The Valparaiso University football team kept it close early for the second straight week, but 28 second-quarter points helped Sacred Heart pull away for a 42-14 victory over the Crusaders in Fairfield, Conn. on Saturday.
How It Happened
- Freshman quarterback Jimmy Seewald (Livonia, Mich. / Divine Child) threw the first touchdown pass of his collegiate career, connecting with sophomore Jean Rene (Delray Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community) for 36 yards to tie the game at seven with 7:56 left in the first quarter.
- That touchdown erased a 7-0 hole that was created when Sacred Heart struck first on a 16-yard run by RJ Noel with 10:06 left in the first. But the Pioneers regained the lead on a six-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard run by Jordan Meachum with 13:56 left in the second quarter.
- Sacred Heart expanded the lead to 35-7 with 28 unanswered points.
- The Crusaders found the end zone with 2:07 left in the first half when Seewald heaved a 5-yard pass to sophomore Griffin Norberg (Sunrsie, Fla. / Western). It was Norberg’s first touchdown catch of the season and the third of his Valpo career.
- A 6-yard touchdown run by Sacred Heart’s Jay Croom with 12:01 left in the third quarter made it 42-14. Neither team scored for the game’s duration.
Inside the Game
- The Seewald-to-Rene connection was Valpo’s first offensive touchdown of the season. It was the sixth touchdown catch of Rene’s Crusader career.
- Seewald became the first true freshman to throw a touchdown pass for Valpo since Ben Lehman on Oct. 29, 2011.
- The scoring pass to Rene was Seewald’s first play of the game as he took over for Ryan Clarke, who was injured on the previous play. Seewald finished 14-of-29 for 137 yards.
- Rene made three catches for 64 yards, while Ryan Moore (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. / Westminster Academy) had four grabs for 61 yards.
- Reigning Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Week Kellan Hughes (Cicero, Ind. / Hamilton Heights) made his second interception of the season and sixth in the last two years. The Hughes pick set up the Seewald-to-Norberg touchdown pass.
- Sophomore Alex Ng (Royal Palm Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community) averaged 44.9 yards per punt on nine opportunities. His longest punt sailed 59 yards.
- Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington) had a career-high 13 tackles to lead the Crusaders. Nick Turner (Gurnee, Ill. / Warren Township), who was making his season debut, also reached a career watermark by chipping in 11 tackles.
- The Pioneers limited the Crusaders to 11 rushing yards and outgained Valpo 491-221 in total offense.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Cecchini
“Sacred Heart did a good job of spreading it out and forcing us to play the field. Their speed advantage and quickness on the edge hurt us. Sacred Heart’s scheme is great and they’ve got a veteran quarterback who can run it. That’s awfully tough to beat.”
The Crusaders (0-2) will kick off the home portion of the season next Saturday as they host Trinity International (1-1). The game is slated to begin at 1 p.m. and can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, and heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live video and audio, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.