Game #8: Saturday, Oct. 21, 12 p.m. CDT
Valpo (2-5, 1-3 PFL) at Butler (2-5, 1-3 PFL)
Butler Bowl (2,500 - Field Turf), Indianapolis, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valpo continues its storied tradition with instate rival Butler on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders and Bulldogs meet for the 65th time on the gridiron. The Brown and Gold is looking to snap a four-game losing streak.
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 has met Butler more times than any other opponent as the Crusaders and Bulldogs meet for the 65th time on Saturday in a series that dates back to the 1927 season. Butler holds a 41-23 edge all-time between the two schools. The Crusaders have won the last two meetings between the two schools, including last year's 34-21 triumph in Indianapolis.
Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs enter this weekend even with the Crusaders in the Pioneer Football League standings after back-to-back losses the past two Saturdays. Last week, Butler dropped a 29-0 decision at home against Drake. T.J. Brown leads the Bulldogs offensively, throwing for 1,122 yards on 118-of-230 passing (51.3%). The quarterback has also thrown for six scores. Nate Miller has been a favorite target of Brown, catching 40 passes for 338 yards. Brian Holthause is the team's leading rusher with 220 yards on 72 carries. On defense, Mike Marzotto leads the way with 53 tackles, including six for loss. He also has two sacks and has forced a fumble.
Last Week: San Diego ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown and scored 28 first quarter points on the way to a 68-7 victory over the Crusaders out in California. John Popper caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Doerffler for Valpo's lone score early in the second quarter. The Toreros racked up 569 yards of total offense while Valpo managed just 220 for the game. Bryan Kuehn led the way defensively with seven tackles for the Brown and Gold.
Ogden Among Division I-AA Receiving Leaders: Steve Ogden remains among the nation's best receivers, ranking sixth in all of I-AA in receiving yards per game. The redshirt-sophomore has 698 total yards, a 99.7 yard per game average.
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 21-of-22 on the season and his 21 makes better Valpo's total from all of 2005.
Curry Records First Career Pick: Anthony Curry recorded his first career interception at San Diego to stop a potential Torero scoring drive. The freshman picked the pass off at the two, and returned it 28 yards out to the Valpo 30. The interception was just the third thrown all season by San Diego.
Popper Runs, Catches the Ball: John Popper caught his first collegiate touchdown pass last Saturday, his third score on the season. The freshman running back has now caught 17 passes for 129 yards to go along with his 82 carries for 355 yards. The 484 all purpose yards by Popper are third most on the Valpo roster.
Riker Leads PFL Linemen in Tackles: Jimmy Riker leads all Pioneer Football League defensive linemen in tackles, bringing down 34 ball carries. The senior also has 3.5 tackles for loss and three pass break ups on the year to go along with two fumble recoveries.
Ogden Nearing Career Leaders in Receiving: Steve Ogden is just 139 receiving yards away from moving into Valpo's career top-ten list. The redshirt sophomore has 1,143 yards in a year and a half, and trails Matt Junia (1998-1999) for tenth place. This season, he has 35 catches for 698 yards and six scores.
Sharing the Wealth: Nine different Crusaders have found the end zone for the Brown and Gold this season for a total of 22 touchdowns. The 22 touchdowns are one shy of the season total for Valpo in 2005.
Crusaders Remain Active in the Community: Valpo's football team continues to give back to the local community. Friday, October 20, members of the team will walk with the Central Elementary School Striders. This is a group of fourth and fifth graders that walk during their lunch hour to help promote healthy lifestyles.
Offensive Line Continues to Hold Up: Despite Valpo graduating a majority of its offensive line following the 2005 season, the new group of linemen have been solid for the Brown and Gold, especially in pass blocking. Crusader quarterbacks have been sacked just eight times in the first seven games.
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.