Game #7: Saturday, Oct. 24, 1 p.m. CDT
Dayton (5-1, 3-0 PFL)
at Valpo (1-5, 0-3 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - ProGrass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso returns to Brown Field on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders play host to Dayton. The Brown and Gold will be celebrating Parents’ Weekend at the school and the program’s parents will all be recognized prior to kickoff.
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 Andy Viano adding the color commentary. The game can also be heard live online at www.valpoathletics.com. Live stats will be available for the game through www.valpoathletics.com.
Series Notes: Valpo and Dayton are meeting for the 19th time in a series that dates back to 1988. The Flyers hold a 16-2 all-time advantage and have won five straight following a 43-7 win over the Crusaders last year in Dayton, Ohio. Valpo’s last win in the series came in 2003, 33-28, at Brown Field, site of both Crusader wins in the series.
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 15-35 record both overall and at Valpo. He is the 15th head coach in Crusader history, and just the sixth since 1946.
Scouting Dayton: The Flyers arrive in Valparaiso this weekend tied for the top of the Pioneer Football League standings and riding a five-game winning streak following a 17-0 victory over Davidson last weekend in Dayton. Linebacker Joe Ries is the reigning PFL Defensive Player of the Week after two interceptions and eight tackles last week while James Vercammen leads the Flyer defense on the season with 71 total tackles, including 9.5 for loss. Offensively, Steve Valentino has thrown for more than 1,000 yards since being named the starter five weeks ago.
Wrapping Up Butler: Valpo took a 14-10 lead into the fourth quarter, but two late touchdowns by the Bulldogs allowed the hosts to register a 23-14 win over the Crusaders last Saturday in Indianapolis, Ind. Eli Crawford returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown and Quinn Schaefer scored his first career touchdown from a yard out to account for Valpo’s scores.
Thinking Pink: The Crusaders will be wearing pink wristbands on Saturday in honor of “Think Pink” week for Valparaiso Athletics. The game is one of seven events this week that are being held in support of Susan G. Koman for the Cure and breast cancer awareness.
Making the Picks: Eli Crawford made his team-leading third interception of the season last Saturday at Butler and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown to give the Crusaders a 7-3 lead early in the third quarter. The junior defensive back now has eight career picks in two-and-a-half seasons.
Who’s Carrying the Ball Now?: Twelve different players have had at least one rushing attempt for Valpo this season. Isaac Wildermuth had a season-high 23 carries for 87 yards last week for the Crusaders one week after Bobby Wysocki rushed for over 100 yards against San Diego. Wysocki leads the team in rushing with 203 yards on the ground this season.
MASH Unit: Valparaiso has fallen victim to the injury bug throughout the season. Out of 22 starting positions between offense and defense, 33 different players have earned at least one start this season. Only 11 players have started all six games for the Brown and Gold this season.
Pinning Them Deep: Punter Mitch Secrest had one of his best outings of the season at Butler last week, landing three of his four punts inside the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line to help the Crusaders in the field position battle.
Satur Has Career Day: Roger Satur had a career afternoon down at the Butler Bowl last Saturday afternoon. He made nine tackles, including seven of the solo variety, to lead the Crusader defense. The junior defensive back also made his first collegiate interception.
Perfect on Point Afters: Valparaiso has made all 10 extra point tries following touchdowns this season. The Crusaders and Morehead State are the only schools in the PFL in PAT tries this year. Chris Smith has made all seven of his attempts while Andrzej Skiba is 3-for-3 himself.
Bennett Leads the Way: Tim Bennett continues to lead Valpo receivers with 20 catches for 317 yards this season. He is one of 13 Crusaders to register at least one catch on the season. Bennett has also taken over the kickoff return duties of late, and is averaging 23.0 yards per return. His 83.5 all-purpose yards per game rank ninth in the Pioneer Football League.
Getting Into the Backfield: Valpo ranks 24th nationally averaging 7.17 tackles for loss per game. Eighteen different Crusaders have had a hand in bring a ball carrier down behind the line of scrimmage, led by Nikko Carson who has nine, including five quarterback sacks. James Joos has added six tackles for loss while Ian Altieri has 5.5 this year.
Player of the Week: Defensive lineman Nikko Carson recorded four sacks at Drake, the most in a single game in the NCAA-FCS this season. The sophomore earned Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Week honors for his work, which included eight total tackles, all of the solo variety. His four sacks also tie the Pioneer Football League’s single game record in that category.
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.
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.
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.