Game #5: Saturday, Sept. 30, 12 p.m. CDT
Jacksonville (1-2, 0-0 PFL) at Valpo (2-2, 1-1 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - Grass), Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso hosts its annual Homecoming game this Saturday afternoon at Brown Field as the Crusaders entertain Jacksonville.
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 and Jacksonville have met each other twice prior to this weekend's game, with the home team winning each contest. On September 27, 2003, the Dolphins posted a 34-27 victory in Florida before the Crusaders notched a 54-38 win the next season at Brown Field. In that win, the Crusaders scored 19 third quarter points after trailing 26-21 at halftime. Dustin Shamburg threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns for Valpo.
Scouting Jacksonville: Jacksonville picked up its first victory of the season to open Pioneer Football League play last Saturday at Butler by the score of 31-7. Quarterback Chris Horton was the PFL Offensive Player of the Week after throwing four touchdown passes, including three in a 10-minute span. Kick and punt returner Nate Connor earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors as well for the Dolphins. Defensively, Jason Wood leads the team with 19 tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
Last Week: Valpo dropped a hard fought 21-7 contest to Drake at Brown Field last Saturday. An interception return for a touchdown by Drake with 26 seconds remaining accounted for the final margin. The Bulldogs scored on its first possession of the game only to have Valpo tie it late in the second quarter on a Josh Lynn one-yard run, his first career carry. The Bulldogs retook the lead just before halftime and the game was a defensive battle throughout the second half. Ryan Doerffler threw for 230 yards for Valpo while Sean Dillon made ten tackles. Jimmy Riker had seven tackles as well as a fumble recovery.
Valpo Remains in Mid-Major Polls: Despite the loss last week against Drake, the Crusaders remain in the Mid-Major polls this week. Valpo has earned a #10 ranking in the latest The Sports Network Mid-Major Top-10 poll and sits 12th in Don Hansen's Football Gazette I-AA Mid Major Top-12 poll that came out on Monday. This is the second straight week that the Brown and Gold have appeared in the polls.
Ogden Leads All Division I-AA: Steve Ogden has been the Crusaders go-to receiver most of the season and his numbers back that up. His 128.8 receiving yards per game lead all of NCAA Division I-AA in that category. He has had at least 80 yards receiving in all four games, and had a career-high 202 yards in the season opener at Wisconsin Lutheran.
Crusaders Leave Little Laundry on the Field: Valpo has done a solid job of eliminating the little mistakes this season, as the Crusaders lead the Pioneer Football League in fewest penalties per game. Valpo has been flagged just ten times total on the season for an average of just 26.2 yards per game. The flag has not been thrown against the Crusaders more than three times in a game this year.
Dillon Leads Team in Tackles against Drake: Sean Dillon made a career-high 10 tackles for the Brown and Gold last Saturday against Drake. The redshirt-sophomore now has 22 stops on the season, including 2.5 for loss. In all of 2005, Dillon had 11 total tackles.
Riker Finds Loose Balls: Jimmy Riker recovered his second fumble of the season against the Bulldogs last week. The fifth-year senior now has fallen on six fumbles in his career with the Brown and Gold. In addition, Riker made his first sack of the season, bringing his career total to 14.5.
Faulkner and Henton Make Big Catches: Heading into 2005, no Crusader receiver other than Steve Ogden had made a collegiate reception. This year, Ben Faulkner and Nicholas Henton have both stepped up for the Crusaders. Faulkner has made nine catches, second most on the team, while Henton has six grabs for 170 yards and a touchdown. Henton is averaging 28.3 yards per catch, the highest average on the Valpo squad.
Lynn Scores on First Collegiate Carry: Josh Lynn found the end zone the first time he touched the football in his college career last Saturday. The freshman fullback scored from a yard out for Valpo's lone touchdown.
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.
Horton Named Preseason I-AA Mid-Major All-America Selection: Valpo running back Jeff Horton has been named a Division I-AA Mid-Major Preseason All-American by both Don Hansen's Football Gazette and The Sport's Network. Horton set Valpo's single season rushing record in 2005 with 1,358 yards.