Strong First Half Propels Davidson past Valpo
Saturday, October 19, 2002
Valparaiso, Ind. - Valpo's David Macchi passed for 305 yards and three touchdowns, but Davidson defeated the Crusaders 49-32. Davidson quarterback Paul Nichols threw for 293 yards and four touchdowns, including two to tight end Mike Chase.

Rob Giancola caught two touchdown passes for Valpo. Kevin Knutson led the Crusaders with eight receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown. Macchi completed 27 of 49 passes and Nichols completed 22 of 37 aerials. Davidson's Barrett Johnson led all receivers with nine catches for 126 yards and one score.

The Wildcats took advantage of three first-half Valpo turnovers to lead 35-13 at halftime. The Wildcats grabbed a 7-0 lead when Raleigh Robinson returned a fumble six yards for a touchdown 14 seconds into the game. Davidson struck again five minutes later when Damion White rushed for a 10-yard score.

Christian Hunt, who rushed for 129 yards on 29 carries, increased the lead to 21-0 with a 1-yard plunge with four minutes left in the first quarter. Valpo (0-7) got on the scoreboard with 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter when Macchi connected with Giancola for a 15-yard touchdown.

Davidson (4-3) responded with another touchdown when Nichols threw a 7-yard pass to Johnson early in the second quarter. The Crusaders cut their deficit to 28-13 with a 9-yard pass from Macchi to Ryan Barno with 8:24 left before halftime. The Wildcats completed the first-half scoring with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Nichols to Hunt.

Valpo, which outscored Davidson 19-14 in the second half, scored first in the third quarter when Giancola hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Macchi. Nearly six minutes later, Chase scored the first of his two touchdowns, a 20-yard pass from Nichols. Chase, who caught four passes for 62 yards, added a 22-yard touchdown reception from Nichols to extend the advantage to 49-20.

The Crusaders scored all of the fourth-quarter points when Joe Milazzo rushed for a 1-yard score and Knutson snagged an 8-yard touchdown pass from Milazzo.

Valpo's defense made two interceptions, one each by Lawrence Canada and John Tsahas. Jake Burkart and Tsahas topped Valpo with eight tackles each. Jim Carney led Davidson with eight stops. Adam Elmore intercepted two passes for the Wildcats.

Davidson amassed 466 total yards to 361 for Valpo. The Wildcats rushed for 173 yards to 48 for the Crusaders. The first-down battle was almost even as Davidson had 28 to Valpo's 26.

The Crusaders travel to California to play San Diego next Saturday at 9 p.m. CST (7 p.m. PDT).