Valparaiso was unable to take advantage of several opportunities early in the game and committed several costly turnovers as the Crusaders fell to Saint Joseph's (Ind.) 43-14 on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field in Rensselaer, Ind.
The loss was the first of the season for the Crusaders away from Brown Field.
The Pumas jumped in front midway through the first quarter as Anthony Lindsey found Greg Ford down the left side for a 23-yard touchdown connection.
Valpo looked to answer immediately, driving 13 plays inside the Saint Joseph's five-yard line. A Puma sack on third-and-goal was nullified by a personal foul penalty, giving the Crusaders fresh life. However, an interception by Fred Blanton on the Puma three ended the threat.
The Crusader defense held, and Valpo's offense took over with good field position. After driving down inside the ten, the Puma's blocked a 23-yard field goal attempt and the game remained 7-0.
Saint Joseph's moved down field on the ensuing drive before settling for a 30-yard field goal off the foot of Michael Binder to increase the lead to 10-0. He added another field goal, this one from 41 yards, with just 51 seconds remaining in the first half as the Pumas took a 13-point advantage into the locker room.
Greg Ford increased the Pumas lead to 20-0 as he broke three tackles and found the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown run with 10:34 to play in the third quarter. Following a Crusader fumble, Lindsey hooked up with Julius Taylor for a five-yard scoring strike.
Trevor Jaskiw (Caro, Mich./Caro H.S.) made his first collegiate catch a memorable one with 6:00 to play in the third quarter, hauling in a 68-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia H.S.) to put the Brown and Gold on the scoreboard.
The Pumas added a safety with 2:31 remaining in the third as the Crusaders were called for intentional grounding in the end zone and the game headed into the final quarter with Saint Joseph's in front 29-7.
Lindsey threw his third touchdown pass of the day with a 14-yard touchdown toss to Dan Paulsen and Corrie Gregory blocked a punt and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown
Backup quarterback Zack Denny (Calumet City, Ill./Marian Catholic H.S.) led the Crusaders down field for a touchdown, scampering in from nine yards for his first career score. The sophomore carried the ball six times for 42 yards on the drive.
The Crusaders were held to just 94 yards rushing for the game and Doerffler finished 16-of-35 for 213 yards passing. Saint Joseph's totaled 401 total yards of offense with Lindsey throwing for 294 yards on 25-of-33 passing. Paulsen finished the game with 121 yards receiving.
The Crusaders were unable to take advantage of 11 Puma penalties in the game.
Valparaiso (2-4) will continue its three-game road trip next Saturday as the Crusaders head west to battle San Diego in Pioneer Football League action. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. CDT.