Game #1: Saturday, Sept. 5, 12 p.m. CDT
Valpo (0-0, 0-0 PFL)
at Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) (0-1, 0-0 GLFC)
Alumni Stadium (4,000 - Grass), Rensselaer, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: The 89th season of Valparaiso University football kicks off on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders travel to Rensselaer to battle Northwest Indiana rival Saint Joseph’s. Head coach Stacy Adams leads 34 letterwinners into the new season, including five starters on each side of the football.
On the Air: For the fifth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2009. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso) and WE-FM (95.9-FM, Michigan City). Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play with Dick Harlan adding the color commentary for this week’s game. The game can also be heard live online at www.valpoathletics.com. Live stats will not be available online for this week’s contest.
Series Notes: In one of the longest rivalries in the program’s history, the Crusaders and Pumas will meet on the gridiron for the 62nd time on Saturday afternoon. Former foes in the Indiana Collegiate Conference, Valpo and Saint Joseph’s first met back in 1921, a 52-0 Crusader victory. The Pumas lead the all-time series, though, 31-28-2, having won each of the last three contests between the two schools, including a 43-14 victory in Rensselaer in the last meeting on October 7, 2006.
Head Coach Stacy Adams: Stacy Adams is in his fifth season at the helm of the Crusader football program, taking over the team prior to the 2005 season. Adams has a 14-30 record both overall and at Valpo. He is the 15th head coach in Crusader history, and just the sixth since 1946.
Scouting Saint Joseph’s: The Pumas opened their 2009 season last Saturday, falling 37-7 at home against Hillsdale. Mike Hladik threw for 134 yards while Michael Cochran added Saint Joseph’s lone touchdown run. The Pumas surrendered 426 yards of total offense to Hillsdale, including 295 through the air. Saint Joseph’s is picked to finish second in the Great Lakes Football Conference, and is a NCAA Division II program.
Wrapping Up 2008: Valparaiso went 3-8 overall and 2-6 in the Pioneer Football League one year ago, finishing in eighth place. Offensive lineman Ryan Kozey earned First Team All-PFL honors prior to graduating. Valpo led the PFL in rushing averaging more than 175 yards per game on the ground while ranking 11th in all of NCAA I-FCS in pass defense.
Team Captains: Four players will serve as team captains for the Brown and Gold this season. On the offensive side of the football, Matt Upshaw and Dave Wisniewski were voted as team captains while on the defensive end Zac Griffin and Anthony Curry were selected as captains.
Valpo in Season Openers: As the 2009 season begins, Valparaiso will look to improve upon its 46-39-3 record all-time in season openers. When opening the year on the road, the Crusaders have posted a 23-15-2 mark in the first game of the year. Last year Valpo saw its string of three straight season opening victories snapped as the Brown and Gold fell 21-0 at Saint Francis (Ill.) in a driving rain storm in Joliet, Ill.
Five All-League Selections Return: Valparaiso returns five players that were recognized with All-PFL honors last season. Ross Wiemer and John Popper were both named to the Second Team while Ryan Myers, Adam Rundh, and Anthony Curry earned Honorable Mention accolades.
Curry Looks for More Picks: Anthony Curry had seven interceptions in 2008, ranking third nationally in interceptions per game. He enters his senior year with 10 career picks, while also starting the season one tackle shy of 100 for his career.
Wiemer Nearing Top-10 All-Time in Rushing: Ross Wiemer enters the 2009 season with 1,334 career yards on the ground in his first three seasons wearing the Brown and Gold. The senior needs 310 more yards to match Brett Durham (1998-2001) for 10th place on the Crusaders’ all-time rushing list.
In Their Own Words: Follow the Crusaders from an up close and personal stand point online this season through the team’s official team blog at http://blogs.valpo.edu/football. Head coach Stacy Adams will share his thoughts throughout the season along with seniors Dave Wisniewski and Adam Rundh and redshirt sophomore Matt Upshaw.
A New Face in the League: For the second straight year the Pioneer Football League has expanded prior to the start of the season. This season, Marist joins the PFL as the conference’s 10th member. Marist is located in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish in ninth place in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the head coaches. San Diego was selected to win the league with Dayton and Jacksonville sharing the second spot. The PFL champion will face the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic on December 5.