Game #10: Saturday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m. CDT
Valpo (4-5, 1-4 PFL)
at Jacksonville (2-6, 1-4 PFL)
D.B. Milne Field (5,000, Grass) - Jacksonville, Fla.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso heads to the Sunshine State on Saturday as the Crusaders begin their season-ending road trip at Jacksonville. Valpo is trying to snap a two-game losing skid while looking to move back to the .500 mark.
On the Air: For the third straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2007. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso), WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso), and WE-FM (95.9-FM, Michigan City). Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play with Josh Weinhold adding the color commentary.
Series Notes: Jacksonville and Valparaiso are meeting for just the fourth time ever, and for just the second time in the state of Florida. The Dolphins hold a 2-1 series edge after posting a 34-17 victory at Brown Field on September 30, 2006. The Dolphins also won the lone game in Jacksonville, 34-27, on September 27, 2003. Valpo’s lone victory in the series came in 2004 by the score of 54-38.
Scouting Jacksonville: The Dolphins enter the contest looking to snap a two-game losing streak after falling 42-14 at Drake last Saturday afternoon. Jacksonville, which is 2-1 at home this season, plays its final three games of the season at D.B. Milne Field. Quarterback Chris Horton is 107-of-226 for 1,329 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, while throwing 13 interceptions. His favorite targets have been Michael Jenner and Geavon Tribble, who have 30 and 28 catches respectively. On the ground, Rudell Small has carried the ball 59 times for 248 yards and seven touchdowns while Tommie Rogers averages 6.6 yards per carry and has 246 yards on the season. Defensively, Robson Noel has 70 tackles to lead the Dolphins while Joey Rumph has 5.5 tackles for loss and has recovered two fumbles. James Mills has four interceptions.
Last Week: Mason Webb kicked a 24-yard field goal with 1:40 left as Morehead State came from behind to defeat the Crusaders 16-14 last Saturday afternoon at Brown Field. Warren Arnold threw a pair of touchdown passes to Steve Ogden, one of 27 yards in the second quarter and the other an 86-yard strike in the third, as Valpo turned a 13-0 deficit into a 14-13 lead. Ogden finished the day with nine catches for 226 yards.
Ogden Among Valpo’s Top-5 All-Time in Receiving While Surpassing 2,000 Career Yards: Steve Ogden has moved into fifth place on Valpo’s career receiving list and passed the 2,000-yard mark for his career with 226 yards receiving Saturday against Morehead State. Ogden now has 116 catches for 2,157 yards. Kevin Knutson (2001-2004) ranks fourth all-time with 2,308 yards.
Crusaders Among Nation’s Top Run Defenses: Valparaiso currently ranks 16th in NCAA Division I-FCS in rushing defense. The Crusaders currently are allowing just 117.0 yards per game on the ground.
Defense Gets in the Backfield against Eagles: Valparaiso’s defense recorded nine tackles for loss against Morehead State for 65 negative yards. The Brown and Gold got to quarterback Brian Yost six times, sacking him for -44 yards.
Oswald Holding a Block Party: Tom Oswald blocked an extra point against Morehead State, giving him three blocked kicks on the season. The redshirt-sophomore also blocked a kick at Dayton last year, giving him four total over the past two seasons.
Himmelwright Picks Passes: Kyle Himmelwright recorded his third interception of the season against the Eagles last Saturday. He is tied for fourth in the PFL with INTs this season. He now has four picks in his first two seasons of action with the Brown and Gold.
Horton Holds School Rushing Record, Surpasses 3,000 Yards: Fifth-year senior running back Jeff Horton became Valparaiso’s all-time leading rusher last season, passing Joe Pahr (1949-1951). This year, Horton has become the first Crusader in history to surpass 3,000 yards in a career, doing so at Drake. He has 3,024 career yards.
Ogden Leads PFL In Receiving: Steve Ogden leads the Pioneer Football League and ranks 11th in the country averaging 94.9 yards per game. He has 664 yards on 41 catches and seven touchdowns this year.
Horton Fourth on All-Time Scoring List: Jeff Horton has 188 career points moving him into third place all-time in a Crusader uniform past Ozzie Young (1991-1995). Horton needs 54 more points for the school record. Rob Giancola (2000-2004) is the school record-holder with 242 points while Joe Pahr (1949-1951) is second eight points behind Giancola.
Crusaders Set School Rushing Record in Opener: Valparaiso broke a 53-year old single game rushing record with 389 yards on the ground in the season opener against Saint Francis (Ill.). The Crusaders carried the ball 59 times in the game, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Valpo’s previous best rushing day was at DePauw on October 16, 1954 when the Crusaders tallied 387 yards.
Good Work Gets Rewarded for Watkins: Matt Watkins has been recognized for his efforts in the community, having been named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He has participated in "Read for Fun Day" activities at Central Elementary School, helped raise money and walked in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life as well as participating in the Merrillville Diabetes Walk.
Three Earn Player of the Week Honors: Valparaiso has earned several weekly awards from the league office this season. Kyle Himmelwright was named the Pioneer Football League’s Defensive Player of the Week on September 17 following his play at Kalamazoo while Sean Dillon earned the same honor on October 1 following the Drake game. John Popper was the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week on October 8 following the San Diego game after returning a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.
Valpo Picked Eighth in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish eighth place in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the head coaches. San Diego was the league’s preseason favorite after winning the title last year.