Valparaiso, Ind. - David Macchi connected with Rob Giancola on three touchdown passes, but Valpo lost to Austin Peay 28-24 in the season finale for both teams. Macchi broke Valpo's single-season record for passing touchdowns with 21, eclipsing Scott Lange's previous mark set in 1983, and tied Lange's single-season completion mark of 212 established in 1983. With 32 completions, Macchi also surpassed Lange's single-game mark of 29 against Franklin in 1984. Giancola tied the school's single-season record (Dan Bogar, 1984; Mike Healey, 1985) with 11 touchdown receptions.
Austin Peay overcame a 24-21 deficit when Jay Bailey ran for a two-yard touchdown with 1:48 remaining. Valpo (1-10) broke a 21-21 tie on Ryan Bateman's 30-yard field goal with 4:34 left.
The Crusaders trailed 21-14 in the fourth quarter until Macchi found Giancola in the end zone for a 41-yard score. Giancola, a sophomore from Whiting, Ind./HS, made a career-high nine receptions for 125 yards. Macchi, a junior from San Jose, Cal./West Valley College, completed a record 32 of 54 passes for 353 yards with no interceptions. Earlier this season, Macchi broke Valpo's single-season record for passing yards and finished the campaign with 3,326.
Bailey, who entered the game as the NCAA I-AA's leading rusher with 142 yards per game, led all rushers with 118 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Bryan Hollermeier, who rushed for a career-high 102 yards in last Saturday's win over Lindenwood, led the Crusaders with 90 yards on 22 attempts.
Macchi added 56 rushing yards on 12 carries.
In the first half, Valpo was the first to put points on the scoreboard when Giancola caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Macchi with 9:38 left in the first quarter to complete a 10-play, 68-yard drive. The Governors, who completed their first winning season since 1984, tied the score at 7-7 on Bailey's 3-yard run in the second quarter. Austin Peay grabbed a 14-7 lead with 4:25 remaining in the half when Matt Schmitz threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Trae Willis.
Quea Williams, who complemented Bailey's yardage with 57 yards on 10 carries, gave the Governors a 21-14 lead with a six-yard scoring run for the lone points of the third quarter.
Valpo outgained Austin Peay 526-318 and had 29 first downs to 16 for the Governors. The yardage disparity was bolstered by Valpo's 353 passing yards to 147 for Austin Peay. The Crusaders also held a slight edge in rushing yards with 173 to Austin Peay's 171. Three lost fumbles hurt Valpo, which had one interception by John Tsahas.
Ryan Barno caught six passes for 77 yards for Valpo and Hollermeier made five receptions for 41 yards. Brad Smeja added four catches for 40 yards.
Defensively, Valpo was led by Lawrence Canada and Tsahas with seven tackles each. Tsahas also blocked a punt. Adam DaSilva added six tackles.
Valpo broke the single-season mark for total yards with 4,388, eclipsing the previous mark of 3,965 set in 1996. The Crusaders also set a single-season team record with a completion percentage of 53.6, surpassing the 1996 team's mark of 51.9. The Crusaders also set a single-season team record with 24 passing touchdowns, breaking the mark of 22 held by the 1983 and 1985 squads.
Prior to the game, Valpo recognized seven seniors who played their final collegiate game. Offensive guard Tom Byrne played his Valpo-record 44th consecutive game.