Dayton (6-4, 4-3 PFL)
at Valparaiso (1-9, 1-6 PFL)
Game #11: Saturday, Nov. 16, 1 p.m.
Brown Field (5,000 - ProGrass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: The Crusaders will host the Dayton Flyers in the season finale Saturday at Brown Field. Valparaiso will honor eleven seniors for their service to the program prior to kickoff. The Brown and Gold will have a new voice on the sidelines as Mike Gravier will assume head coaching duties. Valpo enters Saturday’s tilt with 211 wins and 211 losses all-time at Brown Field.
On the Air: For the eighth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network is 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 Dave Huseman adding the color commentary this week. Video streaming will be available at valpoathletics.com on gameday. Live stats will also be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Vacant: Assistant coach Mike Gravier will assume head coaching duties Saturday after Valpo and former head coach Dale Carlson parted ways last Sunday. Dale Carlson was 3-40 in his four seasons with the Crusaders, and 113-143-3 overall as a collegiate head coach. Saturday will be Gravier’s first game as a head coach. He had been serving as assistant head coach/offensive line coach/run game coordinator in his first season under Carlson.
All-Time Series: Dayton leads the all-time series 20-2 over Valpo including nine consecutive victories. The Crusaders’ last win over the Flyers came on Oct. 11th, 2003. Dayton defeated the Brown and Gold 45-0 last October at Welcome Stadium.
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 Dayton: The Flyers enter Saturday’s game on a two-game losing skid. Dayton is mathematically eliminated from PFL Championship contention, but the Flyers are the only team in the league to defeat San Diego. It was announced yesterday that the Toreros self-withdrew from a potential PFL Championship over concerns of violations stemming from financial aid. Dayton ranks third in the league in total defense, yielding 367.1 yards per game. The health of their two playmakers on offense is in question. Quarterback Will Bardo and running back Connor Kacsor are both listed second on the depth chart and are questionable for Saturday’s game. Bardo has compiled 2,186 yards of total offense, while Kacsor has amassed 851 rushing yards on the season in addition to nine touchdowns. Bardo and Kacsor comprise 80.3% of Dayton’s total offense. Luke Johnson is expected to make the start under center for the Flyers. The redshirt sophomore made his first career start as QB at Drake last Saturday. Johnson was 18-for-37 for 214 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the 36-10 loss in Des Moines to the Bulldogs. Three Flyer receivers have caught 30 or more passes this season. Gary Hunter is averaging 74.1 receiving yards per game this season. Rick Chamberlin is 46-20 in his sixth season as head coach of the Flyers. He spent 28 years as an assistant at Dayton before being promoted to head coach in January of 2008. Chamberlin is a Dayton Flyer through and through as he was a player there and started out as a graduate assistant before climbing the ladder to the top spot. Dayton has won a share of two PFL titles (2009, 2010) with Chamberlin at the helm. Special teams have been an area of strength for the Flyers. Dayton is second in the PFL in punting with 36.5 net yards/punt. Colin Monnier has been a force on defense for Dayton all season. The redshirt senior leads the Flyers in tackles (95), and tackles for a loss (10.5). Senior defensive end Pat Dowd is tied for second in the PFL with 9.0 sacks. Dowd also boasts 10.0 tackles for a loss this season. Redshirt freshman kicker William Will is 9-for-10 on field goals in 2013. His season long is 38 yards.
Week in Review: The Crusaders lost 72-12 to Butler as the Bulldog offense collected eight touchdown drives of 50 yards or more. Valpo scored first for the sixth time this season, but Butler ran away with the game early, scoring 38 consecutive points. Eric Hoffman threw for 205 yards, 86 of which came on the touchdown pass to Tony Taibi. The 86-yard touchdown throw was the pair’s second in as many weeks.
Checking the Leaderboard: Sophomore Alex Green is ninth in all of FCS football with an average of 10.6 tackles per game. Eric Hoffman ranks 15th in passing yards with 2,599. The Valparaiso offense as a whole checks in at 79th in total offense at 351.8 yards per contest. The passing unit is 21st in FCS football with an average of 271.3 yards/game.
Record Watch: Quarterback Eric Hoffman owns the school record for most career passing completions with 647. Hoffman is currently 204 passing yards behind Scott Lange for 2nd all-time in Valpo history. He needs 150 yards of total offense Saturday to surpass Nick Browder for second all-time in that category as well.
This is Your Captain Speaking: 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.
Throw It Around: Three different receivers have registered at least 30 receptions this season. Cassara and Kuramata have been serving as Hoffman’s top two targets with Fred Gladney sidelined. Tony Taibi caught a 73-yard touchdown pass at Drake in Week 9 and followed it up with back-to-back 86-yard TD catches in Weeks 10 and 11.
Guilford Tough: Sophomore John Guilford is putting the finishing touches on a solid sophomore campaign. The defensive end has recorded a tackle for a loss in each of the last seven tilts, as well as a sack in six of the team’s ten games.