VALPARAISO (0-1) vs. WISCONSIN LUTHERAN (0-0)
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 6 - 1 p.m. CDT
WHERE: Brown Field, Valparaiso, Indiana
RADIO: 95.1 (WVUR-FM) - Ed Schillinger and Baron Brendel announcing.
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 54-92-1 in his 15th season at Valpo. Wisconsin Lutheran is led by Dennis Miller, who is 10-19 in his 4th season.
SERIES RECORD: 0-0
LAST MEETING: First Meeting
LAST WEEK: Valpo lost to Murray State, 34-0, last Saturday in Murray, Ky. Wisconsin Lutheran will play its season opener on Saturday. The Warriors finished 3-7 in 2002.
WHAT'S NEXT: Valpo travels to Clarksville, Tenn. to oppose Austin Peay on Sat., Sept. 13 at 1 p.m.
Valpo Plays Home Opener
Against Wisconsin Lutheran
After playing its season opener last weekend, Valpo (0-1) will kick off its home season on Saturday against Wisconsin Lutheran (0-0) at 1 p.m. The Crusaders home slate is comprised of five games.
RUN STUFFERS: Despite the loss to Murray State last Saturday, Valpo's run defense was impressive. The Racers, a full-scholarship program, attempted to establish a ground attack as evidenced by their 53 carries. However, the Crusader defense continually stuffed the Racers, allowing 123 yards - an average of just 2.3 yards per carry. Senior middle linebacker Lawrence Canada (Mequon, Wis.) led the aggressive effort with 11 tackles, including six solo stops. John Tsahas (Lake Station, Ind./Edison) and Kris Hardaway (Portage, Ind./HS) made eight tackles each, while Brandon Sturman (Brookeville, Md./Sherwood) added six. Valpo defenders were visible in Murray State's backfield as nine different Crusaders each recorded a tackle for loss. Freshman Xavier Freeman (Gary, Ind./Mann) made Valpo's lone sack for a seven-yard loss.
NO EXTRA SERIES FOR YOU: Murray State tested Valpo's defense five times on fourth down and the Crusader defense stopped the Racers all but once.
OFFENSE ON DEFENSE: Two former offensive players produced big plays for Valpo's defense last Saturday. Chris Daniels (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame), who played running back as a freshman and sophomore, made his first career interception. A junior, Daniels switched to cornerback midway through last season. Sophomore Brad Smeja (Oak Brook, Ill./Downers Grove North), who caught 16 passes for 141 yards as a wide receiver last year, recovered a fumble. Smeja is now competing for significant playing time at free safety.
BATEMAN KEEPS BOOTIN': Punter Ryan Bateman (Chester, Cal., Shasta JC) did his best to improve the field position for the defense, booting nine times for a 40.3 yard average. A senior who earned Honorable Mention All-PFL honors last year, Bateman amassed 363 total punting yards. He had a long punt of 44 and placed one punt inside the 20-yard line.
CAPTAINS: Four seniors represented the Crusaders as captains against Murray State - strong safety John Tsahas, linebacker Lawrence Canada, quarterback David Macchi and fullback Jeffrey Vlk.
"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 player guest is senior wide receiver Ryan Barno.
A LOOK AT WISCONSIN LUTHERAN:
The Warriors (0-0) finished 3-7 last season. Head Coach Dennis Miller will rely upon his passing game, led by quarterback Seth Fitzsimmons. A senior, Fitzsimmons completed 52 percent of his passes (108-208-6 int.) for 1,250 yards and nine touchdowns last year. Paul Nelson, a senior wide receiver, leads a quintet of receivers. At 6'2", 221 pounds, Nelson led WLC with 591 yards on 43 receptions (3 TDs) last season. Nate Hahm, a senior tight end, also snagged 43 aerials (473 yards, 2 TDs). Aaron Biebert, a senior halfback, topped the Warriors with 344 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 79 carries in 2002. Sophomore ILB Jake Lepke led the defense with 94 tackles.