Searles named PFL Player Of The Week
ST. LOUIS (UD Athletics) – University of Dayton senior cornerback Christian Searles was named Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week after for his efforts against Duquesne on Saturday.
Searles fielded six punts for 87 yards, including his second career punt return for a touchdown. The official yardage was 71 yards, but the ground he covered was close to double that. He caught the punt near the center of the field, took it outside the right hash and then cut back all the way across the field where he went down the left sideline and had to dive to get the ball inside the pylon.
Something that does not appear in the stats are the two bouncing punts he fielded to prevent the Flyers from losing field position. The returns amounted for virtually no yards, but prevented big losses in field position yardage.
Searles also returned one kickoff for 30 yards in the game.
A preseason FCS All-American, Searles is second in the PFL in both punt returns (14.7 yards per return) and kickoff returns (24.8). Nationally, he is 14th in punt returns. Although he has not had a lot of balls thrown his way on defense this season, Searles is also tied for second among active FCS players with 11 career interceptions.
This was the second consecutive week Dayton had the PFL Special Teams Player. Freshman placekicker Patrick Sandler was selected after the Southeast Missouri win.
Saturday’s 28-23 loss to Duquesne gave the Flyers a 1-2 record in the non-conference schedule. PFL action begins this Saturday, Sept. 23 at Morehead State. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET. The Flyers’ next home game is Saturday, Sept. 30, when PFL preseason favorite San Diego visits Welcome Stadium for a special 12 noon kickoff.