Chattanooga, TN (Sports Network) -
Coming off a season where it won a share of the Pioneer Football League championship, captured the Gridiron Classic and went 11-1, Dayton was honored as the winner of the 2007 Sports Network Cup.
The award is emblematic of the top FCS mid-major program. The Flyers captured all 30 first-place votes and 300 points in the final balloting of sports information directors and selected media members.
Veteran Dayton coach Mike Kelly was on hand to accept the trophy at the 21st annual Sports Network Awards dinner at the Chattanooga Marriott. Kelly previously led the Flyers to the Sports Network Cup in 2002.
"It is certainly an honor for our team to be recognized as the national champions, and to receive the Sports Network Cup for this accomplishment," said Kelly. "We have been fortunate to have had a number of successful seasons over the years, and the 2007 season ranks as one of the real special ones."
After going an uncharacteristic 4-6 last season for their first losing season since 1976, the Flyers recovered to put together a remarkable year. Ranked just ninth in the preseason top-10 poll, Dayton steadily rose and took over the No. 1 spot on Oct. 29 following a 35-16 victory over previously top-ranked San Diego.
Among the highlights for the Flyers was a 31-24 victory over Fordham on Sept. 22. Fordham went on to win the Patriot League championship and play in the NCAA Division I Football playoffs.
Dayton dropped its only game on Sept. 29, losing to Morehead State, 42-35, in the PFL opener for both schools, but the Flyers rebounded to win their final seven contests. They clinched a share of the PFL title on Nov. 10 with a 34-27 victory over Drake.
The Flyers capped off the season with a 42-21 win against No. 3 Albany in the second annual Gridiron Classic, which matches the champions of the PFL and the Northeast Conference.
Dayton finished the season ranked first nationally in sacks (four per game), second in rushing defense (allowing just 75.4 yards per game), fourth in total defense (271.5 yards), fourth in scoring defense (15.6 points) and seventh in tackles for loss.
The Flyers were also strong offensively, ranking fifth in passing (299.5yards), sixth in scoring (38.8 points) and ninth in total offense (452.8yards).