The Valparaiso University football team defeated Davidson 24-20 in Saturday’s Homecoming game at Brown Field. Freshman Cody Boxrucker (West Chester, Ohio / Badin) ran for two touchdowns on five carries, while sophomore Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington) totaled 11 tackles to pace the defense.
How It Happened
- Davidson struck first when Trevor Smith hit a 39-yard field goal with 11:06 left in the first quarter. Then, Valpo scored the game’s first touchdown when Ryan Clarke (Hopatcong, N.J. / Hopatcong) hooked up with Jean Rene (Delray Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community) for a 19-yard completion with 4:49 left in the first quarter to cap a 12-play, 74-yard drive spanning 6:08.
- Smith made another field goal with 56 seconds left in the first to cut Valpo’s lead to 7-6.
- Davidson took the lead on a 60-yard TD toss from Taylor Mitchell to Cam Cheuvront with 8:42 left in the second quarter.
- Boxrucker’s first TD run came with 5:28 left in the second quarter to put Valpo in front 14-13, then Jake Simpson (Wyandotte, Mich. / Roosevelt) converted a 33-yard field goal with 1:08 to go before halftime.
- Kye Hall (New Smyrna Beach, Fla. / New Smyrna) provided one of the day’s defensive highlights in the third quarter when he forced a Davidson fumble and made the recovery at midfield. That turnover led to a scoring drive that culminated with Boxrucker bulldozing into the end zone from 2 yards out to build Valpo’s lead to 11.
- Davidson trimmed the deficit to four by scoring with 12:29 left in the fourth, but neither team scored for the remainder of the game. Valpo took possession with 5:48 to play following a punt by the Wildcats and proceeded to run out the clock, gaining a trio of first downs to close out the victory.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders have won consecutive games for the first time since 2007. They last opened Pioneer Football League play with a win in 2013.
- With Saturday’s win, Valpo is off to its best four-game start to a season since 2007.
- The Crusaders are 3-1 on Homecoming in the last four years.
- Jarrett Morgan (Cooper City, Fla. / Cooper City) surpassed 100 yards rushing for the second straight week, totaling 108 on 25 carries.
- Clarke, who returned to the field after missing last week’s game with an injury, went 17-for-26 through the air for 176 yards and one TD.
- Frank Catrine (Springboro, Ohio / Bishop Fenwick) made a team-high six catches, while Griffin Norberg (Sunrise Fla. / Western) led the way with 51 receiving yards.
- Rene’s touchdown catch was his fourth of the season, all in the last three games. Rene, only a sophomore, has caught nine touchdown passes in his Valpo career.
- Valpo did not throw an interception in a game for the first time since Nov. 22, 2014, also against Davidson. The Crusaders did not commit a turnover on Saturday, marking the first time they played turnover free since Oct. 12, 2013 against Mercer.
- All five turnovers forced by the Valpo defense this season have led to Crusader touchdowns on the ensuing possession.
- The four-point margin made this the closest game Valpo has played since a two-point loss to William Jewell in 2013.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Cecchini
“We made mistakes, but we were able to overcome those. In past years, we would not have had the same composure. I credit the experience of this team. We’re not as young as we were a year ago. We’re still not a veteran group of guys yet, which is a really good thought when we look long-term. Three starters on defense were all out for this game, and we were able to respond. That’s a credit to how far this football team has come. Is this the turning point? We hope so, we really do. Now, we’re playing with confidence and we’ll get a couple of these injured players back in the coming weeks. We can use this game as a springboard to launch us into a very successful league season.”
The Crusaders (2-2, 1-0 PFL) hit the road next week as they travel to Morehead, Ky. to clash with Morehead State (1-3, 0-1 PFL). The game is slated to begin at noon Central Time, and can be heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live audio, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.