Valparaiso, Ind. - Joe Milazzo rushed for one touchdown and passed for another as Valpo (2-1) used a 10-point third quarter to defeat Austin Peay 24-14. The win was the second consecutive for the Crusaders.
Valpo, which was productive on both sides of the ball, displayed a well-balanced attack. The Crusaders amassed 416 total yards, 214 through the air and 202 on the ground. Defensively, Valpo limited the Governors to 276 total yards, including just 85 rushing yards on 27 carries.
Milazzo was very productive for the second straight week, passing for 214 yards and rushing for a team-leading 77 yards on 18 carries. The senior from Delafield, Wis./Waukesha Catholic Memorial completed 14 of 24 passes, including an 11-yard scoring aerial to tight end Kenny Keil for Valpo's final touchdown. Milazzo broke a 7-7 tie in the second quarter, running for a 3-yard touchdown to cap off a 9-play, 69-yard drive.
Austin Peay (0-2) got on the scoreboard first when Ryan Taylor stepped in front of a Milazzo pass and returned the interception 88 yards for a touchdown with 6:42 left in the first half. The interception halted a 7-play, 64-yard drive for Valpo.
The Crusaders responded with another long drive (10 plays, 73 yards), which concluded with Nick Reid's 4-yard touchdown scamper. Milazzo completed four passes for 55 yards on the drive, including two to Rob Giancola for 23 yards.
After Valpo's Bradford Riley sacked Austin Peay quarterback Jesse Kellogg for an 8-yard loss on third down to force a punt, Milazzo engineered the go-ahead scoring drive, mostly via the run. After completing a 19-yard pass to Giancola, Milazzo rushed for 13 yards on two carries and Jeff Horton added 15 yards on two attempts to give Valpo a first down at the Austin Peay 21-yard-line. Milazzo raced 13 yards to the 3-yard-line before plunging into the end zone with 11:13 left in the second quarter.
The Governors tied the game at 14-14 with 1:16 left before halftime on Kellogg's 34-yard touchdown pass to Pat Curran.
In the second half, the Crusader defense stopped Austin Peay on three plays, forcing a 27-yard punt. An 11-yard Reid run, a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Austin Peay and a 13-yard pass to Kevin Knutson set up a 28-yard field goal by Andrew McCawley to give Valpo a 17-14 lead with 12:27 left in the third quarter.
Austin Peay tried to answer, but its 8-play drive ended with another punt. Milazzo and Valpo then engineered a touchdown drive that culminated with Keil's second touchdown reception of the season with 4:54 remaining in the third quarter. The key plays on the possession were a 15-yard Milazzo run, a 17-yard Milazzo pass to Knutson and an 11-yard Horton run.
Valpo's Bill Marshall forced an recovered a fumble on the next Governor drive. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter and any chance Austin Peay had to get back within striking distance ended with a fourth-down incomplete pass by Kellogg with 1:20 left.
Valpo held a 24-16 advantage in first downs. Austin Peay recovered two Valpo fumbles and held a 3-1 advantage in turnover ratio.
Knutson caught four passes for 82 yards and Giancola finished with four receptions for 52 yards. Horton rushed for 61 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively, Valpo was led by Michael Schnoor with nine tackles. The Crusaders made six tackles for losses of 23 yards, including sacks by Riley and Marshall (10 yards).
Kellogg completed 20 of 35 passes for 191 yards and one touchdown for the Governors. Austin Peay's Chris Fletcher took game-high rushing honors with 100 yards on 21 carries. Curran led all receivers with 10 catches for 112 yards and one touchdown. Earl Williams had a game-high 15 tackles, including two for losses, and a forced fumble.
Valpo travels to play at Saint Francis (PA) next Saturday (Sept. 18) beginning at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT).