Game #1: Saturday, Sept. 2, 12 p.m. CDT
Trinity International (0-0, 0-0 MSFA) at Valpo (1-0, 0-0 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000-Grass), Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso opens the 2006 home campaign on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders entertain Trinity International. The Crusaders are coming off of a 54-0 victory over Wisconsin Lutheran in the season opener last Saturday.
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: Saturday marks the first meeting all-time between Valparaiso and Trinity International. The two schools will meet again next year in Deerfield, Ill.
Scouting Trinity International: Trinity International, a NAIA program, dropped its season opener 25-7 at Malone last Saturday. The Trojans are led by Joe Lehman, a NAIA East Region Third Team selection last season by Don Hansen's Football Gazette. In addition, Kellen Cottrell and Josh Tooley each registered double figure tackle totals last week for TIU. Offensively, Ryan Thorson returns at quarterback for his second season. In the opener, he was 12-of-20 for 147 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown strike to David Grant.
Last Week: Valpo opened its 2006 season in impressive fashion with a convincing 54-0 shutout at Wisconsin Lutheran. Jeff Horton rushed for 169 yards and four touchdowns while Ryan Doerffler and Steve Ogden hooked up for two more scores. Ogden finished the game with five catches for 202 yards. The Crusader defense limited Wisconsin Lutheran to just 70 total yards for the game, including two on the ground.
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.
Crusaders All-Time in Home Openers: Valparaiso is 204-177-7 all-time at Brown Field and has posted a 46-37-2 mark in their home opener over the past 85 years. Last year, the Crusaders dropped their home opener to Morehead State 48-7.
Horton Sets School Rushing Record: Senior running back Jeff Horton set a new school rushing record on Saturday afternoon at Wisconsin Lutheran. With his 37-yard scamper in the third quarter, Horton surpassed Joe Pahr's (1949-1951) 50-year old rushing mark of 2,326 yards. Horton now has 2,337 career rushing yards with ten games to go in the regular season.
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.
Ogden Has Career Day in Season Opener: Steve Ogden had a career afternoon in Valpo's season opener at Wisconsin Lutheran, a homecoming for the redshirt-sophomore. Ogden, a native of Wauwatosa, Wis., lives less than five miles from Warrior Field. In his return, he made five catches for 202 yards while finding the end zone twice.
Valpo's Offense/Defense Among Nation's Best in Week One: Valparaiso is ranked second in all of NCAA I-AA in both total offense and total defense after the season opener at Wisconsin Lutheran. The Crusader offense totalled 503 yards, trailing just Duquesne (527) while the defense allowed just 70 yards and trails just Liberty (57) in the national rankings.
Koepke Shines on Defense: Ryan Koepke had a big opening game for the Brown and Gold on defense. The redshirt-sophomore registered seven tackles, including three for loss, while registering one of two Valpo sacks in the opener (Andy Jackson recorded the other). Koepke had 41 tackles in his rookie campaign last year.
Batiste Finds the End Zone in First Action with Valpo: Freshman Dennis Batiste capped off his first collegiate action in a memorable way for the Crusaders, scoring on a 25-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter for the Brown and Gold's final points of the game. Batiste finished the game with seven carries for 58 yards.
Firing on All Cylinders: Valparaiso's offense appeared to fire on all cylinders throughout the first three quarters against Wisconsin Lutheran. During one stretch, the Crusaders scored on seven of eight possessions, the only one not resulting in points occurring when time expired at the end of the first half. Valpo scored six touchdowns during the span, while capping it off with a field goal.
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. San Diego was picked to win the league followed by Dayton.
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.