MOREHEAD, Ky. – Morehead State football opened its 2017 Pioneer Football League slate in electrifying fashion, beating Dayton 34-28 on Saturday afternoon at Jayne Stadium. The Eagles' record improves to 2-2 on the season, dropping the Flyers to 1-3 (0-1 PFL).
"For us to play that type of game versus a team that was the preseason pick to win the conference, it's a pretty special win," said MSU head coach Rob Tenyer. "From a confidence standpoint, there's nothing better."
Morehead State jumped out to a 7-0 lead just over two minutes after the opening whistle, connecting on a 38-yard pass from Lawson Page to Jarin Higginbotham. Dayton answered back with a 78-yard drive on the very next possession, bringing the first quarter to a 7-7 deadlock.
The Flyers would go on to score three straight touchdowns in the second, giving Dayton a 21-7 lead by halftime. Page found senior slot receiver Christian Robinson 52 yards downfield for the only score of the third quarter, and after a missed extra point attempt, Morehead State entered the final period trailing 21-13.
It was in the fourth quarter that the Eagles' comeback effort truly shined, outscoring the Flyers 21-7. Down 28-26 with under one minute remaining, Page threw to Robinson for the duo's second touchdown of over 50 yards. Dayton answered back with a drive all the way down to the Eagles' 17, but the MSU defense held steady as time expired.
"I felt that ball was in the air forever," Tenyer said of the game-winning score. "We had a good play and one of our best players out there going after the football."
Page led the Eagles with 309 yards and four touchdowns on 24-for-37 passing. Dayton quarterback Kyle Kaparos finished with 163 yards, one touchdown, and an interception in a 13-for-23 performance. The Columbus, Ohio native also logged a one-yard touchdown on the ground.
Robinson tied a Morehead State school record with three receiving touchdowns, ending his day with eight catches for 149 yards. Higginbotham also eclipsed the century mark, grabbing seven catches for 105 yards and one touchdown. Logan Holbrook led the Eagles' rushing attack, amassing 77 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Saturday's win marks Morehead State's' first victory over Dayton since 2008, opening PFL play in winning fashion for the third time in four seasons. The Eagles travel to Campbell next Saturday, taking on the Camels at 2 p.m. ET.
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