Pioneer Football League Championship
VALPARAISO (7-4) vs. MOREHEAD STATE (8-2)
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 22 - 12:07 p.m. CST
WHERE: Brown Field, Valparaiso, Indiana
TV: (tape-delay) - The Football Network (TFN)- Paul Crane, Jerry Glanville, DeMarco Farr and Courtney George (sidelines) announcing. Airs same night at 7 p.m. EST.
RADIO: 95.1 (WVUR-FM) - Ed Schillinger, Drew Wolf and Jesse Shale (sidelines) announcing.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Tom Horne, who is 61-95-1 in his 15th season at Valpo. Morehead State is led by Matt Ballard, who is 58-46 in his 10th season at Morehead State.
SERIES RECORD: Morehead State leads 7-1.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 4, 2003 - Morehead State won 32-26 in Valparaiso.
LAST WEEK: Valpo defeated Aurora 44-26 last Saturday in Aurora, Ill. Morehead State defeated the University of Charleston 48-10 Thurs.,Nov. 13 in Charleston, W.V.
After clinching a co-division title nearly a month ago, Valpo will host Morehead State on Saturday at 12:07 p.m. CST in the 3rd annual Pioneer Football League Championship Game. Valpo (7-4, 3-1 PFL North) earned the North Division title due to its victory over co-North Champ San Diego, while Morehead State (8-2, 3-0 PFL South) won the South Division title outright. The Crusaders officially captured the PFL North's entry into the title game with a 51-45 overtime win over Drake on Oct. 25 in Valparaiso. Valpo and MSU faced each other during the regular season in a non-division game with the Eagles winning 32-26.
VALPO & MOREHEAD STATE - THE FIRST TIME AROUND: On Oct. 4, Morehead State's 32-26 victory over Valpo featured four lead changes and one tie. Valpo had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but David Macchi's pass was deflected and intercepted by Kwesi Williams in the end zone with 10 seconds left. The senior quarterbacks stole the show as Macchi completed 23 of 45 passes for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns (2 int.) and MSU's David Caudill completed 12 of 26 aerials for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns (2 int.). Macchi also led Valpo in rushing with 74 yards on 16 carries, while Caudill topped the Eagles with 57 yards on 11 rushes. Kevin Knutson was Valpo's top receiver with 6 catches for 133 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown. MSU's Ralph Delsardo made two receptions (88 yards), both for scores (82, 6 yards).
VALPO RANKS 6th & 7th IN NATIONAL MID-MAJOR POLLS: The Crusaders rank 6th in The Sports Network and Dopke.com I-AA Mid-Major polls and 7th in the Football Gazette poll. Morehead State is #1 in all three polls.
GIANCOLA LEADS I-AA IN TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS, TOTAL POINTS: Rob Giancola leads NCAA I-AA in total receiving yards (1,356) and total points (134), and stands 2nd nationally in scoring (12.18 ppg., 22 TDs) and receiving yards per game (123.27). The junior from Whiting, Ind./HS has made 52 receptions and shattered Valpo's single-season receiving yards record against Aurora last Saturday (1,279, Mike Healey, 1985). Giancola has had a penchant for the big play as 13 of his 22 touchdowns have been of 33-or-more yards. He has shattered Valpo's single-season records for scoring - 134 points - (old record, Joe Pahr, 96 points in 1951) and touchdowns - 22 - (old record, Pahr, 16 in 1951). In two-plus seasons, Giancola ranks 2nd on Valpo's all-time receiving yards list with 2,958. He needs 254 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 (22) and career touchdown receptions (35), and single-game records for receiving yards (275), touchdown receptions (4, twice) and points (tied, 24, twice). He has 212 career points, needing 23 to break Pahr's record of 234 set from 1949-51.
MACCHI RANKS 3rd IN I-AA IN TOTAL OFFENSE, PASSING EFFICIENCY - Quarterback David Macchi has enjoyed a phenomenal season and ranks 3rd among all NCAA I-AA players in total offense (330.1 ypg.) and 3rd in pass efficiency (157.2). The senior from San Jose, Cal./Willow Glen has shattered eight school records this season. Last week against Aurora, Macchi became Valpo's all-time passing yards leader (6,729) and all-time leader in touchdown passes (55). He also broke single-season school marks for passing yards (3,403) and total yards (3,631). Macchi became Valpo's all-time leader in total offense (7,180 yards), surpassing Nick Browder (6,604, 1993-96). He has also set the single-season mark for touchdown passes (34), and single-game marks for passing yards (452) and touchdown passes (tied, 5 twice).
MACCHI SELECTED NCAA I-AA MID-MAJOR, PFL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
David Macchi was selected as the Football Gazette I-AA Mid-Major & Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week following the Crusaders' 44-26 win over Aurora. The honor marks the third time this season that Macchi has earned both the national and PFL Offensive Player of the Week. Macchi threw for a school record-tying five touchdowns and 344 yards, while breaking four school records. He completed 24 of 36 passes to eight different receivers, including four touchdown aerials to Rob Giancola.
KNUTSON AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS: Kevin Knutson stands among the NCAA I-AA receiving leaders, currently standing 10th in total receiving yards (1,032), 15th in receiving yards per game (93.82) and tied for 16th in receptions per game (6.27 pg., 69 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. The trio of Knutson, Giancola and Ryan Barno (36) have combined for 157 catches for 2,782 yards and 28 touchdowns.
DANIELS TIED FOR 11th NATIONALLY, RANKS 2nd IN PFL IN INTERCEPTIONS: Cornerback Chris Daniels (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame) ranks tied for 6th in NCAA I-AA and stands 2nd in the PFL with 6 interceptions (.55) He also ranks 4th in passes defended with 12 (six breakups).
CANADA 3rd AMONG PFL TACKLE LEADERS: Lawrence Canada, Valpo's middle linebacker, stands 3rd in the PFL in tackles per game (9.0 pg.). The senior from Mequon, Wis./Lane College is also 2nd in the league in total tackles (99).
SMEJA 2nd IN PFL IN PUNT RETURNS, RANKS 2nd IN TACKLES: Sophomore Brad Smeja stands 2nd in the PFL in punt return average (11.2 ypr./135 yds, 12 ret.). As a free safety, Smeja (Oak Brook, Ill./Downers Grove North) stands 2nd in the league with 9.5 tackles per game (95 total).
McCAWLEY LEADS PFL IN FIELD GOALS: Freshman Andrew McCawley leads the PFL in field goals (11-15, 1.0 per game).
DID YOU KNOW?: Valpo is playing in a conference championship game for the first time in its history (1919).