The cheering from University of Dayton players after they found out their first-round matchup in the FCS playoffs was at a crescendo when the announcer on the telecast might as well have kicked them in the seat of the pants and out the door. "The man said that we would be one-and-done because we're nonscholarship," coach Rick Chamberlin said.
Western Illinois at Dayton
Noon Saturday in Dayton
Records -- Western Illinois 6-5; Dayton 10-1
Last meeting -- First meeting
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The cheering from University of Dayton players after they found out their first-round matchup in the FCS playoffs was at a crescendo when the announcer on the telecast might as well have kicked them in the seat of the pants and out the door.
"The man said that we would be one-and-done because we're nonscholarship," coach Rick Chamberlin said.
Even before kickoff today in Welcome Stadium, Dayton trails Western Illinois 63-0. That's the number of athletic scholarships the Leathernecks spread among their players, to none for the Flyers.
Dayton players receive financial aid only through academic performance and need.
Chamberlin, who played for the Flyers from 1975 to '78 and was an assistant for 28 years until becoming head coach eight seasons ago, said the nonscholarship route has allowed the university to have a football team.
Through the 1977 season, Dayton struggled playing in Division I against the likes of Miami University, Bowling Green, Toledo, Marshall and Cincinnati.
The economics also didn't work. Rather than drop the sport, as Xavier did, Dayton entered Division III in 1978. The Flyers won national championships in 1980 and '89 and were runners-up in '81, '87 and '91.
But there was deep resentment from universities in the division. With an enrollment of 6,500, Dayton was double the size of its opponents in most cases.
"That's when the NCAA came out with what a lot of people called the 'Dayton rule' in 1993," Chamberlin said. "Universities couldn't have a Division I basketball team and Division III football team. It had to be one or the other. Division I nonscholarship has worked for us. The framework is just like Division III."
The Flyers have won 13 championships in the nonscholarship Pioneer Football League. The NCAA has awarded the conference an automatic bid into the FCS playoffs since 2013.
Chamberlin said Western Illinois is a heavy favorite.
"The only difference in our players is they might be an inch or 2 inches shorter or 20 pounds lighter from getting a full ride somewhere else," Chamberlin said. "We tell our recruits that they will still be getting a Division I experience with our university, facilities, travel and support."
Dayton didn't have to put a hard sell on running back Tucker Yinger of DeSales. His brother, Mitch, was a cornerback for the Flyers. The mechanical engineering school also attracted him.
"I wasn't heavily recruited by scholarship teams," Yinger said. "I talked to some MAC and Ivy League teams, but there wasn't anything there. This is a good fit for me."
The merit scholarship aid that Yinger receives, however, is nowhere close to the university's yearly tuition of almost $40,000.
Still, Yinger is making the most of it. The redshirt freshman has run for all but 16 of his 652 yards in the past seven games, after taking over for injured senior Connor Kacsor. Yinger realizes the Flyers' task against Western Illinois.
"It is surreal to make the playoffs for the first time," he said. "You could say that we are at a deficit. That gives us extra motivation."
* * *Other Ohio games
Albright (10-1) at Mount Union (11-0)
NOON, ALLIANCE, OHIO
The skinny -- Quarterback Taurice Scott and running back Logan Nemeth have excelled for top-ranked Mount Union, but the team's strength could be its defense. Safety Alex Kocheff is a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, which is the NCAA Division III version of the Heisman Trophy. Tom Lally is regarded as the best lineman in the division hands down. He has 141/2 sacks. Mount Union should have few problems with Albright, which is in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. That season ended with a 55-3 loss to Mount Union.
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Ohio Northern (9-2) at Wis.-Oshkosh (10-1)
1 P.M., OSHKOSH, WIS.
The skinny -- The Polar Bears reached the second round by rallying from a 16-0 halftime deficit to defeat Franklin 27-22 in a snowstorm. Ricardo Johnson threw for 190 yards and Justin Magazine ran for 153. For third-seeded Oshkosh, quarterback Brett Kasper threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-0 romp over St. Scholastica last week. Ohio Northern has lost two of its past three second-round games.