Valpo Looks To Rebound At Home Against Jacksonville Saturday
Thursday, September 23, 2004

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 25 - noon CT
WHERE: Brown Field, Valparaiso, Indiana

TV: (tape-delay) - Channel 43 in Valparaiso. Airs on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. - Dick Harlan and Bill Koch announcing.

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

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Tom Horne, who is 64-97-1 in his 16th season at Valpo. Jacksonville is led by Steve Gilbert, who is 24-39 in his 7th season at Jacksonville.

SERIES RECORD: Jacksonville leads 1-0
LAST MEETING: 2003 - JU won 34-27 in Jacksonville.

LAST WEEK: Valpo lost to Saint Francis (PA) 17-13 last Saturday in Loretto, Penn. Jacksonville lost to Charleston Southern 38-3 last Saturday in Jacksonville.

On Saturday, Valpo looks to get back into the win column when it hosts Jacksonville at noon. The Crusaders (2-2) are coming off a heartbreaking, last-second 17-13 loss to Saint Francis (PA). Jacksonville (0-2) was defeated by Charleston Southern 38-3 last Saturday.


Offense was in abundance in the first-ever meeting between the schools last year. In Jacksonville's 34-27 home victory, Valpo quarterback David Macchi passed for a school-record 452 yards. He tossed four touchdown passes, including three to Rob Giancola who amassed 233 receiving yards. Giancola's scoring catches were of 56, 63 and 11 yards, the latter giving the Crusaders a 27-26 lead with 7:54 left. Jacksonville scored the game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Mike Sturgill to Eldin Ferguson with 2:24 remaining. The teams combined for 859 total yards as Valpo compiled 496. Valpo receivers Ryan Barno (11), Kevin Knutson (7) and Giancola (7) combined for 25 receptions for 442 yards. Dolphin running back Emmett Hunter rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries. Brad Smeja made 13 tackles for Valpo.


Valparaiso University punter Joe Blahowicz was selected as the Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week, as well as the Football Gazette NCAA I-AA Mid-Major National Special Teams Player of the Week. A junior from Alden, N.Y./Erie Community College, Blahowicz punted seven times against Saint Francis (PA), placing three inside the 20-yard line. He averaged 37.7 yards per punt (264 yards), including a boot of 45 yards. Also a wide receiver, Blahowicz made one reception for 22 yards.

VALPO RANKED IN POLLS: Valpo is ranked in the NCAA I-AA Mid-Major polls through Sept. 19. The Crusaders, coming off a PFL Championship season, are tabbed 10th in The Sports Network and 12th in the Football Gazette poll.

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 linebacker Andrew Critchell.

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 SAINT FRANCIS (PA): Kevin Knutson led the team with five receptions for 119 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown pass from Joe Milazzo. Jeff Horton rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries. Saladine Washington had a 1-yard touchdown run. Milazzo passed for 266 yards and one touchdown. Andrew Critchell and Brad Smeja each made a team-high nine tackles. Michael Mroz made two pass breakups and seven tackles. Joe Blahowicz placed three of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line.

MILAZZO TOPS AMONG PFL PASSERS: Valpo quarterback Joe Milazzo leads the PFL in passing efficiency. The senior has earned 125.7 efficiency points and has completed 55.9 percent of his passes. Milazzo also stands 3rd in the PFL in total offense (228.5 ypg.). Brandon Sturman is tied for the PFL lead with two interceptions and punter Joe Blahowicz ranks 2nd in the league in punting average (37.6 ypp.).

Valpo travels to play at Morehead State next Saturday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT) in a rematch of the 2003 PFL title game.