Game #11: Saturday, Nov. 10, 11 a.m. CDT
Valpo (5-5, 2-4 PFL)
at Davidson (5-4, 3-3 PFL)
Richardson Stadium (4,500, Grass) - Davidson, N.C.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso wraps up the 2007 season on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Davidson, N.C. to battle Davidson College, looking to finish the season over .500 for the first time since 2003. Valpo can finish as high as fourth place in the PFL standings with a victory coupled with a Drake loss to Dayton.
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: Valparaiso and Davidson are meeting for just the fifth time ever on the gridiron. The Wildcats hold a 4-0 series edge after posting a 48-14 victory over the Crusaders on October 28 of last season. The two schools have met in Davidson just once before, a 24-7 Wildcat victory to open the 2001 season, the first meeting ever between the teams.
Scouting Davidson: The Wildcats are looking to rebound from a 52-49 loss at San Diego last weekend that snapped their two-game winning streak. Wide receiver Ryan Hubbard is tied for second in NCAA I-FCS in receptions per game (8.00), hauling in 56 passes on the season. His 697 yards are ninth best in the country (99.6 per game). Quarterback Ryan Alexander has completed 57.8% of his passes for 1,857 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year while Chad Barnes leads the ground attack with 88 carries for 372 yards. The Wildcats’ offensive line ranks third in the country in sacks allowed, as just seven defensive players have gotten to their quarterback. Defensively, Peter Bakke and Matt Easton lead the way with 69 and 67 tackles respectively.
Last Week: Mozale McHenry scored from two yards out with just 1:45 remaining as Valpo rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Jacksonville 29-27 on the road last Saturday. Valpo jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the Dolphins responded with 27 of the next 30 points to build a 27-17 advantage. John Popper rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns while Warren Arnold added 105 yards on the ground in addition to a touchdown pass. Matt Watkins led the defense with 11 tackles while the Crusader special teams blocked a pair of kicks.
Looking to Double Win Total: A victory against Davidson on Saturday would give Valpo six wins this season, matching the total amount of victories for the Brown and Gold each of the last two seasons combined. The Crusaders finished both seasons 3-8. Valpo has also won at least two league games for the first time since 2003.
Comeback Kids: Valpo has trailed entering the fourth quarter in four of its five victories this season. Saturday against Jacksonville, the Crusaders rallied from 10 down with less than eight minutes to play. Earlier this season, the Brown and Gold scored 28 fourth quarter points against Butler to rally from a 14-point deficit.
Crusaders Among Nation’s Top Sack Producers: Valparaiso currently ranks 12th in NCAA Division I-FCS in sacks per game. The Crusaders currently are forcing 2.90 per contest, and have 29 total for 226 yards this season.
Oswald Leading a Block Party: Tom Oswald blocked yet another extra point at Jacksonville, giving him four blocked kicks on the season. The redshirt-sophomore also blocked a kick at Dayton last year, giving him five total over the past two seasons. As a team, Valpo has blocked six kicks in 10 games, including two last week against the Dolphins.
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 3,077 career 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 against Morehead State earlier this year. Ogden now has 117 catches for 2,162 yards. Kevin Knutson (2001-2004) ranks fourth all-time with 2,308 yards.
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.
Valpo to Finish Higher Than Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish eighth place in the Pioneer Football League this season. However, heading into the final weekend of the season, the Crusaders are assured of at least finishing in sixth place and can finish as high as fourth.