The Valparaiso University football team entered the win column in resounding fashion on Saturday afternoon, pulling away for a 44-10 victory over Trinity International at Leslie Frazier Field in Deerfield, Ill. Sophomore Cody Boxrucker (West Chester, Ohio / Badin) had three touchdown runs, senior Frank Catrine (Springboro, Ohio / Bishop Fenwick) scored twice and senior Jarrett Morgan (Cooper City, Fla. / Cooper City) shattered a career high with 127 rushing yards. The Crusaders utilized a balanced attack, rushing for 266 yards and passing for 252 to total 511 yards of offense.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (1-2) wasted no time in scoring on the opening drive, which culminated with Boxrucker bulldozing his way into the end zone from 1-yard out with 9:40 left in the first.
- The Trojans (1-2) scored to tie it on a big fourth down play as Mikale Hill hauled in a 30-yard pass from Chris Wolcott with 2:41 to go in the first.
- Catrine scored a 49-yard touchdown on a jet sweep to put the Crusaders back in front. The Crusaders received good blocking on the right side of the field, and Catrine made the most of the space. That came on the final play of the quarter, giving the Crusaders a 14-7 edge after one.
- Bailey Gessinger (Napanee, Ind. / Northwood) had a 46-yard punt return early in the second quarter, taking it all the way to the Trinity International 34-yard line, where the Trojans’ punter made an open field tackle.
- Catrine went up in traffic and came down with his second touchdown of the day, as Jimmy Seewald (Livonia, Mich. / Divine Child) threaded it into a tight window for a 12-yard score to boost Valpo’s lead to 21-7 with 10:59 left in the second quarter.
- Sophomore kicker Dimitrios Latsonas (Westmont, Ill. / Westmont) crushed a 38-yard field goal into the wind with plenty to spare, building Valpo’s edge to 24-7 with 2:18 remaining until halftime.
- The Trojans marched down field and pulled back within two touchdowns after a long field goal right before the half, making it 24-10 at the break. Carter Andrade put it through the uprights from 48 yards out.
- The Crusaders went for it on fourth-and-three from the Trinity International 9-yard line, and Boxrucker rushed for 4 yards to move the chains and create first-and-goal from the 5. Two plays later, Boxrucker’s 1-yard TD run increased Valpo’s lead to 30-10 with 10:51 left in the third. The extra point was no good.
- Morgan over doubled his season rushing total on a single play – an 86-yard run on first-and-10 from Valpo’s own 2.
- Boxrucker notched his third TD of the day from 2 yards out with 6:21 left in the third, finishing the drive ignited by Morgan with a score.
- Seewald completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to Gessinger in coverage, allowing the Crusaders to cap a 95-yard TD drive and make it 44-10 with 9:41 left in the fourth. That proved to be the final points of the game by either team.
Inside the Game
- Catrine notched his first rushing touchdown of the season and his first receiving touchdown of the year. The rushing touchdown was the third of his career, while the receiving TD was his seventh.
- Boxrucker’s trio of rushing scores lifts his career total to 12 as only a sophomore. He has five TDs in three weeks this season.
- Morgan’s 86-yard run was the longest of his Crusader career, surpassing his previous career long of 52. Morgan was tracked down at the end of the run. Had he scored, he would have shattered the Valpo record for longest scoring run from scrimmage of 86, set by Joe Pahr in 1949. As it was, it went as Valpo’s longest rush in at least 12 years and Valpo’s longest play since an 86-yard pass in 2013.
- Latsonas improved to 4-for-4 on field goals this season, with his first three makes coming at Montana.
- Seewald’s TD pass was his fifth of the season and the 18th of his Crusader career.
- Gessinger’s TD snag was the first of his career.
- The 266 rushing yards mark the most Valpo has racked up in a game since totaling 281 in 2014 against Missouri Baptist.
- The Crusaders have totaled 450 yards or more in each of the first three weeks of the season.
- Seewald went 17-of-22 for 238 yards and two TDs, while freshman Donny Navarro (Naperville, Ill. / Neaqua Valley) was Valpo’s leading receiver with six snags for 54 yards.
- Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington) led the way with 10 tackles for the Crusaders.
- The 10 points were the fewest Valpo has allowed in a game since Nov. 8, 2014, a 17-3 victory over Butler.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Cecchini
- Thoughts on the Game: “The word of the week was maturity. We talked about us being a more mature football team and what mature football teams do in games like this. As the game went on, it unfolded the way we wanted it to. We did have some lapses, but it’s hard to talk about maturity when the guys making the mistakes are the freshmen and redshirt freshmen, some of them playing in their first game. It was a solid performance. The veterans made plays, and some young guys also stepped up and made plays.”
- On Jimmy Seewald: “What you worry about for a sophomore quarterback who played well as a freshman is a sophomore slump, and he is the opposite of that. He gets better each week. He’s confident, but he’s not cocky. He knows his limitations, and he has a burning desire to be the best player he can be. He’s not going to go out there and say we have to throw the football every play; he knew today we needed to get our running game going as well. He keeps his cool and he’s a great leader.
- On the defense: “We missed JJ (Nunes) today, particularly on the one touchdown throw. That was the biggest hiccup defensively. We played a solid football game aside from that one breakdown coverage wise. Jay Slone played one of his best games for us. Mike Wheeler stepped up and played extremely well today.”
The Crusaders will open up Pioneer Football League action next week with a visit to Drake. The game will kick off at 1 p.m. CT. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.