Still scoreless, Dayton fights to the finish
For the Nevada Appeal
RENO — Dayton played third-string quarterback Dylan Torgerson down 33-0 at Wooster on Friday.
Blake Fletcher left the game with a neck injury and backup quarterback Tayton Watson exited after taking a big hit on a pass play in the fourth quarter.
“They just told me to go to the air and try to move the ball down there,” said Torgerson, who usually plays at linebacker and running back. “It’s my first year ever playing quarterback.”
For Dayton, the last drive meant more than racking up stats at the end of the game. The Dust Devils still seek their first points on the season.
In the final minute, Torgerson picked up a fourth down play at Wooster’s 32-yard line after moving to his left and lobbing a pass to receiver Jesse Schmidt that barely cleared a charging Wooster defender. But the drive ended on downs, the closest Dayton got to Wooster’s end zone all night at the Colts 29-yard line. Wooster seized the 33-0 home victory.
“He just is a real coachable kid and he doesn’t want to quit,” Dayton head coach Tom Eck said of Torgerson.
Wooster (3-5, 2-5 in Division 1A) dominated on the ground in the first half, but struggled in the second half. The Colts rushed for 184 yards, led by running back Chosen Gbenjo and quarterback Connor Doolin.
Doolin became Wooster’s starting quarterback last week, replacing Hunter Triplett, because of “internal reasons,” Wooster head coach Vince Johnson said. Johnson declined to explain those reasons.
Doolin ended 8-for-17 with 102 yards and 2 touchdowns, which included a 54-yard touchdown pass to receiver Alex Malcolm with 8 minutes left in the second quarter.
“You got to give it to Dayton,” Johnson said. “They played really well up front. They kind of stymied our run game a little. I thought we would be able to run the ball better against them but we didn’t.”
While Dayton’s offensive line performed better than it has all season, the Dust Devils still struggled on offense. When Dayton (0-8, 0-7) grabbed its best starting field position in the first half after Wooster fumbled a punt at midfield halfway through the second quarter, Dayton turned the ball over after Fletcher fumbled.
On third down and long, Fletcher rolled to his right, stopped to pass, but was blindsided by Wooster linebacker Romeo Okorie in one of the bigger hits of the night. It was one of many hits on Dayton quarterbacks in the game.
“They’re tough kids,” Torgerson said of Wooster. “They really hit hard.”
Eck said Dayton’s performance in the trenches on both sides of the ball, along with the team’s defensive performance in the second half — only allowing six points in the final two quarters — was the best he’s seen all year.
“That absolutely was the best half of defense on the season,” Eck said. “We mixed and matched on the line (because of injuries). I though Prescott Jones really stepped up at defensive end. He did a great job. I loved the effort in the second half from the offensive line. We’re hobbled. We have guys playing out of position. I was really happy with the way they responded.”
But it was another shutout for the Dayton offense, which has now been outscored 372-0 this season. The Dust Devils 33-0 loss at Wooster was the team’s closest outcome on the season.