Valparaiso (0-7, 0-4 PFL)
Game #8: Saturday, Oct. 27 - 1 p.m.
Marist (2-5, 1-3 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - ProGrass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso returns home as part of Family Weekend on the Valpo campus, hosting Marist on Parent’s Day at Brown Field Saturday afternoon in PFL action.
Previously: Playing on the road for the first time in nearly a month, Valparaiso gave up 631 yards of offense to Dayton Saturday afternoon in a 45-0 loss to the Flyers at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton ran for 473 yards on the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Crusaders mustered just 164 yards of offense, led by 60 rushing yards from redshirt freshman Jake Hutson
Next Up: Valpo heads southeast next weekend, making the trek to Buies Creek, N.C. to face off against Campbell for a noon CDT kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 3.
On the Air: For the eighth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2012. All 11 games can be heard live on WAKE (1500 AM, Valparaiso), online through www.valpoathletics.com or by downloading the WAKE Radio app for Android or iPhone devices. Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play.
Head Coach Dale Carlson: Dale Carlson is 1-28 in his third season with the Crusaders and 111-131-3 overall entering his 24th season as a collegiate head coach. He arrived at Valpo from Ohio Dominican where he 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 the 16th head coach in Valpo history, and just the seventh since 1946.
Series Notes: Valpo and Marist have met up just three times on the gridiron, facing off each of the last three seasons since the Red Foxes joined the PFL. Marist has won all three meetings between the two squads, including a 30-7 victory in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. last year. The teams have only met once on Brown Field, back in 2010, a game Marist won by a final of 51-7.
Scouting Marist: Marist enters this weekend’s game at 2-5 overall and 1-3 in PFL play, having lost three straight games, most recently a 34-27 overtime defeat at Drake. The Red Foxes were picked to finish sixth in the PFL this season. The five losses have come by a combined total of just 25 points, including four one-score games and last week’s overtime loss at Drake. Quarterback Chuckie Looney has completed nearly 60% of his passes for 1499 yards and 11 touchdowns, hitting wide receiver Mike Rios 27 times for 656 yards and five scores.
Wrapping Up 2011: The Crusaders captured their first win of the Dale Carlson era in the home finale last year by defeating Campbell, 34-31. Valpo ended the season 1-10 and 1-7 in PFL play, but returns plenty of experience for 2012, as six starters are back on both sides of the ball.
Breast Cancer Awareness Week: As with all athletic events this weekend at Valpo, Saturday’s football game is part of the Valparaiso Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s breast cancer awareness week, with the SAAC raising funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. T-shirts will be available for sale at Saturday’s game, and donations will be accepted as well. In support of the initiative, the Crusaders will be sporting pink chinstrap covers and socks during Saturday’s game, while Valpo’s coaches will wear hats with the pink ribbon on them.
Grask Wraps Them Up: Junior defensive back Alex Grask again was the Crusaders’ top tackler last Saturday at Dayton, matching his career best with 14 tackles, 10 of which were solo stops. Grask now has three double-digit efforts in the tackles column this season and ranks fifth in the PFL, averaging 10 tackles per game.
More Defensive Bests: Grask was one of three Crusaders who matched or set a career high for tackles last Saturday against the Flyers. After tallying just nine tackles in his first five games this year, sophomore linebacker Roberto Kelly recorded a career-best six tackles at Dayton. Redshirt sophomore lineman John Giovenco also set a new career high with six tackles against the Flyers, four of which were solo stops.
Wood With the Punt: Senior punter Greg Wood saw the most work of his career last Saturday, punting a career-high 11 times at Dayton. The All-PFL punter averaged 38 yards per punt, placing three inside the 20-yard line with a long of 53. On the season, Wood is averaging 39.4 yards per punt.
Hutson on the Run: Redshirt freshman running back Jake Hutson has taken advantage of a starting role the last two weeks to roll up the yards. Hutson carried for 98 yards two weeks ago against Drake and then rushed for 60 yards last time out at Dayton. The rookie currently ranks tenth in the PFL with 313 rushing yards this season.
Ground and Pound: Hutson’s effort in the rushing game against Drake led Valpo’s top rushing attack in over three years. Four Crusaders combined to carry the ball 41 times for 162 yards, the highest output on the ground by Valpo since running for 188 yards against Carthage on Sept. 26, 2009. Ryan Lehr had eight carries for 32 yards and a touchdown, while Jabril Baker carried five times for 27 yards.
Team Captains: Valpo entered the 2012 season with a pair of captains, with senior tight end Mike Gerton representing the offense and senior cornerback Alan Porter Jr. representing the defense. Due to a season-ending injury to Porter, junior safety Alex Grask has been appointed defensive captain for the rest of the season.
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 San Diego to take home the 2012 championship.