Game #6: Saturday, Oct. 7, 12 p.m. CDT
Valpo (2-3, 1-2 PFL) at Saint Joseph's (Ind.) (3-2, 1-0 GLFC)
Alumni Stadium (4,000 - Grass), Rensselaer, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso begins its longest road trip of the season this weekend as the Crusaders travel down the road to Rensselaer, Ind. to battler region rival Saint Joseph's on Saturday afternoon. The contest is the first of three straight the Brown and Gold will play away from Brown Field.
On the Air: For the second straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2006. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso), WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso), Relevant Radio 1270-AM (WWCA, Gary), and WE-FM (95.9-FM, Michigan City). Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play with Josh Weinhold adding the color commentary.
Series Notes: Valpo and Saint Joseph's are meeting each other for the 61st time on the gridiron with the Pumas holding a slight 30-28-2 advantage all-time. The series began in 1921 as Valpo recorded a 52-0 victory over Saint Joseph's at home. The Pumas have won the last two meetings between the schools, including last year's 34-21 win at Brown Field. In the last meeting in Rensselaer, the Pumas posted a 54-43 victory back in 2002.
Scouting Saint Joseph's: The Pumas are 3-2 on the season after snapping a two-game losing skid last Saturday with a 38-24 victory over Missouri-Rolla on the road. Saint Joseph's has split a pair of home games thus far this season. Quarterback Anthony Lindsay has completed 64.5% of his passes this season (118-of-183) for 1416 yards and 11 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions. Dan Paulsen has been the main receiver with 35 grabs for 103.4 yards per game. Defensively, Ethan Tyler leads the Pumas with 40 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, has forced three fumbles, and intercepted another pass.
Last Week: First half touchdown runs by John Popper and Ross Wiemer along with a field goal by Mike Krieg gave Valpo a 17-14 lead at halftime, but Jacksonville scored 20 unanswered points in the third quarter on the way to a 34-17 victory over the Crusaders to spoil Homecoming at Valparaiso. Popper had 72 yards on the ground while Steve Ogden had four catches for 90 yards.
Ogden Leads All Division I-AA in Receiving: Steve Ogden has been the Crusaders go-to receiver most of the season and his numbers back that up. His 121.0 receiving yards per game lead all of NCAA Division I-AA in that category. He is 3.75 yards per game ahead of Akilah Lacey of Idaho State. Ogden has had at least 80 yards receiving in all five games, and had a career-high 202 yards in the season opener at Wisconsin Lutheran.
Crusaders Tops in Kickoff Returns: Valparaiso leads the Pioneer Football League and is 10th in all of I-AA football in kickoff returns this season, averaging 24.8 yards per return. Kyle Himmelwright has returned 13 kicks for a 26.4 yard average to lead the way.
Krieg Nearly Automatic on PAT Attempts: For a redshirt-freshman, Mike Krieg has been nearly perfect on point after touchdown attempts this season. He is 18-of-19 on the season through five games.
Getting in the Backfield: Valpo is averaging 5.6 tackles for loss per game on the season, having registered 28 stops behind the line of scrimmage on the season. Jimmy Riker leads the way with 3.5 tackles while Ryan Koepke, Sean Dillon, and Bryan Kuehn have 3.0 each.
Spreading the Wealth: Ryan Doerffler utilized a variety of receivers last Saturday against Jacksonville as six players made a total of 18 catches. John Popper had six grabs to lead the way while Ben Faulkner had five more.
Protecting the Quarterback: Valpo's offensive line, despite entering the season young and inexperienced, has done a solid job of pass protecting. The Crusaders have allowed just four sacks on the season, and rushers have been stopped in the backfield just 19 times in five games.
Looking to Continue Success on the Road: The Crusaders have won both games away from Brown Field this season, and have posted victories in three straight road contests dating back to last season. In fact, Valpo has won four of its last five while travelling.
Ogden Nearing Career Leaders in Receiving: Steve Ogden is just 232 yards receiving away from moving into Valpo's career top-ten list. The redshirt sophomore has 1,050 yards in a year and a half, and trails Matt Junia (1998-1999) for tenth place. This season, he has 26 catches for 605 yards and six scores.
Good Work Gets Rewarded: Ryan Koepke has been recognized for his efforts in the community, having been named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He has been active with many different service organizations, including a mission trip to Guatemala where he helped provide medical care and nutrition to the local residents. He also has worked at Camp Watcha Wanna Do for children who are cancer patients or survivors as well as helped lead Valpo's football team into various elementary schools to read to the students.
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish seventh in the ?restructured" Pioneer Football League this season. The PFL moved to one division this season, with the league champion facing the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic.
Krieg Earns PFL Honors in Week One: Mike Krieg was named the Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week following the Wisconsin Lutheran game for a perfect performance in his collegiate debut. The redshirt freshman kicker was a perfect 7-of-7 on extra point attempts while adding a 25-yard field goal in the victory.
Horton Sets School Rushing Record: Senior running back Jeff Horton set a new school career rushing record at Wisconsin Lutheran. Horton surpassed Joe Pahr's (1949-1951) 50-year old rushing mark of 2,326 yards. Horton now has 2,429 career rushing yards.
Horton Ties Valpo Single Game Touchdown Mark: Jeff Horton found the end zone four times in the Crusaders' season opener at Wisconsin Lutheran, tying Valpo's school record for touchdowns in a game. The mark, originally set by Paul Naumann at DePauw on October 20, 1956, has now been tied six times during the history of Valpo football.
Horton Named Preseason I-AA Mid-Major All-America Selection: Valpo running back Jeff Horton has been named a Division I-AA Mid-Major Preseason All-American by both Don Hansen's Football Gazette and The Sport's Network. Horton set Valpo's single season rushing record in 2005 with 1,358 yards.