The Valparaiso University football team outscored Indiana Wesleyan 10-7 over the final three quarters on Saturday evening at Wildcat Stadium in Marion, Ind., but an early deficit proved to be the difference as the hosts prevailed 28-10. Chuck Maxwell (Elkhart, Ind. / Elkhart Christian Academy) was a bright spot for the Valpo offense, while Jaxon Peifer (Normal, Ill. / Normal Community) boasted a team-high 14 tackles.
How It Happened
- Indiana Wesleyan struck first as Jacquez Carter rushed for a 32-yard touchdown with 12:51 remaining in the opening quarter, then Devodney Alford added a 7-yard scoring rush with 8:21 on the clock. Later in the quarter, Justin Johnson broke off a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown and Valpo trailed 21-0 through the opening quarter.
- Late in the opening period, Valpo recorded a stop on third-and-short before Nathan Orlandini (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington) made a key tackle for a loss on 4th-and-1 from the 44, forcing a turnover on downs. That play set up an eventual scoring drive for Valpo that resulted in three points.
- The Beacons got on the board early in the second quarter as Brian Bartholomew (Sugar Grove, Ill. / Kaneland) sent a 34-yard field goal through the uprights to make it 21-3 with 12:05 remaining in the opening half. The next two Wildcats drives resulted in punts, but then Indiana Wesleyan cashed in on a short field following a Valpo turnover on downs with a 13-yard TD rush by Alford that made it 28-3 with 16 seconds remaining in the opening half.
- Valpo started the second half favorably as the defense forced a three-and-out including a sack by Peifer for a loss of nine. That led to a quick strike as the first Valpo drive of the half required only one play, a 45-yard TD on a jet sweep to Maxwell.
- The Beacons defense sustained the momentum with another three-and-out, but Valpo’s following drive ended with a missed field goal.
- Early in the fourth quarter, Austin Chilton (Windermere, Fla. / West Orange) came up with an interception to account for Valpo’s first takeaway of the day.
- The Valpo defense continued to play well for the remainder of the second half, as the Wildcats were held scoreless after the intermission. The Valpo offense also moved the ball, but was unable to finish drives. The Maxwell score stood as the only points of the second half.
Inside the Game
- Indiana Wesleyan outgained Valpo by a narrow margin of 328-300 as the Beacons outdid the Wildcats on passing yards 178-175.
- Maxwell scored the first offensive touchdown of his young Valpo career and his second overall score including his memorable kickoff return in last season’s finale vs. San Diego.
- Bartholomew’s made field goal was the eighth of his career. Through Saturday’s game, he is now 8-of-10 on field-goal tries in his Valpo tenure.
- Peifer finished with a team-high 14 tackles, while Keyon Turner (Chicago, Ill. / Marist) recorded nine stops. Both players achieved career highs in the tackle department.
- Chilton’s interception was his first in a Valpo uniform. He was involved in several key plays as he also notched a sack.
- Ollie Reese (Franklin, Tenn. / Battle Ground) led Valpo with 60 receiving yards on three receptions, including several impressive grabs while battling a member of the IWU secondary. Jordan Bingham (Indianapolis, Ind. / North Central) led the team in receptions with four, totaling 44 yards.
- Teryn Berry (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond [Weber State]) got the start at quarterback in his Valpo debut and completed 15 passes for 174 yards.
Valpo (0-1) will visit No. 3/4 North Dakota State next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT in Fargo, N.D. The game will be televised on ABC North Dakota and ESPN+ with the radio call available on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.