Game #6: Saturday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m. CDT
San Diego (4-0, 1-0 PFL)
at Valpo (3-2, 0-1 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - Grass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso returns to Brown Field for the first time in over a month on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders entertain San Diego in the annual Homecoming game. Valpo will play its next four games at home throughout the month of October.
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: San Diego leads the all-time series with Valpo 9-5 dating back to the first meeting during the 1993 season. The Toreros have won three straight meetings between the two schools, including last year’s 68-7 win in California. San Diego holds a slim 4-3 series edge at Brown Field following a win during the 2005 season. Valpo’s last victory over San Diego came at Brown Field during the Crusaders’ PFL championship season on October 18, 2003, a 41-34 triumph.
Scouting San Diego: The Toreros are among the nation’s leaders in offense as San Diego is averaging 503.3 yards per game and scoring 46.3 points per contest, both second in all of NCAA-FCS. Quarterback Josh Johnson is 72-of-89 for 1,090 yards on the season and has thrown 16 touchdowns without an interception. Last week he threw for six scores and ran for another in San Diego’s 56-9 victory over Butler in the PFL opener. Defensively, Ronnie Pentz leads the Toreros with 35 tackles while Eric Bakhtiari has 10 tackles for loss, including 7.5 sacks. JT Rogan leads all kick returners in FCS averaging 51.4 yards per return, including a 94-yard touchdown return earlier this year.
Last Week: Valparaiso opened its PFL season at Drake dropping a 48-20 decision to the Bulldogs. Drake led 34-6 at the break. Jeff Horton rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries while Ross Wiemer added 85 yards on the ground. The Crusaders finished the game with 326 yards rushing in and 469 total yards. Dan Van Aartsen kicked a career long 44-yard field goal for the Crusaders while Warren Arnold and John Popper each rushed for a touchdown. Ryan Koepke led the Crusaders with nine tackles while Sean Dillon had six stops as well as forced a fumble and blocked a kick.
Dillon Named PFL Defensive Player of the Week: Sean Dillon was named the October 1 Pioneer Football League Player of the Week after making six tackles, including one for loss, at Drake last Saturday. In addition, Dillon forced a fumble, blocked a kick, and broke up a pass.
Van Aartsen Has Career Long Boot: Dan Van Aartsen kicked a career long 44-yard field goal midway through the first quarter at Drake. The freshman kicker is now 3-of-4 on field goal tries this season.
Crusaders Among Nation’s Top Defenses: Valparaiso currently ranks 10th in NCAA Division I-FCS in total defense and is third in rushing defense. The Crusaders currently are allowing just 60.0 yards per game on the ground and 270.0 yards per game total. The Crusaders are also third in the PFL in rushing defense as Morehead State (12.8 ypg) and Dayton (55.4 ypg) rank 1-2 in both the league and the nation.
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 last weekend at Drake. He finished the game with 90 yards rushing, giving him 586 through five games this year.
Ogden Among Valpo’s Top-10 All-Time in Receiving: Steve Ogden has moved into sixth place on Valpo’s career receiving list with 1,615 yards, passing Doug Holok’s total of 1,600 from 1990-1994. Ogden is just 21 yards shy of the Crusaders’ top-five in receiving as Bert Bleke (1964-1966) tallied 1,636 yards in his three-year career. Kevin Knutson (2001-2004) ranks fourth all-time with 2,308 yards.
Horton Fourth on All-Time Scoring List: Jeff Horton has 182 career points moving him into third place all-time in a Crusader uniform past Ozzie Young (1991-1995). Horton needs 60 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.
Horton Registers 12th 100-Yard Game: For his career, Jeff Horton has rushed for more than 100 yards 12 times, tied for 10th among all active players in NCAA I-FCS. Among I-FCS mid-majors, only Scott Phaydavong of Drake has more 100 yard games (29). Horton has three 100+ rushing days this season.
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.
Himmelwright Earns Player of the Week Honors: Starting cornerback Kyle Himmelwright was named the Pioneer Football League’s Defensive Player of the Week on September 17 following his play at Kalamazoo. The redshirt-sophomore led the Crusaders will 11 tackles, including 10 solos, while also intercepting a pair of passes. His second interception started Valpo’s go-ahead scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
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.