VALPARAISO (5-3, 2-0 PFL) vs. DRAKE (4-4, 1-1 PFL)
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 25 - 1 p.m. CDT
WHERE: Brown Field, Valparaiso, Indiana
RADIO: 95.1 (WVUR-FM) - Ed Schillinger and Andrew Stem announcing. Brad Spata - sidelines.
TV: (tape-delay) - Comcast Cable - Channel 43 in Valparaiso - Dick Harlan and Bill Koch announcing.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Tom Horne, who is 59-94-1 in his 15th season at Valpo. Drake is led by Rob Ash, who is 98-53-2 in his 15th season at Drake.
SERIES RECORD: Drake leads 8-2
LAST MEETING: 2002 - Drake won 52-35
LAST WEEK: Valpo defeated San Diego 41-34 last Saturday in Valparaiso. Drake defeated Butler 24-7 last Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
VALPO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Valpo Players of the Week as selected by the coaching staff: Offense: Rob Giancola, junior wide receiver; Defense: Bill Marshall, sophomore end; Special Teams: Jake Feit, sophomore long snapper; Offensive Scout: Chris Turnblom, sophomore guard; Defensive Scout: Michael Montgomery, freshman defensive back.
WHAT'S NEXT: Valpo is idle Nov. 1. The Crusaders travel to play at Butler Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. EST.
With two straight PFL North victories, Valpo (5-3, 2-0 PFL North) will host Drake on Parents' Day this Saturday with the chance to clinch a share of the division title. The Crusaders defeated San Diego 41-34 last Saturday and are the only unbeaten team in the division. Drake (4-4, 1-1) bested Butler 24-7 last weekend. Adding even more significance to the day will be the recognition of 12 seniors prior to the game. These seniors include Ryan Barno, Ryan Bateman, Lawrence Canada, Nick Hausmann, Andy Horne, Jay Klika, Casey Liddle, David Macchi, Paul Montgomery, Adam Oas, John Tsahas and Jeffrey Vlk. The contest is Valpo's regular season home finale. Valpo would host the PFL Championship Game on Nov. 22 with a victory Saturday coupled with a Butler loss to Dayton.
VALPO VAULTS IN RANKINGS: After last Saturday's win, the Crusaders rank 5th in the Football Gazette I-AA Mid-Major Poll and 6th in The Sports Network Poll. The 5th-place ranking is the highest among PFL North schools.
GIANCOLA SELECTED I-AA MID-MAJOR NATIONAL & PFL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK;
SET FOUR RECORDS LAST SATURDAY
For the second straight week, Valpo's Rob Giancola was selected as the Football Gazette NCAA I-AA Mid-Major National Offensive Player of the Week and the Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week following the Crusaders' 41-34 victory over San Diego last Saturday. Giancola, who shared last week's PFL honor with Valpo quarterback David Macchi, broke or tied four school records against San Diego.
Giancola, a junior from Whiting, Ind./HS, caught a school-record four touchdown passes to help Valpo remain undefeated in the PFL North Division and gain sole possession of first-place. The touchdown receptions were of 58, 55, 47 and 20 yards. Giancola's last three touchdowns - all thrown by Macchi, turned a 27-20 deficit into a 41-27 Crusader lead in an 11-minute span of the third and fourth quarters.
On the afternoon, Giancola amassed 196 receiving yards on six catches. In addition to breaking Valpo's single-game touchdown reception record, he shattered school marks for single-season touchdown receptions (15) and career touchdown receptions (28). With 24 points against San Diego, Giancola tied Valpo's single-game record.
GIANCOLA LEADS NATION IN RECEIVING; RANKS 2nd IN SCORING: Giancola is leading NCAA I-AA in receiving yards per game (133.75) and stands 2nd nationally in scoring (11.5 ppg.). He has made 33 receptions for 1,070 yards with 11 of his 15 touchdowns of 36-or-more yards. Giancola has scored 92 points on the season and needs one touchdown to surpass Joe Pahr's school record of 96 points set in 1951. He also needs one touchdown to tie Pahr's single-season record of 16 also set in 1951. In two-plus seasons, Giancola ranks 3rd on Valpo's all-time receiving yards list with 2,672.
MACCHI AMONG NATION'S BEST: Quarterback David Macchi has enjoyed a phenomenal season and ranks 3rd among all NCAA I-AA players in total offense (328.1 ypg.) and 6th in pass efficiency (157.08). The senior from San Jose, Cal./Willow Glen tops the PFL in total offense (2,625 yds.) and passing yards per game (305.4). He stands 2nd in pass efficiency. Last Saturday, Macchi threw five touchdown passes, tying a Valpo single-game record. With 23 touchdown passes, he eclipsed his own single-season school mark of 21 set in 2002. Macchi now stands 2nd on Valpo's all-time list in passing yards (5,769) and 2nd in total offense (6,174 yards). He needs 431 total yards to become Valpo's all-time leader (6,604,Nick Browder,1993-96).
KNUTSON REMAINS HOT RECEIVER: Kevin Knutson is rising toward the top of the PFL receiving leaders, currently standing 3rd in receptions (6.38 pg., 51 total). Against Dayton, the junior from River Falls, Wis./HS snagged a career-high 9 aerials (82 yards) and, against Morehead State, amassed a career-high 133 yards. Knutson also ranks 6th in the PFL in receiving yards per game (88.6, 709 yds.). Knutson, Giancola and Ryan Barno (31) each rank among the PFL's top 10 in catches.
DANIELS 5th NATIONALLY, 2nd IN PFL IN INTERCEPTIONS: Cornerback Chris Daniels (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame) ranks 5th in NCAA I-AA and 2nd in the PFL with 6 interceptions (.75).
CANADA 2nd AMONG PFL TACKLE LEADERS: Lawrence Canada, Valpo's middle linebacker, stands 2nd in the PFL in tackles per game (9.6 pg.). The senior from Mequon, Wis./Lane College leads the league in total tackles (77).
SMEJA LEADS PFL IN PUNT RETURNS, RANKS 3rd IN TACKLES: Sophomore Brad Smeja leads the PFL in punt return average (12.6 ypr./126 yds, 10 ret.). As a free safety, Smeja (Oak Brook, Ill./Downers Grove North) stands 3rd in the league with 9.4 tackles per game (75 total).
"Valparaiso University Football", head coach Tom Horne's TV Show, airs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 43 in Valpo. This week's guest is sophomore offensive guard Ryan Palonka.
A LOOK AT DRAKE:
The Bulldogs (4-4, 1-1 PFL North) have won two of their last three games, including a 40-34 victory over Jacksonville Oct. 4 and a 24-7 triumph over Butler last Saturday. Head coach Rob Ash's squad displays very talented skill players in wide receiver Jason Jones, running back Jonathan Taylor and quarterback Connor Jostes. The game matches the #1 and #2 NCAA I-AA receiving yards leaders in Valpo's Rob Giancola and Jones. A 6'1" junior, Jones has 53 catches for 873 yards and 11 TDs. Taylor, a senior, stands 4th in the PFL with 106.2 rushing yards per game (850, 198 carries). Jostes, a sophomore, has passed for 256.2 ypg. and 18 TDs. Strong safety Curtis Martindale tops Drake in tackles with 55.