Game #7: Saturday, Oct. 13, 1 p.m. CDT
Butler (4-2, 0-2 PFL)
at Valpo (3-3, 0-2 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - Grass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: The Battle for the Hoosier Helmet will take place Saturday at Brown Field as Valparaiso entertains Butler with both schools looking for their first Pioneer Football League victory of the season. The Crusaders are looking to move back above the .500 mark for the season as well.
On the Air: For the third straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2007. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso), WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso), 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: Butler leads the overall series 42-23 with the Crusaders following a 32-10 victory last year in Indianapolis in the inaugural Battle for the Hoosier Helmet. Valpo has played Butler more than any other school in its history dating back to the 1927 season when the Bulldogs posted a 58-0 victory in Valparaiso. The Crusaders have won five of the last six meetings between the two schools at Brown Field, including a 31-26 win in the last game in Valpo on November 6, 2004.
Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs had their best start since the 1991 season, going 4-0 during non-conference action before dropping their first two PFL games of the season. Butler is coming off of a 37-19 loss at Drake last Saturday and is playing five of its last six games of the year away from the Butler Bowl. Running back Scott Gray has found the end zone 12 times in six games this season to lead the Bulldog offensive attack. He has 391 yards rushing on the year. Quarterback T.J. Brown is 100-of-174 for 1,001 yards and five touchdowns in the air with Nate Miller on the receiving end of 27 passes for 336 yards. Defensively, Derek Guggenberger has 40 tackles, including five for loss while Tadd Dombart has made three interceptions.
Last Week: Valparaiso battled Mid-Major #1 San Diego to the final whistle before falling 41-27 at Brown Field. The Crusaders led after one and trailed by just seven midway through the fourth. John Popper ran a kickoff back for a touchdown in addition to a rushing score while Ross Weimer added another touchdown on the ground. Valpo rushed for 281 yards in the game on the way to 377 yards of total offense.
Popper Named PFL Special Teams Player of the Week: John Popper was named the Pioneer Football League Player of the Week on October 8 following his performance against San Diego. Popper returned seven kickoffs for 213 yards, including a 96-yarder for a touchdown. He also had nine carries for 75 yards and a rushing score.
Ogden Among Valpo’s Top-5 All-Time in Receiving: Steve Ogden has moved into fifth place on Valpo’s career receiving list with 1,666 yards, passing Bert Bleke’s total of 1,636 from 1964-1966 after catching four passes for 51 yards against San Diego. Kevin Knutson (2001-2004) ranks fourth all-time with 2,308 yards.
Crusaders Among Nation’s Top Defenses: Valparaiso currently ranks 11th in NCAA Division I-FCS in total defense and is eighth in rushing defense. The Crusaders currently are allowing just 90.7 yards per game on the ground and 257.3 yards per game total.
Koepke Surpasses 150 Career Tackles: With 11 stops last week against San Diego, Ryan Koepke now has a team-leading 46 stops this season. He has 154 career tackles in two-and-a-half years on the field.
Van Aartsen Finds the Range: Dan Van Aartsen has made his last five field goal attempts, including a pair against San Diego, since missing his first collegiate try. The freshman kicker had a career long 44 yards earlier this season against Drake.
Horton Holds School Rushing Record, Surpasses 3,000 Yards: Fifth-year senior running back Jeff Horton became Valparaiso’s all-time leading rusher last season, passing Joe Pahr (1949-1951). This year, Horton has become the first Crusader in history to surpass 3,000 yards in a career, doing so at Drake. He has 3,015 career yards.
Horton Fourth on All-Time Scoring List: Jeff Horton has 182 career points moving him into third place all-time in a Crusader uniform past Ozzie Young (1991-1995). Horton needs 60 more points for the school record. Rob Giancola (2000-2004) is the school record-holder with 242 points while Joe Pahr (1949-1951) is second eight points behind Giancola.
Horton Has 100-Yard Games: For his career, Jeff Horton has rushed for more than 100 yards 12 times, tied for 11th among all active players in NCAA I-FCS. Horton has three 100+ rushing days this season.
Valpo Controls the Clock: The Crusaders are averaging more than five minutes more with the ball than their opponents this year, with an average of 32:51 per game compared with the opposition’s 27:09.
Crusaders Set School Rushing Record in Opener: Valparaiso broke a 53-year old single game rushing record with 389 yards on the ground in the season opener against Saint Francis (Ill.). The Crusaders carried the ball 59 times in the game, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Valpo’s previous best rushing day was at DePauw on October 16, 1954 when the Crusaders tallied 387 yards.
Good Work Gets Rewarded for Watkins: Matt Watkins has been recognized for his efforts in the community, having been named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He has participated in "Read for Fun Day" activities at Central Elementary School, helped raise money and walked in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life as well as participating in the Merrillville Diabetes Walk.
Himmelwright and Dillon Earn Player of the Week Honors: Kyle Himmelwright was named the Pioneer Football League’s Defensive Player of the Week on September 17 following his play at Kalamazoo while Sean Dillon earned the honor on October 1 following the Drake game.
Valpo Picked Eighth in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish eighth place in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the head coaches. The PFL champion will face the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic at year’s end.