The Valparaiso University football team racked up 351 yards of total offense and ran for 182 yards, but Dayton quarterback Alex Jeske accounted for four touchdowns to help the Flyers to a 37-21 win over the Crusaders on Saturday at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
How It Happened
- Valpo’s opening drive resulted in a pass that was tipped by a Valpo receiver and intercepted by Chris Hagan at the Crusader 48-yard line.
- That led the Flyers to the first score of the game when Adam Trautman hauled in a 29-yard pass from Jeske.
- The Crusaders drew even on a 1-yard touchdown plunge by freshman Austin Petrie (Livonia, Mich. / Stevenson), who was playing his first game on offense in a Valpo uniform.
- Dayton took the lead on a 5-yard run by Jeske with 3:24 left in the first quarter, and from there the Flyers never looked back.
- William Will added a 20-yard field goal to beef the lead to 10 with 8:23 remaining in the first half.
- The Crusaders were knocking on the door of whittling the edge to three in the second quarter, but David Leisring took away a red-zone chance by intercepting a Jimmy Seewald (Livonia, Mich. / Divine Child) pass at the Dayton 2-yard line.
- The turnover prompted a 5-play, 98-yard TD drive that took only 1:16 and culminated with Jeske running it in from 32 yards out. Dayton maintained that 24-7 edge at halftime.
- The Crusaders turned in a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns as Cody Boxrucker (West Chester, Ohio / Badin) barreled in from 2 yards out and Petrie plunged in for a 1-yard run.
Inside the Game
- With Jarrett Morgan sidelined with a concussion, the Crusaders turned to a three-freshmen rushing attack. Petrie, who had played only on special teams before Saturday, ran for 76 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns to lead the way.
- Kyle Cartales (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. / Cardinal Newman) made his first career start and racked up 47 yards on 15 carries. Boxrucker also received six carries and had 28 yards.
- Saturday’s game was the closest Valpo-Dayton matchup since Valpo’s most recent victory over the Flyers in 2003.
- The Flyers accumulated 522 yards of total offense, striking an effective balance of passing (248) and rushing (274).
- Ryan Clarke (Hopatcong, N.J. / Hopatcong) entered the game in the second quarter in place of Seewald, who left with concussion-like symptoms. Clarke went 8-of-17 for 87 yards and threw one interception. Seewald was 7-of-11 for 82 yards.
- Jeske threw for 248 and one touchdown and rushed for 59 yards and three scores to guide the Flyers.
- Kicker Jake Simpson (Wyandotte, Mich. / Roosevelt) returned after missing three games with a groin injury and improved to 21-for-21 on extra points by going 3-for-3.
- Jean Rene (Delray Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community) had a season-high five receptions for 60 yards.
- The Valpo defense forced a lost fumble for the second straight week and fourth time this season, as Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington) provided a hit and then made a recovery to thwart a promising Dayton drive in the middle of the third quarter.
- Kellan Hughes (Cicero, Ind. / Hamilton Heights) led the way with nine tackles, while Nick Turner added eight.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Cecchini
- On matchups with Dayton: “We’ve come out and played hard against these guys. The three years I’ve been here, they’ve been a tough, physical team that has talent and knows how to win. To beat these guys, you have to come out and execute on both sides. You can’t give them anything easy, you have to make them earn it. There were a lot of frustrating moments, but there were a lot of positive things.”
- On the running back situation: “We had a bunch of young guys that stepped up with Jarrett Morgan out. I don’t know if there is another team in the United States that gave 35 carries to true freshmen tailbacks today.”
- On Austin Petrie: “We knew he had been playing well. He really showed up in special teams. He got a little banged up at the end of camp. He was being outplayed by Kyle Cartales and Cody Boxrucker, so he was kind of the odd man out. It wasn’t until the third week of the season that we put him on special teams, and he immediately made an impact. This was the opportunity for him this week. He was successful when he was out there.”
The Crusaders (3-7, 2-5 PFL) round out the regular season against Jacksonville (4-4, 3-2) at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The game can be heard on WVUR, 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.