Game #9: Saturday, Oct. 27, 1 p.m. CDT
Morehead State (5-2, 3-1 PFL)
at Valpo (4-4, 1-3 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000 - Grass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso is set to wrap up the home portion of the 2007 football season on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host Morehead State on Senior Day. Valpo is looking to finish the season over .500 at home as well as move above the .500 mark on the season.
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: Morehead State leads the all-time series with Valparaiso 9-3 dating back to the first meeting in 1996. Last year, the Crusaders topped the Eagles 42-35 on September 16 in Morehead, Ky. as Ryan Doerffler connected with Steve Ogden on a 79-yard touchdown pass with just 31 seconds remaining. Valpo is just 1-6 against Morehead State at Brown Field, but the lone victory came in the 2003 Pioneer Football League Championship game by the score of 54-42.
Scouting Morehead State: The Eagles enter the game just one game out of first place in the PFL standings heading into the final three weeks of the season. Morehead State is coming off of a 24-3 victory against Butler last Saturday. The Eagles lead all of NCAA I-FCS in rushing defense, allowing just 22.7 yards per game on the ground while ranking ninth in total defense surrendering 288.9 yards per night. Brian Yost is 109-of-187 passing for 1429 yards and 15 touchdowns while Nick Feldman has 36 catches for 640 yards, ranking 13th in FCS in receiving. Defensively, Brett Mazzaro leads the team with 48 tackles, including eight for loss.
Last Week: Dayton scored less than two minutes into the contest on its way to a 27-7 halftime advantage, and defeated the Crusaders 33-7 at Brown Field last Saturday. Flyers quarterback Kevin Hoyng ran for three scores and threw for another in the victory. Bill Burgett caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Warren Arnold late in the first quarter for the Crusaders lone points. Ross Wiemer led the ground game with 15 carries for 88 yards.
13 Seniors Honored: Valparaiso will honor the 13 members of the senior class prior to kickoff. Brett Barry, Matt Dorow, Ben Faulkner, James Gregait, Jeff Horton, Otis Hosley, Jr., Doug Howard, Bret Jaskiw, Matt Mancl, Josh Regent-Smith, Noah Schroeder, Matt Watkins, and Justin Wiler are all wrapping up their careers wearing the Brown and Gold.
Ogden Among Valpo’s Top-5 All-Time in Receiving While Nearing 2,000 Career Yards: Steve Ogden has moved into fifth place on Valpo’s career receiving list and is nearing the 2,000-yard mark for his career. Ogden now has 107 catches for 1,931 yards. Kevin Knutson (2001-2004) ranks fourth all-time with 2,308 yards.
Crusaders Among Nation’s Top Defenses: Valparaiso currently ranks 15th in NCAA Division I-FCS in rushing defense. The Crusaders currently are allowing just 112.3 yards per game on the ground.
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.
Koepke All-Around on Defense: Ryan Koepke has done a little of everything for the Crusader defense this season. In addition to leading the team with 56 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, he has intercepted two passes, forced a fumble, and recorded a couple of quarterback hurries.
Rundh Continues to Get in the Backfield: Adam Rundh added another 1.5 tackles for loss last Saturday against Dayton and now has 10.5 for the season, including 5.0 quarterback sacks. The sophomore is tied for 35th in all of NCAA I-FCS in sacks and 36th in tackles for loss.
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.
Valpo Controls the Clock: The Crusaders are averaging nearly five minutes more with the ball than their opponents this year, with an average of 32:21 per game compared with the opposition’s 27:39.
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. The PFL champion will face the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic at year’s end.