VALPARAISO (2-1) at SAINT FRANCIS (PA) (1-1)
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 18 - 1 p.m. ET (noon CT)
WHERE: Pine Bowl, Loretto, Penn.
TV: (tape-delay) - Channel 43 in Valparaiso. Airs on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. - Dick Harlan announcing.
RADIO: 95.1 (WVUR-FM) - Andy Viano and Andrew Hansen announcing.Webcast at www.valpo.edu.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Tom Horne, who is 64-96-1 in his 16th season at Valpo. Saint Francis (PA) is led by Dave Opfar, who is 4-18 in his 3rd season at Saint Francis.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 1-0
LAST MEETING: 2003 - Valpo won 38-6 in Valparaiso.
LAST WEEK: Valpo defeated Austin Peay 24-14 last Saturday in Valparaiso. Saint Francis (PA) defeated Sacred Heart 35-28 last Saturday in Loretto, Penn.
Following two straight victories at home, Valpo (2-1) travels to play Saint Francis (PA) on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT). The Crusaders are coming off a 24-14 win over Austin Peay last Saturday. The Red Flash won its first game on the season last weekend, defeating Sacred Heart 35-28.
CRUSADERS vs. RED FLASH
Last year's meeting was the first ever between the schools as Valpo defeated Saint Francis 38-6 in Valparaiso. Nick Reid enjoyed a big day, rushing for a career-high 133 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Reid's second score, a 39-yard scamper, gave the Crusaders a 31-0 lead. A trio of returning pass catchers caught one touchdown pass each - Kevin Knutson (22 yards), Rob Giancola (63 yards) and Tom Schmidt (17 yards). Knutson finished with 117 yards on seven receptions. Graduated quarterback David Macchi passed for 270 yards. Valpo's defense limited the Red Flash to 256 total yards and recorded a shutout through the first three quarters (31-0). Chris Daniels and Elliott Powell each made interceptions for the Crusaders.
MILAZZO, CONNOR, STURMAN LEAD PFL INDIVIDUAL CATEGORIES: Valpo seniors Joe Milazzo and Ross Connor, and junior Brandon Sturman lead Pioneer Football League statistical categories. Milazzo, the Crusaders' starting quarterback, tops the league in pass efficiency (123 pts.), while Connor, a defensive end, leads the PFL with three tackles for loss. Sturman, a junior middle linebacker, has a league-most two interceptions. Milazzo also stands 2nd in total offense (222.3 ypg.) and 6th in rushing (61.0 ypg.). Kevin Knutson is tied for 4th in receptions (5.0 pg.) and is 8th in receiving yards (61.3 pg.). Rob Giancola is 7th in receiving yards (61.7 pg.) and 10th in receptions (3.7 pg.). Joel Cyrier and Brad Smeja stand 3rd and 4th in the PFL in punt return average and Joe Blahowicz is 4th in punting (37.5 ypp.).
VALPO RANKED HIGH IN POLLS: Valpo is ranked among the elite programs in the NCAA I-AA Mid-Major polls through Sept. 12. The Crusaders, coming off a PFL Championship season, are tabbed 6th in The Sports Network and 7th in the Football Gazette poll.
Giancola Nears All-time Scoring Record:
After catching a national-high 23 touchdown passes a year ago, Rob Giancola is closing in on Valpo's all-time scoring mark. With 218 career points, Giancola needs 17 to eclipse the 53-year-old record of 234 held by Joe Pahr (1949-51).
LAST WEEK'S STANDOUTS AGAINST AUSTIN PEAY: Joe Milazzo compiled 291 total yards. He led Valpo with 77 rushing yards and one TD on 18 carries and completed 14 of 24 passes for 214 yards and one TD.........Jeff Horton rushed for 61 yards on 11 carries (5.5 ypc.).....Kevin Knutson and Rob Giancola each caught four passes.....Kenny Keil caught his second touchdown pass (11 yards) in as many weeks......Michael Schnoor led the team with nine tackles......Bill Marshall recorded a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.....Chris Daniels made two pass breakups.....Joe Blahowicz averaged 42.2 yards on five punts.
INSIDE VU FOOTBALL, head coach Tom Horne's TV show, airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 43 in Valparaiso. This week's player guest is junior tight end Tom Schmidt.
Valpo hosts Jacksonville on Saturday, Sept. 25 beginning at noon.