Valpo Hosts San Diego In Battle of PFL Unbeatens
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
VALPARAISO (4-3, 1-0 PFL) vs. SAN DIEGO (5-1, 1-0 PFL)

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 18 - 1 p.m. CDT
WHERE: Brown Field, Valparaiso, Indiana

RADIO: 95.1 (WVUR-FM) - Andy Viano and Baron Brendel announcing.

TV: (tape-delay) - Comcast Cable - Channel 43 in Valparaiso - Dick Harlan announcing.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Tom Horne, who is 58-94-1 in his 15th season at Valpo. San Diego is led by Kevin McGarry, who is 39-37 in his 8th season at San Diego.

SERIES RECORD: San Diego leads 6-4
LAST MEETING: 2002 - San Diego won 59-27

LAST WEEK: Valpo defeated Dayton 33-28 last Saturday in Dayton. San Diego defeated Drake 41-35 last Saturday in San Diego.

VALPO PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Valpo Players of the Week as selected by the coaching staff: Offense: David Macchi, senior quarterback; Defense: Mike Mroz, sophomore cornerback; Special Teams: Andrew McCawley, freshman kicker; Offensive Scout: Dustin Shamburg, freshman quarterback; Defensive Scout: Jason Brunelli, freshman lineman.

WHAT'S NEXT: Valpo hosts Drake on Sat., Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. CDT for Parents' Day.

On the heels of its upset of then-#1-ranked Dayton, Valpo (4-3, 1-0 PFL) hosts San Diego (5-1, 1-0 PFL) in the battle of Pioneer Football League unbeatens. The Crusaders utilized a team effort in snapping Dayton's I-AA-best 14-game win streak and became just the second PFL team in the league's 11-year history to defeat the Flyers in Dayton (Drake, 1998). San Diego won a 41-35 shootout with Drake last Saturday in San Diego.


David Macchi, Rob Giancola and Michael Mroz were selected Pioneer Football League Players of the Week. Giancola also garnered NCAA I-AA National Mid-Major Offensive Player of the Week honors from the Football Gazette. Macchi, Valpo's quarterback, shared the Offensive Player of the Week honor with Giancola, a wide receiver. Mroz, a cornerback, was tabbed as the league's Defensive Player of the Week.

A senior from San Jose, Calif./Willow Glen, Macchi passed for 404 yards and four touchdowns in the win against Dayton. He completed 22 of 33 passes and rushed for 40 yards on eight carries, finishing with 444 total yards. Macchi's touchdown passes were of 78, 36, 18 and 16 yards. He also made a significant play as a defender, knocking a Dayton defender out of bounds at Valpo's 15-yard line after he was returning a two-point conversion interception downfield in the game's later stages. Macchi was also named one of four All-Stars by for last week's performance.

Giancola, a junior from Whiting, Ind./HS, broke his own single-game school record with 275 receiving yards - the highest receiving total in Division I-A and I-AA this season. He surpassed the school record of 233 he set Sept. 27 at Jacksonville. The 6'1", 215-pounder caught seven passes against Dayton, including touchdown receptions of 78 and 36 yards. The 78-yard catch and run proved to be the game-winning score. Giancola, who has tied the single-season school record with 11 touchdown receptions, also caught passes of 56, 44 and 40 yards last Saturday. He is averaging a Division I-AA best 124.9 yards per game and 32.3 yards per reception.

Mroz, a sophomore from Westfield, N.J./HS, made two of Valpo's three interceptions against Dayton. His first came at the Crusader 4-yard line, stopping a Flyer drive. Mroz's second pick occurred at the Dayton 29-yard line and set up a touchdown that extended Valpo's lead to 24-7 at halftime. He also finished the game with seven tackles and three pass breakups.

MACCHI KEEPS ROLLIN': Quarterback David Macchi has been the key component to the Valpo offense, particularly over the last five games. Macchi has thrown 17 of his 18 touchdown passes during that span. The senior from San Jose, Cal./Willow Glen tops the PFL in total offense (320.7 ypg., 2,245 yds.) and ranks 2nd in pass efficiency (151.6) and passing yards per game (287.6). Macchi now stands 2nd on Valpo's all-time list in passing yards (5,339) and 3rd in total offense (5,794 yards). He needs three touchdown passes to tie his own school record of 21 established in 2002.

GIANCOLA LEADS NATION IN RECEIVING YARDS; TOPS PFL IN SCORING: Wide receiver Rob Giancola leads NCAA I-AA in receiving yards (124.9 pg.) and continues to lead the PFL in scoring (68 pts.). He has proven to be one of the best "big play" receivers in I-AA as eight of his 11 touchdown receptions have been for 36-or-more yards. Overall, he has 27 catches for 874 yards. In two-plus seasons, he ranks 3rd on Valpo's all-time receiving yards list with 2,476. Giancola's 24 career touchdown receptions are two shy of Valpo's all-time record of 26 (Dan Bogar, 1981-84, Mike Healey, 1982-85).

KNUTSON REMAINS HOT RECEIVER: Kevin Knutson is rising toward the top of the PFL receiving leaders, currently standing 3rd in receptions (6.43 pg., 45 total). Against Dayton, the junior from River Falls, Wis./HS snagged 9 aerials (82 yards) and, against Morehead State, amassed a career-high 133 yards. Knutson also ranks 6th in the PFL in receiving yards per game (84.9, 594 yds.). Knutson, Giancola and Ryan Barno each rank among the PFL's top 10 in catches.

CANADA 2nd AMONG PFL TACKLE LEADERS: Lawrence Canada, Valpo's middle linebacker, stands 2nd in the PFL in tackles per game (9.9 pg.). The senior from Mequon, Wis./Lane College leads the league in total tackles (69).

SMEJA LEADS PFL IN PUNT RETURNS, RANKS 3rd IN TACKLES: Sophomore Brad Smeja leads the PFL in punt return average (12.6 ypr./126 yds, 10 ret.). As a free safety, Smeja (Oak Brook, Ill./Downers Grove North) stands 3rd in the league with 9.0 tackles per game (63 total).

DANIELS 2nd IN PFL IN INTERCEPTIONS: Cornerback Chris Daniels (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame) ranks 2nd in the PFL with 5 interceptions (.71 pg.).

POWELL 3rd AMONG PFL INTERCEPTION LEADERS: Elliott Powell (Orange, Cal./Mater Dei) now has 3 interceptions, tying for the third most in the PFL (.50 pg.).

"Valparaiso University Football", head coach Tom Horne's TV Show, airs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 43 in Valpo. This week's guest is junior wide receiver Kevin Knutson.

The Toreros (5-1, 1-0 PFL) are an offensive juggernaut, leading the PFL in total offense (455.8 ypg.) and passing offense (306.5 ypg.) Head coach Kevin McGarry has the PFL passing leader in Eric Rasmussen (1,774 yds., 21 TDs), who has thrown just one interception in 194 passes (116 completions). San Diego also has a strong running game with sophomore Evan Harney, who stands 2nd in the PFL with 129.3 ypg. (776 yds., 170 att., 8 TDs). McGarry has two of the top receivers in the PFL in Adam Hannula (42 rec., 594 yds., 7 TDs) and Nick Garton (34 rec., 664 yds., 9 TDs). Linebackers Jeff Langdon (44) and Andy Guzenski (43) lead the Toreros in tackles.