Game #9: Saturday, Nov. 8, 1 p.m. CDT
Jacksonville (6-3, 4-1 PFL)
at Valpo (2-6, 1-4 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - ProGrass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: After being on the road for the past two weeks, the Valparaiso Crusaders return to Brown Field on Saturday afternoon to entertain Jacksonville in Pioneer Football League action. Saturday’s game is part of Parents’ Weekend on the Valparaiso University campus.
On the Air: For the fourth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2008. 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 David Schroeder adding the color commentary. The game can also be heard online at www.valpoathletics.com.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Jacksonville have split the all-time series 2-2 dating back to 2003. Each school has won one game on each other’s field. Last year, in a wild game in Jacksonville, Valparaiso rallied from a 27-17 deficit midway through the fourth quarter to post a 29-27 victory. Mozale McHenry’s two-yard touchdown run with 1:45 remaining proved to be the difference.
Scouting Jacksonville: The Dolphins have won four straight games following a 45-9 victory at Butler last Saturday, and have moved within one game of first place in the PFL. Jacksonville has the league’s top offense averaging 412.6 yards per game, and averages a league-best 21.2 first downs per game as well. Rudell Small is the top rusher in the league, averaging 102.2 yards per game on the ground. With 920 yards rushing on the season, he is just 80 shy of the 1,000-yard mark. Quarterback Josh McGregor set the school’s single season touchdown record with 21 on the year. Shaun Lewis leads the defense with 7.0 sacks this season and 12.0 tackles for loss.
Wrapping Up Morehead State: Valparaiso scored first on a 20-yard touchdown run by Ross Wiemer, but Morehead State responded with 31 unanswered points on the way to a 44-10 victory over the Crusaders last Saturday in Morehead, Ky. David Hamaker added a 42-yard field goal for the Brown and Gold while Jerrod Pendleton rushed for three touchdowns for the Eagles. Morehead State had 437 yards of total offense compared with Valpo’s 233 for the game.
Kozey an ARA Sportsmanship Award Finalist: Senior Ryan Kozey is one of 10 finalists nationally for the ARA Sportsmanship Award that recognizes an athlete’s character and leadership as it translates to sportsmanship. Kozey, an offensive tackle and team captain, is a civil engineering major on the Dean’s list who has helped with fund-raising for diabetes, AIDS, and cancer. The award recipient will be announced in December.
Curry Shares League Lead in Interceptions: Anthony Curry continues to share the interception lead in the PFL with Donte’ Washington of Campbell. He has five total picks in 2008.
Offense Comes Out of the Gates Quick: Valparaiso has scored on its first drive of the game in five of the eight contests this season. On four occasions the Crusaders have found the end zone, while settling for a field goal on the fifth.
Secrest Boots Career Long: Mitch Secrest recorded a career-long 68-yard punt last week against Morehead State that was downed inside the Eagles’ 15-yard line. The junior is averaging 35.7 yards per kick this season, two yards longer than his career average entering the season.
Skiba’s First Kick Goes for a Touchback: Kicking off in his first game after becoming eligible, Andrej Skiba had a touchback and another kickoff sail to the goal line against Morehead State.
Wiemer Among League Rushing Leaders for PFL’s Top Ground Team: Ross Wiemer ranks third in the Pioneer Football League in rushing averaging 72.8 yards per game this season to help lead the Crusaders. As a team, Valpo leads the PFL with 164.2 yards per game on the ground. Wiemer has 582 net yards on the ground, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He has found the end zone eight times this season, and has 13 career touchdowns.
Creating Turnovers: Valpo is +7 in turnover margin thus far this season after intercepting 12 passes and recovering seven fumbles, and the margin is tied for the top spot in the PFL. The +0.88 takeaways per game ranks 14th nationally among all NCAA I-FCS schools.
Arnold Seventh in Total Offense: Senior quarterback Warren Arnold has moved past Rob Rayl (1990-1993) into fifth place on Valpo’s total offense list for a career. Arnold now has 4,153 yards combined rushing and passing. Dave Lass (1962-1964) is fourth all-time with 4,416 yards, 263 in front of Arnold.
Jeffers Has First Career Carries: After switching to running back from defensive back this season, Darien Jeffers had his first two collegiate carries for 13 yards against Morehead State last Saturday.
Popper League’s Top All-Purpose Runner: John Popper leads the PFL averaging 128.5 all-purpose yards per game. He has rushed for 155, has 724 in kickoff returns, and another 119 yards in punt returns this season in addition to 30 yards receiving.
Ogden Fourth All-Time in Receiving: Steve Ogden has moved into fourth place on Valpo’s career receiving list with 2,339 yards, passing Kevin Knutson’s (2001-2004) fourth place total of 2,308 for a career. He is still nearly 500 yards shy of Dan Bogar’s (1981-1984) third place total of 2,816 yards.
PFL Weekly Honors: Valparaiso was the recipient of all three Pioneer Football League Player of the Week honors following the Davidson game on October 11. Ross Wiemer earned Offensive accolades while Anthony Curry was the Defensive Player of the Week. David Hamaker grabbed the Special Teams award after accounting for 11 points.
Arnold to Move Into Eight All-Time in Passing: Warren Arnold sits in eighth place all-time passing at Valparaiso with 2,958 yards. Most recently he moved past Noel Schlegelmilch (1957-1960) and Cortie Wilson (1977-1979) on the all-time list. Arnold is 605 yards shy of Gordon Helms (1953-1955) seventh place mark of 3,563 yards.
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish in a tie for seventh place in the PFL according to the head coaches. San Diego was selected to win the league.