September 16, 20171st2nd3rd4thFinal
Trinity Internat'l730010
1st Quarter
TIUTD02:41Mikale Hill 30 Yd Pass From Chris Wolcott (Carter Andrade kick)
2nd Quarter
TIUFG00:02Carter Andrade 48 Yd
3rd Quarter
VALPOTD10:51BOXRUCKER 1 Yd Run (LATSONAS missed kick)
4th Quarter
Stats at a GlanceVALPOTIU
1st Downs2612
3rd Down Conversions8-133-11
4th Down Conversions2-22-3
Passing (Comp-Att)252 (19-24) 94 (7-13)
Rushing (Att)266 (43) 110 (35)
Total Yards518204
Fumbles Lost00
Football Travels to Trinity International for Nonleague Finale
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Football Travels to Trinity International for Nonleague Finale
Frank Catrine has a team-high nine receptions this season.

This Week in Crusader Football: The Valparaiso University football team will round out nonleague play with one final tune-up before Pioneer Football League action kicks off next week. It’s the back end of a home-and-home as the Crusaders look to repeat their success from last year’s Brown Field meeting with Trinity International. The Crusaders enter this game ranked second in the nation in passing offense at 377 yards per game.

Last Time Out: The Crusaders put together their second straight quality performance on Saturday, using a late comeback to threaten scholarship foe and Northeast Conference preseason favorite Duquesne. The Dukes held on for a 45-40 victory despite 511 yards of total offense from the Crusaders, who were led by Jimmy Seewald’s 424 passing yards, the second-best Week 2 performance in the nation by an FCS quarterback.

Following the Crusaders: For the 12th straight season, WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) is home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2017. Todd Ickow is back for his 27th season as Valpo’s play-by-play broadcaster, while Dave Huseman will add color commentary this week. Links to live audio, video and stats will be available on

Head Coach Dave Cecchini: Cecchini is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Crusaders. He enters this game with a 9-26 record, both overall and in three years at Valpo. In his first season as head coach of the Crusaders, Cecchini led the program to a four-win season, its highest win total since 2007. His team matched the four win total in 2016, Cecchini’s third year. Prior to arriving at Valpo, Cecchini served as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Lehigh for four years.

Series Notes: This is the back end of a home-and-home between the two teams after the Crusaders downed Trinity International 49-24 last year at Brown Field. Jimmy Seewald made his first career start and matched the program record with five touchdown passes. The two schools also got together in 2006 at Brown Field and 2007 at Trinity International, with the Trojans winning both of those meetings.  

Seewald Shines: The list of reasons to believe wins are on the horizon after the first two weeks of the season are numerous, but there’s little doubt that No. 9 is No. 1 on that list. Seewald’s 424 yards passing on Saturday against Duquesne were the most by a Valpo quarterback since Eric Hoffman passed for a school-record 495 on Sept. 14, 2013 against William Jewell and the most against a Division I opponent since David Macchi’s 452 against Jacksonville in 2003. Seewald finished with career highs in completions (26) and passing yards (424) while coming one TD toss shy of matching the program record that he previously matched a season ago against the Trojans. Seewald, who ranks seventh nationally with 601 passing yards in two games, completed an 80-yard touchdown pass to Parker Fox, the longest pass completion for the Crusaders since an 86-yard Eric Hoffman to Tony Taibi play in 2013. Only five passes have gone for 80 yards or more in the FCS nation this season. Seewald received an honorable mention for STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Week. He became the first PFL quarterback to throw for 400+ yards in a game this season and he and San Diego’s Anthony Lawrence are the only active PFL QBs with a 400-yard passing game in their careers. Seewald’s 424 passing yards against Duquesne were also the third-most by any FCS quarterback in the nation in a single game this season.

Offensive Outbursts: The Crusaders have surpassed 450 yards of offense in back-to-back games, the first time they’ve done that since 2013 against William Jewell and Campbell. Valpo ranks first in the PFL and 15th nationally in total offense, averaging 480.5 yards per game. They’ve done it against a Montana team that led the Big Sky in total defense last year and a Duquesne squad that ranked 10th nationally and led the Northeast Conference in total defense in 2016. The 511 yards of total offense against Duquesne was Valpo’s most since Sept. 17 of last season against Trinity International (527) and the most against a Division I opponent since Sept. 27, 2014 at Campbell (533).

To provide context for this season’s successful start, here’s a look at where the Crusaders stand in terms of total offense and passing offense through two weeks compared to where they were in those categories at this time in years past, going back to Valpo’s most recent PFL championship in 2003.

Year                Total Offense              Passing Yards             Points Scored              Opponents

2017                961                              754                              63                    scholarship, scholarship

2016                329                              318                              27                    scholarship, scholarship

2015                455                              322                              13                    scholarship, scholarship

2014                601                              411                              16                    scholarship, D-II

2013                605                              384                              41                    scholarship, D-II

2012                540                              364                              34                    D-II, scholarship

2011                754                              569                              48                    D-III, scholarship

2010                340                              265                              7                      scholarship, D-III

2009                436                              260                              26                    D-II, D-III

2008                565                              252                              34                    NAIA, D-III

2007                821                              261                              41                    NAIA, NAIA

2006                795                              398                              74                    D-III, NAIA

2005                502                              176                              32                    D-III, scholarship

2004                627                              300                              41                    scholarship, D-III

2003                506                              294                              33                    scholarship, D-III

Keeping It Close: Valpo, a member of the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, did something with little precedent in the program’s recent past each of the last two weeks, giving scholarship programs a scare. Comparing the result of this season’s first two games to previous contests against Division-I scholarship schools helps illustrate the program’s progress.

Date                Opponent        Score   Margin             Halftime          Led?    Total Offense

Sept. 9, 2017   Duquesne        45-40   5                      31-21               N         511

Sept. 2, 2017   at Montana      45-23   22                    17-13               Y         450     

Sept. 3, 2016   at Illinois St     50-13   37                    34-10               N         130

Sept.10, 2016  at Sacred H     42-13   28                    35-14               N         221

Sept. 3, 2016   at EKU            52-10   42                    31-3                 N         220

Sept. 12, 2016 Sacred Heart   56-3     53                    35-0                 N         235

Aug. 28, 2014 at WIU             45-6     39                    24-0                 N         227

Aug. 29, 2013 at UND           69-10   59                    35-0                 N         174

Sept. 8, 2012   at YSU          59-0     59                    49-0                 N         190

Sept. 15, 2012 Duquesne      45-17   28                    45-17               Y         291

Sept. 10, 2011 at YSU           77-13   64                    63-6                 N         291

Sept. 17, 2011 at Duquesne   49-14   35                    28-0                 N         188

Sept. 2, 2010   at WIU          45-0     45                    17-0                 N         131

Sept. 10, 2005 at SDSU        69-6     63                    45-6                 N         129

Aug. 28, 2004 at NDSU         52-0     52                    38-0                 N         180

Player-by-Player Quick Hits – projected starters and other notables

QB Jimmy Seewald – ranks seventh nationally with 601 passing yards in two games

QB Chris Duncan – v. Montana became the first Valpo QB to rush for 50 yards since ’09

RB Jarrett Morgan – Ranked seventh in the PFL in all-purpose yards last season

RB Cody Boxrucker – Has nine career TD runs on just 50 career carries

TE Mason Sutter – One of five Crusaders with at least one touchdown catch this season

WR Frank Catrine – Team-high nine receptions

WR Griffin Norberg – Ranks 36th nationally with 84.5 receiving yards per game

WR Donny Navarro – One of six freshmen in the FCS nation with two touchdown catches

WR Parker Fox – 80-yard TD reception vs. Duquesne was Valpo’s longest since 2013

C Jack Jarnigan – Has made 13 straight starts 

RG Tom Schofield – Has made 13 straight starts

LG Eric Rentschler – Appeared in every game last season, but in his first year as a starter

LT Terrance Roberts – Expected to make his first appearance since Week 1 of 2016

RT Alex Cotton – Made his first career start last week

NT Tristan De La Rosa – Expected to make season debut Saturday after missing time w/ injury

CB Dilan Scargle – Made an interception in his first collegiate start

SS J.J. Nunes – Valpo’s leading tackler with 19, also has one forced fumble and one interception

FS Josmar Diaz-Martinez – Tied with Nunes for team lead with eight solo stops

OLB Mike Wheeler – One of three Crusaders with at least one TFL

ILB Nick Turner – One of four Crusaders with 18 tackles or more

ILB Drew Snouffer – One of four players in the PFL with 100+ tackles last season

OLB Austin Petrie – Converted from running back to linebacker this season

DE Jay Slone – One of two fifth-year seniors on Valpo’s roster

DT Jake Trumpower – Has started both games so far this season

P Alex Ng – Had his first career rush on Saturday, a gain of four for a first down on a fake punt

K Dimitrios Latsonas – In Week 1, was first Valpo kicker with three FGs in a game since ’08

RS Bailey Gessinger – One of three players in the nation with two kick returns for TDs in 2016

Scouting Trinity International: The Trojans are under the direction of eighth-year head coach Kirk Wherritt, who holds a 23-51 record through seven seasons. The Trojans went 4-7 a year ago including a 1-4 conference record. This marks Valpo’s lone NAIA opponent on the schedule this season. One player to watch is running back Isaac Branch, who is back for his junior year after finding success in last year’s meeting with the Crusaders to the tune of 181 yards on 26 carries. Branch is averaging 40.5 yards per game in the early going this season, while Chris Wolcott is the team’s leading rusher with 61.5 yards per game. Senior quarterback Danny Mattero is 19-for-39 for 292 yards in two games.

On the Uptick: The 2016 season marked a significant improvement for the Crusaders, who finished with their highest Pioneer Football League win total since 2003 and equaled their highest overall win total since 2007. The 2016 season concluded in style, as Valpo knocked off Jacksonville 42-39, a team the Crusaders lost to by 45 points the year prior.

Preseason Accolades: The Crusaders placed three on the 2017 Preseason All-Pioneer Football League Team – senior running back Jarrett Morgan, junior linebacker Drew Snouffer and sophomore return specialist Bailey Gessinger. This marked the most players Valpo has had on the team since 2011, when four Crusaders received the honor. Morgan ranked seventh in the PFL in all-purpose yards last year at 94.0 per game. He enjoyed three straight 100-yard rushing performances from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, becoming the first Crusader to do so since Jeff Horton in 2005. Snouffer racked up 102 tackles as a sophomore after finishing his freshman season with just 16. He ranked fourth in the PFL at 9.3 tackles per game and was one of only four players in the league to reach the 100-tackle mark. Gessinger was second in the PFL with 24.4 yards per kickoff return and led the league in total return yards with 757. He had two kickoff returns for touchdowns, one of three players in the FCS nation to achieve that feat. Gessinger also became the first player in Crusader history with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a single season.

Disciplined Crusaders: Valparaiso led the Pioneer Football League in fewest penalty yards per game at 48.4 a year ago. They were called for just 54 flags in 11 games. Valpo is tied for 16th in the Division-I FCS nation in fewest penalties and tied for 15th in fewest penalties per game. Valpo also led the PFL in fewest penalties in Cecchini’s first season in 2014, a far cry from 2013, when they ranked eighth.

Oh Captain My Captain: Valparaiso enters the 2017 season with four captains: fifth-year senior defensive back J.J. Nunes, senior wide receiver Frank Catrine, junior linebacker Drew Snouffer and fifth-year senior linebacker Jay Slone.

Looking Ahead: After this week, Valpo kicks off PFL play on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Drake, then returns to Brown Field for a Sept. 30 showdown with Stetson.