Game #4: Saturday, Oct. 4, 4 p.m. CDT
Valpo (1-2, 0-0 PFL) at
San Diego (4-0, 2-0 PFL)
Torero Stadium (7,000, Grass) - San Diego, Calif.
This Week in Crusader Football: After a week off from action, Valparaiso will return to the gridiron this week to open up Pioneer Football League play at San Diego. The game will be a part of Homecoming West for Valpo, and will mark the kickoff to the Crusaders’ 16th PFL season.
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: Valparaiso and San Diego are meeting for the 16th time in a series that dates back to 1993. The Toreros hold a 10-5 all-time advantage, including a 5-2 edge in San Diego. Valpo last won at Torero Stadium 32-10 on October 28, 2000. Overall, the Toreros have won four straight meetings, including a 41-27 victory in Valparaiso last season. The Crusaders’ last victory came on October 18, 2003, a 41-34 victory at home.
Scouting San Diego: The Toreros, the preseason favorite in the PFL, are a perfect 2-0 in league play already after defeating Drake 43-17 last Saturday afternoon. San Diego is leading the PFL averaging 41.0 points per game and piling up over 400 yards per game offensively. Quarterback Seb Trujillo has thrown for 1,031 yards already while Phil Morelli is averaging 90.0 yards per game on the ground. Receiver John Matthews has caught eight touchdowns in four games and is averaging 131.2 yards per contest. The Toreros are converting on 52% of their third downs and are a perfect 7-for-7 on fourth down.
Wrapping Up Marian (Ind.): Valparaiso jumped out to a 10-0 lead at halftime behind a 21-yard field goal by David Hamaker and a two-yard touchdown run by Jake Riedel. The Crusaders could not hold the advantage though, and a William Stubbs two-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Knights the lead and a 13-10 victory at Brown Field two Saturday’s ago. Warren Arnold threw for 207 yards, including 97 to Steve Ogden, to lead the offense.
A Big Turnaround for the Defense: Valpo’s defense has been vastly improved from last year through three games this season. The Crusaders are allowing just 14.7 points per game this year after surrendering 29.2 points per contest in 2007. In addition, Valpo is giving up just 288.3 yards in total offense thus far compared with last year’s 347.6.
Creating Turnovers: Valpo is +5 in turnover margin thus far this season after intercepting seven passes and recovering three fumbles. The 10 takeaways are already half of its entire 2007 total. On the other side of the football, the Crusaders have thrown just one interception and lost four fumbles.
Valpo in PFL Openers: The Crusaders are 5-10 in PFL openers during the first 15 years of the league’s existence. Valpo has faced San Diego in four previous openers for the Brown and Gold. Last year the Crusaders fell to Drake 48-20 in the conference opener after downing Morehead State’s in the 2006 opener.
Mack Tallies Career High in Tackles: Andrew Mack recorded a career-high with 10 tackles two weeks against Marian (Ind.), including 0.5 for loss. His previous high had been seven last season against Morehead State. On the season, Mack is second on the team with 22 stops.
Change in Possession: Valpo has held onto the football for an average of 16:58 in the first half, but its defense has been on the field for most of the second half as Valpo has spent just 11:00 with the ball.
Arnold Moves Into Eighth in Total Offense: Senior quarterback Warren Arnold moved past Cortie Wilson (1977-1979) into eighth place on Valpo’s total offense list for a career after racking up 237 yards against Marian (Ind.). Arnold now has 3,574 yards combined rushing and passing. Gordon Helms (1953-1955) is seventh all-time with 3,581 total yards, just seven yards ahead of the senior. Ryan Doerffler (2003-2006) ranks sixth with 3,861 yards, 287 ahead of Arnold.
Ogden Fourth All-Time in Receiving: Steve Ogden has moved into fourth place on Valpo’s career receiving list with 2,332 yards, passing Kevin Knutson’s (2001-2004) fourth place total of 2,308 for a career. Ogden hauled in eight passes for 97 yards against Marian (Ind.) to move up the list. He is still nearly 500 yards shy of Dan Bogar’s (1981-1984) third place total of 2,816 yards.
Hamaker Makes First Career Field Goal: David Hamaker made his first collegiate field goal attempt, a 21-yarder, against Marian (Ind.) and made his only extra point attempt against the Knights.
Koepke Surpasses 200 Career Tackles: Senior linebacker Ryan Koepke passed the 200 tackle mark for his career against Marian (Ind.) with seven stops. He now has 202 tackles over his four years wearing the Brown and Gold.
Valpo’s Pass Defense the Nation’s Best: Valpo’s pass defense put up some impressive numbers through three games this season. The Crusaders are tops in all of NCAA I-FCS through week five allowing 48.67 yards per game through the air while their passing efficiency defense also ranks number one at 51.70. Valpo’s defense has also intercepted seven passes already this year.
Arnold to Move Into the Top-10 in Passing: Warren Arnold is just 75 passing yards shy of moving into the top-10 all-time at Valparaiso. The senior quarterback enters play with 2,571 passing yards, trailing Jon Dimitri’s (1965-1967) 10th place mark of 2,646. With 218 more yards, Arnold would move all the way into eighth place. Arnold threw for a season-high 207 yards against Marian (Ind.).
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish in a tie for seventh place in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the head coaches. San Diego was selected to win the league followed by Dayton. The PFL champion will face the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic on December 6.