Valpo Travels To Butler; Crusaders Can Clinch Outright PFL North Title
Thursday, November 6, 2003
VALPARAISO (6-3, 3-0 PFL) at BUTLER (0-9, 0-3 PFL)

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 8 - noon CST
WHERE: Butler Bowl, Indianapolis, Indiana

RADIO: 95.1 (WVUR-FM) - Ed Schillinger and Jesse Shale announcing.

TV: (tape-delay) - Comcast Cable - Channel 43 in Valparaiso - Dick Harlan announcing.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Tom Horne, who is 60-94-1 in his 15th season at Valpo. Butler is led by Kit Cartwright, who is 4-15 in his 2nd season at Butler.

SERIES RECORD: Butler leads 40-21
LAST MEETING: 2002 - Butler won 52-22

LAST WEEK: Valpo was idle last Saturday. The Crusaders defeated Drake 51-45 in overtime on Oct. 25. Butler lost to San Diego 53-7 last Saturday in San Diego.

VALPO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Valpo Players of the Week (Oct. 25) as selected by the coaching staff: Offense: Kevin Knutson, junior wide receiver; Defense: Lawrence Canada, senior linebacker; Special Teams: John Tsahas, senior; Offensive Scout: Kevin Folk, freshman running back; Defensive Scout: Kirk Joss, freshman linebacker.

WHAT'S NEXT: Valpo plays at Aurora on Sat., Nov. 15 beginning at 1 p.m.

After earning the right to host the Pioneer Football League Championship Game Nov. 22, Valpo (6-3, 3-0 PFL North) travels to play Butler (0-9, 0-3 PFL North) on Saturday with the opportunity to clinch its first-ever outright PFL North title. The Crusaders, winners of three straight, also travel to Aurora on Nov. 15 in the regular season finale.

VALPO HOSTS PFL CHAMPIONSHIP: On Nov. 22 at noon, Valpo (North Division Champ) hosts Morehead State (South Division Champ) in the 3rd Annual PFL Championship Game. The Crusaders clinched the right to host the title game after defeating Drake 51-45 in overtime on Oct. 25. Valpo won the tiebreaker after defeating Dayton, San Diego and Drake in head-to-head meetings. The Football Network will televise the game the same night on a tape-delay basis.

VALPO 2nd IN FOOTBALL GAZETTE POLL: The Crusaders rank 2nd in the Football Gazette I-AA Mid-Major Poll and 4th in The Sports Network Poll. Morehead State is #1 in the Football Gazette Poll and Dayton tops The Sports Network Poll.


GIANCOLA TOPS I-AA IN RECEIVING YARDS; RANKS 4th IN SCORING: Rob Giancola is leading NCAA I-AA in receiving yards per game (127.44) and total receiving yards (1,147), and stands 4th nationally in scoring (12.22 ppg., 18 TDs). The junior from Whiting, Ind./HS has made 39 receptions and needs 133 yards to break Valpo's single-season record of 1,279 (Mike Healey, 1985). Giancola has had a penchant for the big play as 11 of his 18 touchdowns have been of 36-or-more yards. He has shattered Valpo's single-season records for scoring - 110 points - (old record, Joe Pahr, 96 points in 1951) and touchdowns - 18 - (old record, Pahr, 16 in 1951). In two-plus seasons, Giancola ranks 3rd on Valpo's all-time receiving yards list with 2,749. He needs 464 yards to become Valpo's all-time leader (Healey, 3,212, 1982-85). This season, Giancola has established school marks for single-season touchdown receptions (18) and career touchdown receptions (31), and single-game records for receiving yards (275), touchdown receptions (4) and points (tied, 24). He has 188 career points, needing 47 to break Pahr's record of 234 set from 1949-51.

MACCHI LEADS I-AA IN TOTAL OFFENSE - Senior Quarterback Became Valpo's All-Time Leader In Total Offense: Quarterback David Macchi has enjoyed a phenomenal season and ranks 1st among all NCAA I-AA players in total offense (341.6 ypg.) and 5th in pass efficiency (158.2). The senior from San Jose, Cal./Willow Glen has shattered many school records this season. Macchi has become Valpo's all-time leader in total offense (6,623 yards), surpassing Nick Browder (6,604, 1993-96). He has also set the single-season mark for touchdown passes (28), and single-game marks for passing yards (452) and touchdown passes (tied, 5). Macchi now stands 2nd on Valpo's all-time list in passing yards (6,189), needing 486 to surpass leader Scott Lange (6,674, 1982-85).


Valpo's David Macchi was selected as the Football Gazette NCAA I-AA Mid-Major Offensive Player of the Week, as well as the Pioneer Football League Co-Offensive Player of the Week following the Crusaders' 51-45 overtime victory over Drake on Oct. 25. Macchi shared the PFL award with Drake's Jonathan Taylor. The PFL honor is the second for Macchi who shared the honor with teammate Rob Giancola after Valpo's win over Dayton Oct. 11.

For the second straight game, Macchi tied a school record with five touchdown passes and rushed for one. He amassed 449 total yards and became Valpo's all-time leader in total offense (6,623 yards), surpassing Nick Browder (6,604, 1993-96). Macchi completed 27-of-48 passes for 420 yards, including touchdowns of 63, 14, 13, 7 and 24 yards. The 24-yarder to Giancola in overtime proved to be the game-winner. He also rushed for 29 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown. He was responsible for 42 of Valpo's points.

KNUTSON MOVES UP NATIONAL CHARTS: Kevin Knutson is rising toward the top of the NCAA I-AA receiving leaders, currently standing 9th in receiving yards per game (101.56) and 12th in receptions per game (6.89 pg., 62 total). Against Drake, the junior from River Falls, Wis./HS achieved career-highs of 11 receptions for 205 yards. Knutson ranks 2nd in the PFL in receptions per game and 4th in receiving yards per game. Knutson, Giancola and Ryan Barno (32) have combined for 133 catches.

DANIELS 3rd NATIONALLY, 2nd IN PFL IN INTERCEPTIONS: Cornerback Chris Daniels (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame) ranks tied for 3rd in NCAA I-AA and 2nd in the PFL with 6 interceptions (.67).

CANADA 2nd AMONG PFL TACKLE LEADERS: Lawrence Canada, Valpo's middle linebacker, stands 2nd in the PFL in tackles per game (9.8 pg.). The senior from Mequon, Wis./Lane College is also 2nd in the league in total tackles (88).

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).

TSAHAS, MARSHALL, JONES AMONG PFL STAT LEADERS: Other Crusaders donning the PFL statistical categories include senior strong safety John Tsahas (Lake Station, Ind./Edison), who ranks 9th in tackles (70, 7.8); sophomore defensive end Bill Marshall (Warwick, N.Y./HS), who stands tied for 6th in tackles for loss (9.0), and Mike Jones (Lake Zurich, Ill./HS), who is 6th in sacks (3).

"Valparaiso University Football", head coach Tom Horne's TV Show, airs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 43 in Valpo.