Game #9: Saturday, Oct. 28, 12 p.m. CDT
Davidson (4-3, 3-1 PFL) at Valpo (2-6, 1-4 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - Grass), Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valpo returns to Brown Field for the first time in nearly a month on Saturday as the Crusaders welcome Davidson to town as part of Parents' Weekend. The Brown and Gold is looking to register its first home victory of the season against the Wildcats, as well as snap a five-game losing skid.
On the Air: For the second straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2006. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso), WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso), Relevant Radio 1270-AM (WWCA, Gary), and WE-FM (95.9-FM, Michigan City). Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play with Josh Weinhold adding the color commentary.
Series Notes: Valpo has met Davidson three times since the series began in 2001. Last year, the Wildcats defeated the Crusaders 48-17 at Brown Field. In the first meeting ever between the two schools, Davidson was a 24-7 victor in North Carolina. The Wildcats also won the 2002 matchup in Valpo 49-32.
Scouting Davidson: The Wildcats enter this weekend having won three straight games following a thrilling 37-36 victory over Dayton at home last Saturday. Davidson is just one game back in the loss column of first place in the Pioneer Football League. Offensively, Ryan Alexander has thrown for 1760 yards and 16 touchdowns on the year completing 155-of-276 passes. Brett Dioguardi has been one of Alexander's favorite targets, making 44 catches for 616 yards and six scores. On defense, Blake Mitchell and Chris Castillo both have 45 stops on the year, with Castillo making 4.5 tackles for loss.
Last Week: Nate Miller caught seven passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns to help lead Butler to a 32-10 victory over Valparaiso last Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis, Ind. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-0 lead before Mike Krieg kicked a 27-yard field goal just before intermission to put the Crusaders on the scoreboard. The Bulldogs added three more scores in the third, two on field goals by Jordan Quiroz, before Warren Arnold scored from five yards out early in the fourth for Valpo's lone touchdown of the game.
Ogden Among Division I-AA Receiving Leaders: Steve Ogden remains among the nation's best receivers, ranking 12th in all of I-AA in receiving yards per game. The redshirt-sophomore has 748 total yards, a 93.5 yard per game average.
Krieg Nearly Automatic on PAT Attempts: For a redshirt-freshman, Mike Krieg has been nearly perfect on point after touchdown attempts this season. He is 22-of-23 on the season, and leads the PFL in PAT percentage on the year. His 22 makes are also tied for the league lead.
Popper a Double Threat: Freshman running back John Popper has had a solid year both running and catching the football. His 571 all-purpose yards on the season rank second on the team. He has nearly 400 yards on the ground while catching 21 passes for 192 yards on the season.
Using All the Passing Options: Valpo has 11 different players with receptions on the season, including five Crusaders with 10 or more catches.
Riker Leads PFL Linemen in Tackles: Jimmy Riker leads all Pioneer Football League defensive linemen in tackles, bringing down 41 ball carriers. The senior also has 5.0 tackles for loss and three pass breakups on the year to go along with two fumble recoveries.
Ogden Nearing Career Leaders in Receiving: Steve Ogden is just 89 receiving yards away from moving into Valpo's career top-ten list. The redshirt sophomore has 1,193 yards in nearly two years, and trails Matt Junia (1998-1999) for tenth place. This season, he has 39 catches for 748 yards and six scores.
Sharing the Wealth: Ten different Crusaders have found the end zone for the Brown and Gold this season for a total of 23 touchdowns. The 23 touchdowns match the season total for Valpo for all of 2005.
Jaskiw Returns Kicks: Trevor Jaskiw took over the kick returning duties midway through the season for the Crusaders. He has returned 16 kicks for a 17.4 yard average with a long of 35 this season.
Koepke Leads the Team in Tackles: Ryan Koepke has hauled down 51 ball carriers this season for the Brown and Gold. The redshirt-sophomore has 10 more stops than any other player on the roster. He also has four tackles for loss as well as a forced fumble.
Arnold Posts First Career Touchdown: Warren Arnold scored his first collegiate touchdown on Saturday at Butler, scoring on a five-yard run. The sophomore quarterback has carried 17 times for 122 yards this year. He also has completed six passes for 49 yards.
Good Work Gets Rewarded: Ryan Koepke has been recognized for his efforts in the community, having been named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He has been active with many different service organizations, including a mission trip to Guatemala where he helped provide medical care and nutrition to the local residents. He also has worked at Camp Watcha Wanna Do for children who are cancer patients or survivors as well as helped lead Valpo's football team into various elementary schools to read to the students.
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish seventh in the ?restructured" Pioneer Football League this season. The PFL moved to one division this season, with the league champion facing the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic.
Krieg Earns PFL Honors in Week One: Mike Krieg was named the Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week following the Wisconsin Lutheran game for a perfect performance in his collegiate debut. The redshirt freshman kicker was a perfect 7-of-7 on extra point attempts while adding a 25-yard field goal in the victory.
Horton Sets School Rushing Record: Senior running back Jeff Horton set a new school career rushing record at Wisconsin Lutheran. Horton surpassed Joe Pahr's (1949-1951) 50-year old rushing mark of 2,326 yards. Horton now has 2,429 career rushing yards.
Horton Ties Valpo Single Game Touchdown Mark: Jeff Horton found the end zone four times in the Crusaders' season opener at Wisconsin Lutheran, tying Valpo's school record for touchdowns in a game. The mark, originally set by Paul Naumann at DePauw on October 20, 1956, has now been tied six times during the history of Valpo football.