TDs... Mike Levine converted on a 44-yard field goal at Campbell - he is now 4-4 in field goals and 26-28 in PAT kicks... LB Zach Dunaj continues to pace the defense with 57 tackles... He is followed by Loka Kanongataa (49), Mario Kurn (38 stops; 7.5 sacks) and Blake Oliaro (37 tackles; 9.0 sacks).
SCOUTING THE DAYTON FLYERS: Dayton, with a current 3-game winning streak, returns to Welcome Stadium where they are 2-2 this season... The Flyers' three straight wins have come against Davidson (28-0), Morehead State (30-28) and Valparaiso (49-10)... In the win over the Crusaders this past weekend, RS-Freshman QB Will Bardo shared PFL offensive player of the week honors as he completed 15-of-21 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 8 rushes for 58 yards and a TD... Sophomore WR/Kick Returner Gary Hunter was tabbed the PFL special teams player of the week after he returned the second-half opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown... Season leaders include Bardo (86-189 for 981 yards, 10 TDs; 444 yards rushing and 4 TDs), RB Taylor Harris (858 yards rushing, 8 TDs), SE Luke Bellman (29 receptions for 399 yards, 3 TDs), FL Branden Johnson (22 catches for 337 yards, 2 TDs), Gary Hunter (24.3 yards per kickoff return), DE Devon Langhorst (66 tackles, 10.5 sacks/-80 yards), LB Colin Monnier (53 tackles), safety Steve Wirkus (50 tackles, 4 interceptions)... Fourth-year head coach Rick Chamberlin (34-9) has shared the PFL title the past two seasons (Butler, 2009; Jacksonville, 2010)... UD moved to Welcome Stadium in 1974 and have a combined record there of 201-42-2.
4-GAME WIN STREAK SNAPPED AT CAMPBELL: The Toreros saw their 4-game win streak in PFL play snapped back on Oct. 22nd with a 48-24 loss at the hands of Campbell in Buies Creek, North Carolina... USD opened the game with a Blake Oliaro fumble return for a touchdown on the game's second play from scrimmage, but the host Fighting Camels stormed back to take a 28-17 halftime lead... USD's other first half points came on a 44-yard field goal from Mike Levine... The Toreros were the first to score in the 2nd half as Kenny James found the endzone from 39 yards out at the 10:15 mark to pull USD within 4 points at 28-24... From there it was all Campbell as QB Braden Smith connected with Jordan Cramer for a 12-yard score, then added 4th quarter TD runs of 1 and 52 yards... For the game Smith finished with 87 yards rushing and 3 TDs on the ground while also completing 16-29 passes for 175 yards and 1 TD... The Torero offense was hurt by six interceptions in the turnover department... One bright spot was RB Kenny James who finished with 119 yards and 1 TD on 21 carries... Mario Kurn and Zach Dunaj paced the defense with 10 stops each.
KURN ON PRESEASON WATCH LISTS/ALL-AMERICA SQUADS: Senior defensive end Mario Kurn (Encinitas, CA), a unanimous All-PFL first team pick, is on numerous 2011 preseason All-America teams and Watch lists... Kurn, who led all FCS players in quarterback sacks (17) in 2010, is on both the Buck Buchanan Award Watch list and the Ted Hendricks Award Watch list... He was sixth in the voting for the Buchanan Award last season while finishing with 66 tackles, 37 solo stops, and 27 tackles for loss... Additionally, he has been named to The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason All-America Team, the College Sporting News Preseason FCS All-America Team, the 2011 FCS Senior Scout Bowl Preseason All-America Football Team, and to Phil Steele's Preseason FCS All-America Second Team. Last year Kurn did the bulk of his work in the opponent's backfield where he posted a PFL-leading 2.45 tackles for loss per game, including a league-leading 1.55 sacks per outing. Through eight games in the 2011 season, Kurn now has 29.5 career sacks, and ranks second to all-time Torero leader Eric Bakhtiari (35, 2005-07).
UP NEXT FOR THE TOREROS: The Toreros close out the 2011 season with back-to-back home games against Marist (Nov. 12th, 1pm) and Jacksonville (Nov. 19th, 1pm).