VALPARAISO (3-5, 0-2 PFL) at DRAKE (5-2, 2-0 PFL)
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 23 - 1 p.m. CT
WHERE: Drake Stadium, Des Moines, Iowa
TV: (tape-delay) - Channel 43 in Valparaiso. Airs on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. - Dick Harlan announcing.
RADIO: 95.1 (WVUR-FM) - Brent Whitlock and Jesse Shale announcing. Webcast at www.valpo.edu.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Tom Horne, who is 65-100-1 in his 16th season at Valpo. Drake is led by Rob Ash, who is 105-57-2 in his 16th season at Drake.
SERIES RECORD: Drake leads 8-3
LAST MEETING: 2003 - Valpo won 51-45 in overtime in Valparaiso.
LAST WEEK: Valpo lost to San Diego 49-14 in San Diego. Drake defeated Butler 43-6 in Indianapolis.
Valpo is looking for its first win of the Pioneer Football League season when it travels to Des Moines, Iowa to oppose first-place Drake. The contest is the final road game of the regular season.
The Crusaders (3-5, 0-2 PFL), who have lost three straight, are coming off a 49-14 defeat at San Diego. Drake (5-2, 2-0 PFL) is riding a four-game win streak after defeating Butler 43-6 last Saturday in Indianapolis. All four wins during the streak have come against PFL opponents as the Bulldogs triumphed over Morehead State and Jacksonville of the PFL South, as well as San Diego in PFL North competition.
ONE MORE TD.........
GIANCOLA NEEDS FIVE POINTS TO BECOME VALPO'S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER: With one touchdown, Rob Giancola will become Valpo's all-time leading scorer. With 230 career points, Giancola needs 5 to eclipse the 53-year-old record of 234 held by Joe Pahr (1949-51).
CRUSADERS vs. BULLDOGS - Valpo 51, Drake 45 in overtime- Oct. 25, 2003 at Valparaiso
In a season filled with dramatic games, Valpo's overtime victory over Drake arguably was the most action-packed thriller of the bunch. Even after David Macchi connected with Rob Giancola for a 24-yard go-ahead touchdown on the first possession of overtime, Valpo's defense had to withstand a fourth-down snap over the head of Drake quarterback Conner Jostes, as well as a fumble and return of 23 yards on the game's final play. The victory clinched a PFL Championship Game berth, as well as a share of the PFL North title. Not only did the game feature 96 points, but also included 1,262 total yards - 691 by Drake and 571 for Valpo.
The Crusaders' vaunted passing attack, led by Macchi's 420 yards and a school record-tying five touchdown passes, offset 270 rushing yards and five touchdowns from Bulldog running back Jonathan Taylor. Giancola, who broke the school's single-season touchdown and points record during the game, snagged three touchdown aerials. Giancola's teammate, Kevin Knutson, established career highs with 11 receptions for 205 yards and one score.
With 11 minutes left in the second quarter, Drake led 24-7. Macchi and Knutson then hooked up on a 63-yard touchdown pass and Macchi found Kenny Keil in the end zone for a 7-yard score. After Drake led 31-21 in the second quarter, Valpo scored 24 unanwered points to take a 45-31 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Taylor scored two touchdowns, including an 80-yard pass from Jostes, to tie the game at 45-45 with 1:06 remaining. A nine-yard sack by Valpo's Bill Marshall on Drake's first play in overtime forced Drake to pass on the next two plays and Marshall batted down a third-down pass preceding the unusual play that ended the game.
INSIDE VU FOOTBALL, head coach Tom Horne's TV show, airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 43 in Valparaiso. This week's guest is graduate assistant coach Andy Horne.
LAST WEEK'S STANDOUTS AGAINST SAN DIEGO: Joe Blahowicz caught four passes for 72 yards and punted seven times for a 40.1-yard average. Two punts were placed inside the 20-yard-line. Brad Smeja had a team-high 11 tackles and one forced fumble. Stephen Lyons had a fumble recovery.
VALPO INDIVIDUALS AMONG PFL LEADERS: Rob Giancola ranks 3rd in receiving yards (72.4 ypg.)....Brandon Sturman is tied for 4th in the PFL with 3 sacks and ranks tied for 6th in tackles for loss (6.0)..... Kevin Knutson stands 6th in the league in receiving yards (59.3 ypg.) and receptions (4.2 pg.). Jeff Horton is 7th in rushing (57.4 ypg.). Quarterback Joe Milazzo stands 3rd in passing efficiency and 7th in the PFL in total offense (134.4 ypg.). James Riker ranks tied for 6th in tackles for loss (6.0)....... Joe Blahowicz is 3rd in punting (37.3 ypp.).
Following an open date next Saturday, Valpo hosts Butler on Nov. 6 (Parents' Day) at 1 p.m.