Morehead State (2-4, 2-1 PFL)
at Valparaiso (1-5, 1-2 PFL)
Game #7: Saturday, Oct. 19, 1 p.m.
Brown Field (5,000 - ProGrass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valpo returns home to Brown Field after two consecutive weeks out East. The Crusaders welcome Morehead State to Valparaiso for both team’s fourth game of the Pioneer Football League schedule. The Eagles dropped their first four games of the season but have responded with two victories over PFL teams: Davidson and Campbell. Morehead State is off to its best start in conference play since 2007. The last time the Crusaders took to Brown Field they beat Campbell 49-42 in overtime to open the PFL season.
On the Air: For the eighth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network is home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2013. All 11 games can be heard live on WVUR (95.1FM, Valparaiso), online through www.valpoathletics.com. Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play, with David Huseman adding the color commentary this week. Live stats will also be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Dale Carlson: Dale Carlson is 3-36 in his fourth season with the Crusaders, and 113-139-3 overall in his 25th season as a collegiate head coach. He arrived at Valpo from Ohio Dominican where he started the Panther program from scratch in 2004, just as he did at Tri-State University prior to his tenure with Ohio Dominican. He is the 16th head coach in Valpo history, and just the seventh since 1946.
All-Time Series: Morehead State leads the all-time series 15-3 over Valpo including six consecutive wins. The Crusaders last win over MSU came on Sept. 16th, 2006 in Kentucky when Valpo defeated the Eagles 42-35 in Week 3. Morehead State beat the Crusaders 76-24 last November in the final game of the 2012 season.
Wrapping Up 2012: The Crusaders captured their only win of the season on the road last year by defeating Campbell, 41-21. Valpo ended the season 1-10 and 1-7 in PFL play, but returns plenty of experience for 2013, as the Crusaders bring back eight starters on both sides of the ball.
Scouting Morehead State: The Eagles enter Saturday’s tilt looking for their third consecutive PFL victory. Morehead State carries the eighth-best scoring offense in the Pioneer Football League (26 points/game) and the 12th-ranked defense (42.5 points/game). The Eagles’ rush prevention has been suspect, allowing 289.8 yards per game on the ground. Saturday will be an intriguing matchup as Morehead State has accrued the fewest penalty yards per game of any team in the PFL (43.7 yards) and the Crusaders lead the league in coaxing penalty yards out of opponents (80.3 yards). Rob Tenyer is 2-4 in his first season as head coach at MSU. Tenyer served as an assistant coach with the Eagles for 12 seasons before moving to the head chair. The Eagles will start freshman Austin Gahafer under center. The rookie QB has kept a steady head, throwing just two interceptions in 173 pass attempts. Five different ball carriers have netted over 100 yards on the season for Morehead State and six have scored touchdowns. It is imperative for the Crusader defense to hold Morehead State out of the red zone. The Eagles have scored 20 times on 22 possessions inside the opponents’ 20-yard line including 17 touchdowns.
Week in Review: Valpo fell 35-21 to Mercer last Saturday in Macon, Georgia. The Bears scored 21 unanswered points and were led by QB John Russ who had a hand in four of the five touchdowns. Tanner Kuramata had another standout game at wide receiver. The junior caught nine passes for 170 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Quarterback Eric Hoffman completed 30 of 39 pass attempts for 316 yards and two touchdown tosses. It was Hoffman’s fourth game of the season with at least two touchdown passes and his third with no interceptions.
Checking the Leaderboard: Sophomore Alex Green is tied for sixth in all of FCS football with an average of 11.2 tackles per game. Eric Hoffman ranks 13th in passing yards per game with his 281.2/game figure. The Valparaiso offense as a whole checks in at 73rd in total offense at 363.7 yards per contest. The passing unit is 17th in FCS football with an average of 289.8 yards/game.
Oh Captain, My Captain: Valpo has three captains for the 2013 season. Redshirt sophomore running back Jake Hutson will represent the offense, while senior defensive back Alex Grask and sophomore linebacker Alex Green will represent the Crusader defense.
Crusaders Picked 10th in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish 10th in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the preseason poll. The prognosticators selected San Diego to take home the 2013 championship.
Spread the Wealth: Five different receivers have registered at least a dozen receptions so far in 2013. Andrew Cassara has been active the past three weeks, hauling in 21 passes. With much of the focus on Gladney, Cassara and Tanner Kuramata are taking advantage of opportunities. Kuramata has averaged 105.6 receiving yards a game since Week 2. With Jake Hutson on the shelf for the remainder of the season, Brandon Hall and Denzell Conway are also becoming consistent targets for Hoffman.
Guilford Tough: After a strong second half in 2012, sophomore John Guilford is picking up right where he left off. The defensive end has notched a sack in each of the last three tilts. His four sacks on the season are a team-high. Guilford has also recorded 22 tackles the last three weeks including ten at Marist on Oct. 5th.
The Big Green: Alex Green has flourished at middle linebacker this season for the Crusaders. The sophomore leads the PFL with 67 total tackles and his 39 solo stops are also a conference best. Three of Green’s nearly six dozen tackles have been for a loss this season. As his development progresses, the Crusader linebackers are surfacing as an area of strength.