Valparaiso, Ind. - Bryan Hollermeier rushed for a career-high 102 yards and one touchdown, and Valpo's defense limited Lindenwood to 206 total yards as the Crusaders won their first game of the season 27-6. Valpo (1-9) exploded early, scoring touchdowns on its first four possessions to grab a 27-0 lead in the first quarter.
After the Crusaders forced Lindenwood (1-9) to punt after three plays, David Macchi completed a four-play, 62-yard drive with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Rob Giancola. A sophomore, Giancola made five receptions for 114 yards.
Following another three-play Lindenwood possession, Giancola hauled in a 21-yard pass from Macchi. Hollermeier then raced 31 yards for his fourth touchdown of the season to give Valpo a 13-0 lead. Lindenwood blocked the extra point.
Valpo's defense, which limited the Lions to 30 rushing yards in the first half, forced another punt. Macchi, who completed his first five passes, found Giancola who made an acrobatic 41-yard catch. The junior quarterback followed with a 9-yard completion to Ryan Barno. Two plays later, Macchi connected with Kevin Knutson for an 18-yard touchdown aerial to increase the advantage to 20-0.
Once again, the Crusaders' defense stopped Lindenwood on three plays. Macchi, who has passed for a Valpo single-season record 2,973 yards, demonstrated his ability to run by scampering around defenders for a 43-yard touchdown.
Lindenwood, a member of the NAIA, scored its only points on a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown by Calvin Hatcher. The extra point was blocked by John Tsahas as Valpo held a 27-6 halftime lead.
Neither team scored in the second half. Lindenwood advanced to the Valpo 21-yard line in the third quarter, but its scoring opportunity was thwarted when Nick Hausmann and Kris Hardaway combined on a fourth-down sack. Valpo's defense also stopped Lindenwood at the Crusaders' 3-yard line when Sherwin Ellis' fumble was recovered by Hardaway.
Valpo made two other takeaways as Adam Oas made his first career interception and Brandon Sturman forced a fumble that was recovered by Bryan Bandy.
The Crusaders outgained Lindenwood 366-206 and won the first-down battle 19-13. Valpo outpassed the Lions 194 yards to 95 and outrushed Lindenwood 172-111. Macchi completed 11 of 25 passes for 194 yards. He also rushed for 53 yards on nine carries. Knutson made four receptions for 49 yards. Valpo punter Ryan Bateman booted six times for a 41.3-yard average. Lindenwood's Frank McGinty completed seven of 19 passes for 71 yards and Ellis led the Lions with 58 yards on 20 attempts.
Lawrence Canada led the Crusaders' defense with 14 tackles, including three for losses and a half sack. Hardaway added eight stops, including one for a loss and a half sack. Tsahas was involved in five tackles, including three for losses and a half sack. Andrew Critchell made seven tackles, Hausmann had six tackles (one for a loss and a half sack) and Brandon Sturman recorded one sack and four tackles.
Valpo hosts Austin Peay next Saturday (Nov. 16) at noon in the season finale.