Rensselaer, Ind. - David Macchi passed for a single-game school-record 434 yards, but Valpo lost to Saint Joseph's 54-43. A junior from San Jose, Cal./West Valley College, Macchi shattered the previous mark of 388 yards set by Scott Lange against Butler in 1983.
Macchi, who completed 18 of 32 passes for two touchdowns, helped three Crusader receivers surpass the 100-yard plateau. Senior tight end Greg Sommersberger (Sheboygan, Wis./South) established career highs with six receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown. Rob Giancola, a sophomore wide receiver, added four catches for a game-high 135 yards, and freshman Kevin Knutson (River Falls, Wis./HS) amassed 104 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown, on two receptions. Matt Van Daele ran for two touchdowns for the Crusaders. Valpo (0-4) outgained Saint Joseph's 592-405.
The Pumas (3-2) held the lead the entire game, building a 20-0 advantage in the first quarter. Marlin Murphy, who led all rushers with 141 yards, scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 58-yard run 1:58 into the game. Lewis Scott, who threw two touchdown passes, connected with Asa McLaughlin on a 42-yard score with 9:54 left in the quarter. After Scott scampered in from 1-yard, Saint Joseph's failed to convert a two-point rush attempt.
The Crusaders responded with an eight-play, 91-yard drive that culminated with Bryan Hollermeier's four-yard run with 2:18 left in the first stanza. A big play on the drive was a 66-yard pass from Macchi to Giancola, who dragged a plethora of Puma defenders 20 yards after the catch. Macchi and Sommersberger closed the deficit to 20-14 with a five-yard scoring pass exactly seven minutes into the second quarter.
However, the Pumas answered with some trickery as wide receiver McLaughlin found Justin Long for a 33-yard touchdown pass to increase their lead to 27-14 with over six minutes remaining before halftime.
Giancola then hauled in a 49-yard pass from Macchi to set up a 1-yard scoring run by Macchi with 4:30 remaining. Saint Joseph's produced two key touchdowns during a 2:43 span. Josh Dull ran for a 30-yard score and McLaughlin caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Scott as the Pumas claimed a 41-21 halftime advantage.
Murphy, who averaged 12.8 yards on 11 carries, began the third-quarter scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run. Valpo answered with 14 straight points as Knutson turned a Macchi aerial into an 88-yard touchdown and Van Daele went up the middle for a 12-yard score. Karl Jackson added a 25-yard touchdown run before Van Daele plunged in from 1 yard to conclude the scoring.
Valpo had 21 first downs to 19 for Saint Joseph's. The Pumas outrushed the Crusaders 279-158. Chris Daniels led the Crusaders with 51 rushing yards on 11 carries. Saint Joseph's intercepted two Valpo passes. Kevin Rivera led Valpo with nine tackles and Brandon Sturman added eight.
The 434 passing yards is also a team single-game record for Valpo and the 43 points are the most scored in a losing game by a Valpo team.
Valpo completes a three-game road stretch and opens the Pioneer Football League season at Drake next Saturday (Oct. 5) beginning at 1 p.m. CT.