Valparaiso (0-1, 0-0 PFL)
at Saint Joseph’s (0-0, 0-0 Great Lakes Valley Conference)
Game #2: Saturday, Sep. 7, 12 p.m.
Alumni Stadium (4,000 - Natural grass) - Rensselaer, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valpo travels to Rensselaer this Saturday for an exciting matchup against Saint Joseph’s. Saturday represents the season opener for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Pumas. Valparaiso and Saint Joseph’s tangled last season in Week 1. The visiting Pumas spoiled the Crusaders’ home opener with a late fourth-quarter drive to upend Valpo 36-34 at Brown Field.
On the Air: For the eighth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2013. All 11 games can be heard live on WVUR (95.1FM, Valparaiso), online through www.valpoathletics.com. Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play, with David Huseman adding the color commentary this week. Live stats will also be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Dale Carlson: Dale Carlson is 2-32 in his fourth season with the Crusaders, and 112-135-3 overall in his 25th 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.
Hey, I Know You: This will be the 65th game played between Saint Joseph’s and Valparaiso. The only team Valpo has played more times in school history is Butler (71). Saint Joseph’s leads the all-time series 34-28-2 and has won six consecutive over the Brown and Gold. Valpo won its 200th game in school history over the Pumas on October 26th, 1968.
Wrapping Up 2012: The Crusaders captured their only win of the season on the road last year by defeating Campbell, 41-21. Valpo ended the season 1-10 and 1-7 in PFL play, but returns plenty of experience for 2013, as the Crusaders bring back eight starters on both sides of the ball.
Scouting Saint Joseph’s: The Pumas begin their second season of competition in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Saturday. Saint Joseph’s has been picked to finish fourth in the 2013 GLVC coaches poll. Third-year head coach Cory Sanders returns 18 starters and 43 players from a squad that went 6-5 overall, 5-3 in conference last year (T-3rd). Under center for Saint Joseph’s is senior QB Billy VandeMerkt, while fifth-year senior wide receiver Julian Walker returns after a 2012 that saw him record 11 touchdown receptions and 1,082 receiving yards en route to Honorable Mention All-American honors.
Week in Review: Valpo dropped its season opener last Thursday night 69-10 to the University of North Dakota. The lone Crusader touchdown came on a 41-yard pass from Ben Lehman to Fred Gladney. Jake Hutson had a 100-yard offensive game as he rushed for 72 yards and registered 28 receiving yards. Valpo committed just two penalties the entire game and its only turnover came on a fumble with under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter. However, the big plays did the Crusaders in versus North Dakota. Three of UND’s first six touchdowns came on plays 64 yards or longer.
Hoffman Under Center: Redshirt junior quarterback Eric Hoffman is in his third season as the starter. Hoffman completed nearly 65.5% of his pass attempts a year ago, but struggled in the season opener recording six completions on 20 pass attempts for 41 yards against North Dakota. He’ll look to get back on track versus a Saint Joseph’s defense that surrendered nearly 2,500 yards in the air in 2012.
Team Captains: Valpo has three captains for the 2013 season. Redshirt sophomore running back Jake Hutson will represent the offense, while senior defensive back Alex Grask and sophomore linebacker Alex Green will represent the Crusader defense.
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 2013 championship.
Back in the Backfield: Sophomore running back Jake Hutson made an impact as a redshirt freshman in 2012. Hutson earned the most carries of any running back, rushing 152 times for 753 yards and eight touchdowns, and also tallied 35 receptions for 266 yards. Saint Joseph’s yielded 26 rushing TDs in 2012.
Catch Me If You Can: Five different receivers caught passes in last week’s opener. Redshirt junior Fred Gladney made a sensational catch on a Ben Lehman pass for a third-quarter touchdown. Hutson led the team with three receptions while Colin Marcott has emerged onto the Week 2 depth chart after two catches for ten yards.
Just for Kicks: Last Thursday was the first time since 2010 that the Crusaders punted with someone not named Greg Wood. Redshirt junior Mike Pando punted eight times in the North Dakota game, accumulating an average of 36.5 yards. Head coach Dale Carlson had freshman Jacob Newman kick the extra point, but sophomore Josh Young got the call on a 36-yard field goal (which he successfully made).
On the Defense: Seniors Pat Derbak and Alex Grask both recorded four solo tackles and two helpers in Week 1. Sophomore Drew White had his biggest game yet as a Crusader making four stops - including one for a loss - and forcing a fumble. John Guilford collected his first of what figures to be several sacks on the 2013 season. Junior Dale Cook was the other Crusader with a tackle for a loss as part of a three-stop night. After a difficult assignment in Greg Hardin last week, the Crusader secondary will again face a stiff challenge as Honorable Mention All-American wide receiver Julian Walker opens his senior season against the Brown and Gold.