On a day where the defense did its part and the offense moved the football, turnovers hurt the Valparaiso University football team in a 20-17 loss to Jacksonville at D.B. Milne Field in Florida. Kyle Cartales (Loxahatchee, Fla. / Cardinal Newman) was Valpo’s offensive standout, rushing for 63 yards while picking up 67 through the air, while Nick Turner (Gurnee, Ill. / Washington Township) racked up 10 tackles to pace the defense.
How It Happened
- After the Crusader defense forced a punt on the first Jacksonville possession, the first Valpo drive of the day resulted in an interception that allowed Jacksonville to take over on the Valpo 25. The Crusaders (4-5, 3-3 Pioneer Football League) held the Dolphins (6-3, 4-2) to a field goal, which Javier Arce-Ramirez hit from 28 yards out to put Jacksonville ahead 3-0 with 6:48 left in the first.
- The Crusaders gained the lead when quarterback Jimmy Seewald (Livonia, Mich. / Divine Child) completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to freshman Deuce Larose (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / Cardinal Gibbons) on a slant to make it 7-3 with 1:37 to go in the first. The key play on the drive came when Cody Boxrucker (West Chester, Ohio / Badin) broke a tackle to convert on fourth-and-1 at the Valpo 43. The play went for 17 yards to the Jacksonville 40.
- Jacksonville’s Javier Arce-Ramirez hit a season-long 46-yard field goal with 12:15 left in the second to cut the Valpo lead to one at 7-6.
- The Dolphins later regained the lead as Irvin Riley ran 14 yards for a touchdown to put his team in front 13-7 with 4:58 to go until halftime. The drive started on a lost fumble by the Crusaders in Jacksonville territory on a fourth-and-1 play.
- The Crusaders snapped the ball to Jarrett Morgan (Cooper City, Fla. / Cooper City) with Seewald lined up out wide on second-and-goal from the 3. The senior running back rushed for a TD to make it 14-13 Valpo with 1:42 to go in the half.
- The Crusaders drove into the red zone midway through the third quarter, but an intercepted pass allowed the Dolphins to take over on their own 19 with 5:35 left in the third quarter.
- For the third time in the game, the Jacksonville offense scored on a drive that followed a Valpo turnover. The Dolphins drove down field and punched it in on an Irvin Riley rush from 1 yard out with 41 seconds left in the third to put Jacksonville on top 20-14.
- The Crusaders sliced the deficit in half when Dimitrios Latsonas (Westmont, Ill. / Westmont) sent a 20-yard field goal through the uprights with 11:04 left in the fourth. The Crusaders couldn’t find the end zone after enjoying first-and-goal and settled for three.
- The Valpo defense stood tall in a Jacksonville goal-line scenario from the 7 in the fourth quarter. Cam Kelly (Stamford, Conn. / The Brunswick School) made a touchdown-saving tackle on a 59-yard Dolphins pass completion, the Crusaders made three straight stops including a tackle for a loss by Turner on second-and-goal. The Dolphins missed a 24-yard field goal attempt, and Valpo took over on its own 20 with 7:14 to go down three.
- As they did throughout the day, the Crusaders moved the ball down field. Frank Catrine (Springsboro, Ohio / Bishop Fenwick) had a rush for 11 yards and a reception for 10, while Cartales had a 12-yard run to set up first-and-goal.
- However, another drive ended in a Jacksonville takeaway as Valpo threw its third interception of the day on first-and-goal from the 10. Valpo needed a quick stop to stay in the game, but the Dolphins were able to run out the remainder of the clock and seal the win.
Inside the Game
- Larose’s TD grab – the first of his career – came in his home state of Florida. He became the ninth different Crusader with a touchdown catch this season. In addition, the TD snag was only the second total reception of the rookie’s career.
- The second TD was also scored by a Floridian as Morgan ran it in. Morgan now owns four rushing scores this season – three in the last two weeks – and nine in his career.
- Seewald moved into eighth in program history in career passing yards, surpassing Gordon Helms (1953-1955). He also moved past 2,000 passing yards for this season. The Crusader quarterback went 21-of-30 through the air for 296 yards and a touchdown.
- The defense limited a Jacksonville team that was fourth in the FCS nation in rushing yards per game to 97 rushing yards on 23 carries in the first half. The Dolphins average almost 300 rushing yards per game on the ground, but finished with 190 in Saturday’s game.
- Latsonas improved to 8-of-10 on field-goal attempts this season.
- Sutter and Catrine had four catches apiece and Sutter totaled 66 receiving yards.
- Turner paced the team in tackles with 10, followed by freshman Laddie Skarecky (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville Central) and junior Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington), who had seven apiece. Skarecky’s total was a career watermark.
- The Crusaders outgained Jacksonville 405-380 and out-passed the Dolphins 296-190.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Cecchini
“The turnovers have won us games the last two weeks, and today it’s the reason why we lost the game. Unfortunately, a lot of things we did right are tainted by the turnovers. We need to regroup from that. When you play against a triple option style of attack, you know they’re going to put the ball on the ground. We were unable to force turnovers when our defense was out there, and we were unable to protect the football when our offense was out there. We’ve got to learn from this, regroup and get ready for Butler.”
“We didn’t get dominated in any particular area. We lost this football game. We played a very competitive football program; this was a very evenly-matched game and we went toe-to-toe with them. We lost this because what we did or failed to do.”
“In critical down and distances, we struggled finishing plays. That’s something we’re normally good at. We like having the ball in goal-line situations and pride ourselves on red-zone efficiency.”
“Cartales seems to get a little more confident and a little more physical each game. He’s becoming a bigger running back and a bigger target in the passing game. He stepped up. Mason Sutter is another player who stepped up today and made some big-time plays in the passing game, and he’s been blocking his tail off. He hasn’t caught a ton of passes because we have so many targets to get the ball to, but he played very well today.”
“We’re playing for the Hoosier Helmet in a week. You can throw the records right out the window. It’s a wonderful rivalry to be a part of and it will be easy for our guys to get excited about that one.”
The Hoosier Helmet is back up for grabs next week as the Crusaders head to Indianapolis to lock horns with Butler in the annual rivalry showdown. The game is slated to kick off at noon CT with live video, audio and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.