Valparaiso (0-4, 0-0 PFL)
Game #5: Saturday, Oct. 2, 12 p.m. CDT
at Dayton (3-1, 1-0 PFL)
Welcome Stadium (11,000 - Field Turf) - Dayton, Ohio
This Week in Crusader Football: After back-to-back weeks at home, Valparaiso returns to the road on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders visit the Buckeye State to battle Dayton. Valpo is looking for its first victory of the season after suffering a narrow two-point setback last week against Drake.
On the Air: For the sixth straight season the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2010. 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 Ryan Wronkowicz adding the color commentary this week. The game can also be heard live online at www.valpoathletics.com. Live stats will also be available for the game through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Dale Carlson: Dale Carlson is 0-4 in his first season with the Crusaders and 110-107-3 overall entering his 22nd season as a collegiate head coach. He arrived at Valpo from Ohio Dominican where he was 7-3 last season and 36-27 over six years. Carlson began the Ohio Dominican program from scratch in 2004, just as he did at Tri-State University prior to his tenure with the Panthers. He is now the 16th head coach in Valpo history, and just the seventh since 1946.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Dayton are meeting for the 20th time in a series that dates back to 1988. The Flyers have won the last six meetings between the two schools, including a 38-7 victory over the Crusaders last season at Brown Field. Valpo’s last win in the series came on October 11, 2003, a 33-28 triumph in Dayton as part of the Crusaders last Pioneer Football League championship season.
Wrapping Up Drake: The Crusaders fell behind 21-6 following the first play of the second half after the Bulldogs returned an interception for a touchdown, but Valpo battled back before falling 21-19 last Saturday on Homecoming at Brown Field. Bobby Wysocki and Chris Giehon both had touchdown runs and Nate Goergen found Sean McCarty for an eight-yard touchdown pass. Valpo had the ball in the closing minutes, but turned the ball over on downs as the Brown and Gold approached midfield.
Scouting Dayton: The Flyers have won back-to-back games following a 45-13 victory over Central State last Saturday. Dayton is a perfect 3-0 at home this season, and has scored at least 28 points in each of its four contests this year. Steve Valentino leads the Flyer offensive attack. The senior quarterback has thrown for 783 yards and seven touchdowns already this season while rushing for 255 more yards and a pair of scores. Defensively, Devon Langhorst has 26 total tackles, including 4.5 for loss. Three of the tackles for loss have been quarterback sacks and he has three other hurries.
The Nation’s Best Getting in the Backfield: Valparaiso has already registered 36 total tackles for loss this season after recording 13 more last week against Drake. The 9.0 average per game is tied with Texas Southern, Murray State, and Saint Francis (Pa.) for best in all of NCAA I-FCS. The Crusaders registered a season-high 14 tackles for loss at Franklin on September 11. Valpo is also tied for 15th in the nation, and shares the PFL lead, with 2.75 sacks per contest as well.
Sharing the Wealth Behind the Line: A variety of players have participated in the act of registering tackles for loss this season. While Grant Bushong leads the way with 4.5, 20 different players have recorded at least a share of a stop behind the line of scrimmage this year.
Walking Wounded: Valpo has suffered a rash of injuries already this season which has affected nearly every part of the game. A total of 36 different players have already drawn starting assignments. Not one position has been immune from the injuries, as even a punter (Greg Wood) and return specialist (Tim Bennett) have been sidelined.
Defense Steps Up Against Drake: Valpo’s defense had its best showing of the season last week against the Bulldogs, allowing just 210 total yards. The Crusaders allowed just 19 yards after halftime, including -6 in the final quarter, helping Valpo attempt to rally. The Brown and Gold gave up even run/pass splits as well, allowing just 104 yards on the ground and 106 through the air.
Well Behaved Men: Valparaiso has not been penalized in the first half in either of the last two games against Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) or Drake. In fact, Valpo has been flagged just three times for a total of 21 yards during those entire two contests. The Crusaders rank second in the PFL averaging just 27.8 yards per game in penalties while the opponents have been flagged for an average of 76.8 yards per contest, second most in the conference.
Who’s Throwing Today?: Nate Goergen stepped in last week in relief of Eric Lemon at quarterback and completed 9-of-14 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Lemon had completed 14 passes for 54 yards before being relieved. Goergen is 40-of-78 for 328 yards this season while Lemon has completed 36-of-63 for 238 yards.
Team Captains: Valpo has co-captains for the 2010 season. Senior defensive back Eli Crawford represents the defense while redshirt-sophomore Eddie Morelli represents the offense.
Crusaders Picked 10th in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish 10th in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the preseason poll. The prognosticators selected Dayton to take home the 2010 championship.
This and That: Valpo scored three touchdowns last week against Drake, the first time November 7, 2009 at Jacksonville the Brown and Gold had scored more than one touchdown in a game, a span of six games.