Freshman quarterback Jimmy Seewald (Livonia, Mich. / Divine Child) made his first career start a memorable one, matching a program record with five touchdown passes in the Valparaiso University football team’s 49-24 victory over Trinity International on Saturday at Brown Field. The Crusaders racked up 527 yards of total offense in the win over the Trojans.
How It Happened
- The home opener started in favorable fashion for the Crusaders as Idode Kerobo (Southfield, Mich. / Eisenhower) intercepted a J.J. Burmeister pass on Trinity International’s first play from scrimmage.
- Then, on Valpo’s first offensive play of the game, Seewald hit Jean Rene (Delray Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community) for a 61-yard TD.
- Freshman Cody Boxrucker (West Chester, Ohio / Badin) scampered into the end zone from four yards out for his first career TD with 43 seconds left in the first quarter.
- After Jarell Carter hit a 37-yard field goal to get the Trojans on the board, the Crusaders boosted the lead to 21-3 on a 17-yard pass completion from Seewald to junior Frank Catrine (Springboro, Ohio / Bishop Fenwick), who made his season debut.
- Trinity International made it 21-17 by scoring twice in the final 1:28 of the second quarter.
- Rene made his second TD catch of the game with 13:10 left in the third on a 19-yard pass from Seewald.
- Burmeister completed a 33-yard TD pass to Brad Hargis with 6:34 left in the third to cut Valpo’s lead to 28-24.
- But it was all Crusaders for the game’s duration, with Valpo scoring the final 21 points. Jarrett Morgan (Cooper City, Fla. / Cooper City) turned in a 52-yard TD run followed by a 20-yard TD catch. Then Seewald capped the scoring with a 14-yard toss to Mason Sutter (Woodstock, Ill. / Woodstock).
Inside the Game
- Seewald became the sixth Valpo player to throw five touchdown passes in a game. Dave Macchi accomplished the feat three times in 2003. Before Seewald, Ryan Clarke was the most recent Crusader to match the record, doing so last season at Davidson.
- Seewald was the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Valpo since Eric Lemon in 2010.
- Kicker Jake Simpson (Wyandotte, Mich. / Roosevelt) went 7-for-7 on extra points, tying the program record for successful PATs in a game. The mark had been reached five times previously, most recently by Jake Newman on Oct. 11, 2014 against Missouri Baptist.
- Morgan led Valpo’s rushing attack with 106 yards on 14 carries. His 52-yard TD dash was the longest rushing play by the Crusaders this season and the longest of Morgan’s Valpo career.
- Rene now has three TD grabs this season and eight in his Valpo career. He finished with four receptions for 90 yards, while Morgan and Sutter led the way with five catches each.
- Sutter’s TD catch was his first of the season and the second of his career.
- The 527 yards of total offense was the most Valpo has compiled in a single game since Sept. 27, 2014 at Campbell.
- Valpo prevailed in a home opener for the first time since 2008, a 34-10 win over Concordia (Wis.).
- The Crusaders went 9-for-13 on third down. It was the first time they’ve had nine or more third down conversions in a game since Nov. 22, 2014 against Davidson.
- Joey Diaz-Martinez (Miramar, Fla. / Miramar) made his first interception of the year and the fourth of his Valpo career. He returned the interception 16 yards, the longest interception return of his collegiate career.
- Diaz-Martinez and Kellan Hughes (Cicero, Ind. / Hamilton Heights) led Valpo with 10 tackles apiece.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Cecchini
“It’s hard to start a football game out any better than creating a turnover on the first play, and then having your freshman quarterback go out and throw a touchdown pass on your first offensive play of the game. Jimmy stepped up and made a nice throw, and Jean Rene made a great run to really jumpstart the team.”
The Crusaders (1-2) will begin Pioneer Football League play next Saturday. It’s Homecoming at Brown Field as Valpo hosts Davidson. 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.