San Diego, CA – Todd Mortensen passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another as San Diego defeated Valpo 49-14. Valpo (3-5, 0-2 PFL) scored its touchdowns on a 4-yard pass from Dustin Shamburg to Kenny Keil and on a 5-yard run by Jeff Horton.
San Diego’s Evan Harney was a workhorse, rushing for 191 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries. USD’s Nick Garton caught two touchdown passes – a 16-yarder and a 56-yarder.
The Toreros (3-4, 1-1 PFL) raced out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead on Harney’s 16-yard touchdown run with 5:47 left. After forcing a Valpo punt, San Diego’s Michael Gasperson blocked the punt and returned the ball four yards for a touchdown.
The Crusaders scored their first touchdown – the 4-yard pass from Shamburg to Keil - to cap off a 15-play, 79-yard drive early in the second quarter. Jeff Horton had a 27-yard run to put Valpo in scoring position. Kevin Knutson caught two passes for 15 yards and Joe Blahowicz snagged two aerials for 14 yards during the drive.
Mortensen and USD answered with a six-play, 74-yard drive that culminated with Mortensen’s 1-yard touchdown plunge to extend the Torero lead to 21-7. Valpo had another scoring opportunity thwarted in the final minute of the first half when Shamburg’s third-down pass was intercepted by Scott Cooper.
In the third quarter, San Diego went 88 yards on 10 plays to push its advantage to 28-7 on Mortensen’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Garton.
Valpo struck quickly on its next possession as reserve quarterback Joe Milazzo connected with Blahowicz on a 39-yard pass to set up a 5-yard touchdown by Horton.
The Toreros pulled away with three straight touchdowns. Mortensen lofted a 3-yard scoring pass to Matt Koller near the end of the third quarter and then hit Garton in stride for a 56-yard touchdown with just under eight minutes remaining. Kevin Herron scampered for a 77-yard touchdown to increase the USD lead to 49-14.
Mortensen completed 17 of 27 passes for 264 yards. Garton finished with three receptions for 86 yards and two scores.
Shamburg completed 10 of 18 passes for 88 yards and one touchdown. Milazzo passed for 73 yards after completing three of nine attempts. Blahowicz and Rob Giancola each caught four passes for 72 and 59 yards, respectively. Horton led the Crusaders with 42 yards on nine carries.
San Diego finished with 577 total yards to 266 for Valpo. The Toreros won the first-down battle 25-15.
Valpo travels to Des Moines, Iowa to oppose Drake next Saturday at 1 p.m. CT.