Game #7: Saturday, Oct. 25, 12 p.m. CDT
Valpo (2-4, 1-2 PFL)
at Dayton (6-1, 3-0 PFL)
Welcome Stadium (11,000 - Field Turf) - Dayton, Ohio
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso hits the road for the first of two straight games away from Brown Field this Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Dayton, Ohio to battle the Dayton Flyers. Valpo is looking to bounce back from a loss to Butler last Saturday and even its mark in Pioneer Football League play.
On the Air: For the fourth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2008. 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 David Schroeder adding the color commentary. The game can also be heard online at www.valpoathletics.com.
Series Notes: Dayton leads the all-time series with the Crusaders 15-2 dating back to 1988 and has won four straight meetings between the two schools. The Flyers hold an 8-1 edge in Dayton, with the lone Crusader win being Valpo’s last victory in the series, a 33-28 victory on October 11, 2003. Last year the Flyers defeated the Crusaders 33-7 on October 20 at Brown Field.
Scouting Dayton: The Flyers have won two straight and are just a half-game out of first place in the PFL following a 41-22 victory at Davidson last Saturday afternoon. Dayton has allowed just 101 total points through seven games this year, including just 43 through the first three quarters of play. Quarterback Rob Florian has thrown for 1,448 yards and seven touchdowns this season while Ben Shappie has rushed for 443 yards and 11 scores. Defensively the Flyers are led by Steve McDonald who has 59 tackles, including 7.5 for loss. Sean Heenan has 10 tackles for loss, including six quarterback sacks for Dayton.
Wrapping Up Butler: Valpo scored just 21 seconds into the the game and the contest was tied at 21 late in the first half when the Bulldogs scored 27 unanswered points to record a 48-21 victory over the Crusaders in the Battle for the Hoosier Helmet last Saturday at Brown Field. Ross Wiemer rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns for the Brown and Gold while Sean McCarty caught his first collegiate touchdown pass. Matt Kobli threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 105 yards and another score for Butler.
Popper Breaks Big Returns: John Popper tallied 175 yards in kick returns on five attempts against Butler, breaking big returns of 58, 34, and 56 yards in the first quarter. He leads the PFL averaging 24.7 yards per kickoff return this season while his punt return average of 11.5 is sixth best in the league. He leads the PFL and is 36th nationally with 131.5 all-purpose yards per game on the season.
Curry Shares League Lead in Interceptions: Anthony Curry had yet another interception against Butler to give him five for the season, tying him with Donte’ Washington of Campbell for the PFL lead. He has had picks in four of the six games this season, including three over the past two contests.
McCarty’s First Catch a Big One: Red-shirt freshman wide receiver Sean McCarty made his first collegiate catch count Saturday against Butler, hauling in a 10-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 21.
Dillon League’s Top Tackler: Sean Dillon leads the Pioneer Football League averaging 8.8 tackles per contest this season. The fifth-year senior has 53 total stops, including five for loss. He has also recovered two fumbles and forced one to lead the Crusader defense.
Myers Taking Advantage of First Season: After red-shirting last season, Ryan Myers has grown into a key receiver for the Crusaders this year. He has made eight catches on the season, including a career-high three against Butler, for 128 yards and a touchdown. His 16.0-yard average per catch is second on the team this season.
Valpo’s Pass Defense Among the Nation’s Best: Valpo’s pass defense ranks sixth in all of NCAA I-FCS through week seven allowing just 140.3 yards per game through the air. Valpo’s defense has also intercepted 11 passes already this year.
Creating Turnovers: Valpo is +8 in turnover margin thus far this season after intercepting 11 passes and recovering seven fumbles. The 18 takeaways nearly matches the entire 2007 total of 20 through just six games. On the other side of the football, the Crusaders have thrown just four interceptions and lost six fumbles. The +1.33 takeaways per game ranks sixth nationally among all NCAA I-FCS schools.
Arnold Seventh in Total Offense: Senior quarterback Warren Arnold has moved past Ryan Doerffler (2003-2006) into sixth place on Valpo’s total offense list for a career after racking up 132 yards against Butler. Arnold now has 3,990 yards combined rushing and passing. Rob Rayl (1990-1993) is fifth with 4,007 yards, just 17 in front of Arnold.
Himmelwright in the Backfield: Kyle Himmelwright leads Valpo defenders with 6.0 tackles for loss this season, and has two interceptions.
Ogden Fourth All-Time in Receiving: Steve Ogden has moved into fourth place on Valpo’s career receiving list with 2,339 yards, passing Kevin Knutson’s (2001-2004) fourth place total of 2,308 for a career. He is still nearly 500 yards shy of Dan Bogar’s (1981-1984) third place total of 2,816 yards.
PFL Weekly Honors: Valparaiso was the recipient of all three Pioneer Football League Player of the Week honors following the Davidson game on October 11. Ross Wiemer earned Offensive accolades while Anthony Curry was the Defensive Player of the Week. David Hamaker grabbed the Special Teams award after accounting for 11 points.
Arnold to Move Into Eight All-Time in Passing: Warren Arnold jumped into eighth place all-time passing at Valparaiso with 131 yards against Butler last Saturday. The senior quarterback now has 2,836 passing yards, moving past Noel Schlegelmilch (1957-1960) and Cortie Wilson (1977-1979) on the all-time list. Arnold is 727 yards shy of Gordon Helms (1953-1955) seventh place mark of 3,563 yards.
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish in a tie for seventh place in the Pioneer Football League according to the head coaches. San Diego was selected to win the league. The PFL champion will face the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic on December 6.