Game #8: Saturday, Oct. 20, 1 p.m. CDT
Dayton (6-1, 2-1 PFL)
at Valpo (3-3, 1-2 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - Grass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Following a victory in the Battle for the Hoosier Helmet last weekend, Valparaiso returns to Brown Field again this Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host Dayton. Valpo is looking to move up in the Pioneer Football League standings while the Flyers are looking to keep pace in the race for the top spot in the league.
On the Air: For the third straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2007. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso), WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso), 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: Dayton holds a 14-2 advantage all-time against the Crusaders in a series that dates back to the 1988 season. The Flyers have won the last three meetings following a 51-7 triumph in Dayton, Ohio last year. The Flyers hold a 7-1 record at Brown Field, with Valpo’s lone victory coming on November 4, 2000, by the score of 16-15. The Crusaders’ last win against Dayton came on October 11, 2003, a 33-28 triumph in Dayton.
Scouting Dayton: The Flyers enter the game ranked among the top teams in the NCAA I-FCS Mid-Major polls. Dayton has won two straight following a 38-28 victory over Davidson at home last Saturday. Quarterback Kevin Hoyng has thrown for 1,908 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season for the Flyers. He also leads the team rushing with 288 yards on 86 carries. J. Michael Jonard leads the Dayton receiving corps with 43 catches for 562 yards while Matt Champa has 33 grabs for 569 yards. Defensively, Brian Kelly leads the way with 55 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a fumble recovery. Scott Vossler has nine tackles for loss, including six sacks, and four forced fumbles.
Last Week: Valparaiso rallied from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit with 28 points in the final frame to defeat Butler 42-37 at Brown Field last Saturday to win the Battle for the Hoosier Helmet. Warren Arnold was 23-of-35 for 298 yards throwing the football while Steve Ogden hauled in 13 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns. Mozelle McHenry, Ross Weimer, and Jeff Horton also ran for scores as well. Matt Watkins and Sean Dillon had eight tackles each to lead the defense.
Ogden Among Valpo’s Top-5 All-Time in Receiving While Nearing 2,000 Career Yards: Steve Ogden has moved into fifth place on Valpo’s career receiving list and is nearing the 2,000-yard mark for his career. Ogden now has 101 catches for 1,862 yards. Kevin Knutson (2001-2004) ranks fourth all-time with 2,308 yards.
Crusaders Among Nation’s Top Defenses: Valparaiso currently ranks 18th in NCAA Division I-FCS in total defense and is 16th in rushing defense. The Crusaders currently are allowing just 106.9 yards per game on the ground and 313.1 yards per game total.
Red Zone Success: Valparaiso has marched into opponents red zone 27 times and has come away with points on 23 occasions. The 85.2% scoring rate is tops in the PFL. Of the four times the Crusaders have failed to score, three of the trips resulted in the end of a half while the fourth was a missed field goal attempt.
Hoosier Helmet Returns to Valpo: With the victory over Butler this season, the Hoosier Helmet comes to Valparaiso for the first time. The travelling trophy between the two schools was started during the 2006 season, and will continue to be awarded to the winner of the Indiana rivalry.
Horton Holds School Rushing Record, Surpasses 3,000 Yards: Fifth-year senior running back Jeff Horton became Valparaiso’s all-time leading rusher last season, passing Joe Pahr (1949-1951). This year, Horton has become the first Crusader in history to surpass 3,000 yards in a career, doing so at Drake. He has 3,023 career yards.
Horton Fourth on All-Time Scoring List: Jeff Horton has 188 career points moving him into third place all-time in a Crusader uniform past Ozzie Young (1991-1995). Horton needs 54 more points for the school record. Rob Giancola (2000-2004) is the school record-holder with 242 points while Joe Pahr (1949-1951) is second eight points behind Giancola.
Valpo Controls the Clock: The Crusaders are averaging nearly five minutes more with the ball than their opponents this year, with an average of 32:27 per game compared with the opposition’s 27:33.
Crusaders Find Way into Poll: Valparaiso is ranked ninth this week in Don Hansen’s Football Gazette Mid-Major poll.
Crusaders Set School Rushing Record in Opener: Valparaiso broke a 53-year old single game rushing record with 389 yards on the ground in the season opener against Saint Francis (Ill.). The Crusaders carried the ball 59 times in the game, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Valpo’s previous best rushing day was at DePauw on October 16, 1954 when the Crusaders tallied 387 yards.
Good Work Gets Rewarded for Watkins: Matt Watkins has been recognized for his efforts in the community, having been named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He has participated in "Read for Fun Day" activities at Central Elementary School, helped raise money and walked in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life as well as participating in the Merrillville Diabetes Walk.
Three Earn Player of the Week Honors: Valparaiso has earned several weekly awards from the league office this season. Kyle Himmelwright was named the Pioneer Football League’s Defensive Player of the Week on September 17 following his play at Kalamazoo while Sean Dillon earned the same honor on October 1 following the Drake game. John Popper was the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week on October 8 following the San Diego game after returning a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.
Valpo Picked Eighth in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish eighth place in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the head coaches. The PFL champion will face the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic at year’s end.