Head football coach Dave Cecchini announced his team's 2015 schedule Tuesday morning.
"Three of our first four games are against opponents who made the playoffs this past year, so we will find out early on how we stack up against top-notch competition," Cecchini said.
The Crusaders will open the season on Thursday, September 3rd at Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels touted a 9-4 record in 2014, with one of those losses coming at the hands of the Florida Gators in the regular season finale in Gainesville. No. 21 Indiana State defeated EKU 36-16 in the FCS playoffs. The Colonels return star running back Dy'Shawn Mobley. The former Kentucky Wildcat raced for 20 touchdowns while averaging a shade under six yards per carry. The 6:00 pm CT kickoff will represent the team's first meeting in 68 seasons.
Valparaiso will host Sacred Heart in its home opener on Saturday, September 12th. Hailing from Fairfield, Connecticut, the Pioneers finished last season with a 9-3 record and a 5-1 mark in Northeastern Conference action. Sacred Heart boasted a top 10 defense this past season including the nation's best red zone defense. SHU also finished in the top five of the FCS in 3rd down defense (2nd, 26.3%), 4th down defense (1st, 23.1%), blocked kicks (3rd, 8), interceptions (4th, 20), and rushing defense (3rd, 86.3). The Pioneers fell 44-22 to Fordham in the first round of the playoffs.
Valpo's final non-league game brings the College of Faith (Arkansas) to Brown Field the following Saturday. The Warriors will begin their inaugural season in 2015.
Pioneer Football League play will commence on Saturday, September 26th when the defending PFL champion San Diego Toreros come to town. The Brown and Gold will hit the road the following two weeks with tilts against Davidson (Oct. 3) and Drake (Oct. 10).
The Dayton Flyers kick off a two-game homestand on October 17th. Valpo and Stetson will square off for the first time the following Saturday.
The Crusaders will have two weeks to prepare for Butler (Nov. 7) in Indianapolis as their bye week falls on Halloween. Morehead State will make the trek to Northwest Indiana on November 14th as Valpo will seek revenge for a 48-47 loss to the Eagles in Kentucky this past October.
Valpo will close out its regular season on November 21st at Jacksonville.
"Our players are very excited to be able to play games against teams like Eastern Kentucky and Sacred Heart. We are true competitors, and all true competitors embrace the challenge of proving themselves against the best of the best," Cecchini concluded.