Valparaiso, Ind. - Nick Reid rushed for 130 yards and one touchdown, and David Macchi passed for 263 yards and one touchdown as Valpo (1-1) defeated Wisconsin Lutheran 33-13 in the Crusaders' home opener.
Valpo took control of the game in the fourth quarter, extending a 16-13 lead by scoring 17 unanswered points. Following an interception by strong safety John Tsahas with just under 13 minutes remaining, Macchi connected with Rob Giancola for a 60-yard touchdown on the very next play. After Valpo's defense forced Wisconsin Lutheran (0-1) to punt after three plays, Reid rushed for 42 yards on three carries, capping off the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run to give the Crusaders a 30-13 advantage. Ryan Bateman added a 29-yard field goal with 2:40 left to complete the scoring.
The Warriors scored first on Steve Adams' 42-yard field goal midway through the first quarter. Valpo's Andrew McCawley tied the game at 3-3 with a 29-yard field goal at the 14:47 mark of the second quarter.
After two Wisconsin Lutheran punts and one by the Crusaders, Valpo demonstrated a balanced offense during a 10-play, 67-yard drive that resulted in a 4-yard touchdown by Matt Van Daele. Macchi, a senior from San Jose, Cal., completed four of five passes for 51 yards. Kevin Knutson, who led Valpo with seven receptions for 98 yards, caught two passes for 20 yards during the series, while Ryan Barno snagged a 22-yard pass on third down. Fullback Robert Clark ran for eight yards three plays later before Van Daele bounced off several Warrior defenders and scampered to the left for the go-ahead score.
Valpo's defense, which allowed just a total of 2 rushing yards on 20 carries, stuffed Wisconsin Lutheran on the next series as linebacker Kris Hardaway tackled Jake Thiel for a five-yard loss on the first play. Following a punt, Macchi continued his aerial attack, completing four straight passes for 49 yards, including a 23-yarder to Knutson. After an 11-yard pass to Giancola gave Valpo a first-and-goal from the two-yard line, Macchi rushed around the end to give the Crusaders a 16-3 lead with :55 remaining before intermission.
Seth Fitzsimmons, Wisconsin Lutheran's senior quarterback, completed 14 of 24 passes for 150 yards during the third quarter to cut Valpo's lead to 16-13. Nate Hahm caught four passes for 58 yards in the quarter. Adams booted a 20-yard field goal with just under 10 minutes left in the quarter and Pete Hahm hauled in a four-yard touchdown pass from Fitzsimmons with 1:07 remaining in the third stanza.
Tsahas, a senior from Lake Station, Ind., made the game's biggest defensive play, intercepting his first pass of the season three plays after Wisconsin Lutheran recovered a Valpo fumble at their own 47-yard line. The play energized the Crusaders as Macchi hit Giancola in stride on the very next play for the 60-yard score.
Valpo outgained Wisconsin Lutheran 461-264. The Crusaders displayed a balanced attack, passing for 263 yards and rushing for 198. Valpo won the battle of first downs 21-14. The Warriors held an edge in turnover margin, recovering three fumbles, while tossing the interception to Tsahas.
Reid, a junior from Orlando, Fla., averaged 8.1 yards per carry on 16 attempts. The 6'0", 252-pound tailback rushed for 98 yards on nine attempts in the second half. Macchi completed 19 of 28 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. Barno, a senior, made four receptions for 44 yards.
Defensively, Chris Daniels and Lawrence Canada made eight tackles each for Valpo. Canada, a senior middle linebacker, made 2.5 tackles for loss. Kevin Rivera and Anthony Freitag each had a sack for Valpo.
Valpo travels to Clarksville, Tenn. to oppose Austin Peay next Saturday (Sept. 13) at 1 p.m. CDT.