Davidson (2-1, 0-0 PFL) at Valparaiso (1-2, 0-0 PFL)
Game #4: Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m.
Brown Field (5,000 - ProGrass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: The Valparaiso University football team welcomes Davidson to town this Saturday afternoon for the annual Homecoming game. Coming off of a victory last Saturday over Trinity International, the Crusaders will be looking to start off PFL play with a win.
Last Time Out: Freshman quarterback Jimmy Seewald made his first career start a memorable one, matching a program record with five touchdown passes in Valpo’s 49-24 victory over Trinity International. The Crusaders racked up 527 yards of total offense in the win over the Trojans. Seewald bookended his day with TD passes of 61 and 14 yards on his first and last play, finishing the game 22-of-29 for 345 yards and the five scores. Junior Jarrett Morgan ran 14 times for 106 yards and also caught five passes for 83 yards, scoring twice.
Looking Ahead: Valpo will continue PFL play on the road next weekend, traveling to Morehead, Ky. for a noon CT kickoff at Morehead State.
Following the Crusaders: For the 11th straight season, WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) is home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2016. Todd Ickow returns on play-by-play for Valpo, while David Huseman will provide the color commentary on Saturday. The game will also be streamed live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Links for the live audio, video and stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Dave Cecchini: Cecchini is in his third season on the sidelines as head coach for the Brown and Gold in 2016. He enters Saturday’s game with a 6-19 record, both overall and in two-plus seasons at Valpo. In his first season as head coach of the Crusaders, Cecchini led the program to a four-win season, its winningest season since 2007. Prior to arriving at Valpo, Cecchini served as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the prior four years at Lehigh.
Series Notes: The Wildcats own a 7-3 advantage in the all-time series over the Crusaders, but Valpo has won each of the last two years with Cecchini on the sidelines. Last season, Valpo went into Davidson and won a wild, back-and-forth game, downing the Wildcats 42-35 thanks to a school record-tying five TD passes by Ryan Clarke. Two years ago, the Crusaders closed out the regular season with a 27-13 victory at home over Davidson.
Scouting Davidson: The Wildcats enter PFL play with a 2-1 record, most recently defeating Livingstone last Saturday, 38-12. Davidson has out-scored its first three opponents in the first half by a healthy 72-30 margin. Taylor Mitchell and Stockton McGuire have split time for the Wildcats at quarterback this year, while Jaris Scott has been a big-play target, hauling in eight passes for 199 yards. On the ground, Keylan Brown has carried 45 times for 202 yards.
Setting Records: Freshman quarterback Jimmy Seewald tied the Crusader program record with his five touchdown passes against the Trojans, the eighth time in program history a QB has thrown five TD passes in a single game in a Valpo uniform. Ryan Clarke did so last season at Davidson, but before that, it had not been accomplished since 2003. Meanwhile, junior kicker Jake Simpson also tied a program record as he converted all seven of his extra point attempts - the sixth time in program history a Crusader kicker has hit seven PATs in one game.
Earning Weekly Honors: Making his first career start and becoming the first true freshman to start at QB for Valpo since 2010, Seewald was named the PFL Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against TIU. He became the third Crusader to earn league weekly honors this season, as following week one, junior safety Kellan Hughes was tabbed the PFL Defensive Player of the Week and Simpson was named the co-Special Teams Player of the Week.
Morgan Carries the Load: After struggling to find running room in the first two weeks of the season, junior Jarrett Morgan broke the 100-yard barrier in the win over TIU. Morgan carried the ball 14 times for a career-best 106 yards, including a key 52-yard TD run late in the third quarter that took a four-point lead and made it 11. The junior also contributed in the passing game with five catches for 82 yards, among them a 20-yard TD catch to push the Crusaders’ lead to 18 points.
Hauling In Passes: Sophomore wide receiver Jean Rene has been a big play threat throughout his time at Valpo, and made an immediate impact in Saturday’s win, springing a 61-yard TD reception on the Crusaders’ first play from scrimmage. Rene added a 19-yard TD catch later in the game and finished with four catches for 90 yards. On the year, Rene has hauled in nine passes for 180 yards. With three TDs already this season, the sophomore now has eight career touchdowns, all in the last 10 games.
Takeaways Leading to Points: The Valpo defense came up with a pair of interceptions on Saturday in the win over TIU, both of which led to touchdowns on the very next play. Senior Idode Kerobo picked off a pass on TIU’s first play of the game, which the Crusaders converted into a touchdown just 18 seconds into the contest. Late in the third quarter, sophomore Joey Diaz-Martinez came up with a pick deep in Trojan terrioty. For Kerobo, it was his first career interception as a Crusader, while Diaz-Martinez registered his fourth career pick. Diaz-Martinez also tied for team-high honors with 10 tackles with Hughes.
Going Back to Back: The Crusaders are looking to do something Saturday they haven’t been able to accomplish since 2007, and that is win consecutive football games. The last time Valpo won back-to-back contests was in September of 2007, in road games at Kalamazoo and Marian. The last time the Crusaders played home games in consecutive weeks and won both came in November of 2004, with wins over Butler and Aurora.
Oh Captain My Captain: Valparaiso enters the 2016 season with three permanent captains: senior defensive back J.J. Nunes, junior wide receiver Frank Catrine and redshirt junior offensive lineman Brian Lang. The Crusaders will also be selecting an individual to serve as game captain for each game as well - against Davidson, that will be redshirt junior defensive lineman Brandon Doepke.