Game #5: Saturday, Oct. 11, 1 p.m. CDT
Davidson (2-2, 1-1 PFL)
at Valpo (1-3, 0-1 PFL)
Brown Field (5,000, ProGrass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso returns to Brown Field on Saturday afternoon to host Davidson in the annual Homecoming game looking to record its first Pioneer Football League victory of the season. Prior to kickoff, there will be a dedication ceremony for the newly remodeled Brown Field.
On the Air: For the fourth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2008. 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 David Schroeder adding the color commentary. The game can also be heard online at www.valpoathletics.com.
Series Notes: Davidson has won all five previous meetings with Valparaiso in a series that dates back to the 2001 campaign. The Wildcats are a perfect 3-0 here at Brown Field, last visiting Valpo in 2006. In last year’s meeting in Davidson, N.C., the Wildcats jumped out to a 44-0 lead on the way to a 44-6 victory to end the 2007 season for both schools.
Scouting Davidson: The Wildcats enter the game having had their modest two-game winning streak snapped last Saturday at Morehead State. Davidson is playing away from home for the fourth time in the first five games of the season and will play six of the first eight overall away from home. Quarterback Ryan Alexander ranks second in the PFL in passing averaging 237.2 yards per game for the Wildcats. His receiving corps has four different players with at least 11 catches on the season, led by Kirk Konert who has 24 grabs for 283 yards. Tyler Lemmons and Daniel Hauffe lead the defense with 33 tackles each on the season. Lemons has forced two fumbles while Hauffe has registered six tackles for loss.
Wrapping Up San Diego: Warren Arnold’s one-yard touchdown run at the end of the first half tied the game at 14, but San Diego scored four touchdowns in the second half on the way to a 42-14 victory in California last Saturday. The Toreros tallied 578 yards of total offense on the day while limiting the Crusaders to just 59 yards through the air and 260 total for the day. Jake Riedel had Valpo’s first touchdown, a three-yard run to cap a 12-play drive, all on the ground, to open the game. Ryan Koepke had 12 tackles to lead the defense.
Dedication Ceremony Planned For Saturday: A dedication ceremony of the newly renovated Brown Field will take place prior to kickoff on Saturday. A university dedication will take place approximately 9:45 a.m. with another ceremony commencing around 12:40 p.m., just prior to the start of the game. Football alumni from throughout Valparaiso’s history will take part in the ceremonies.
Creating Turnovers: Valpo is +6 in turnover margin thus far this season after intercepting seven passes and recovering five fumbles. The 12 takeaways are already more than half of its entire 2007 total of 20. On the other side of the football, the Crusaders have thrown just two interceptions and lost four fumbles. The +1.5 takeaways per game ranks fourth nationally among all NCAA I-FCS schools.
Popper Does a Little of Everything: John Popper has been Mr. Versatile for the Crusaders this season. The junior has carried 21 times for an average of 27.5 yards per game while making two catches out of the backfield. In addition, he has returned all but one kickoff for the Crusaders for a 22.0 yard per return average. Popper also has returned all eight punts for an average of 13.4 yards, ranking 15th in the country.
Dillon Leads the Defense: Sean Dillon has led the Crusader defense all year. His 35 tackles (8.75 per game), rank him second in the PFL. He has recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and against San Diego forced and recovered a fumble.
Secrest Continues to Increase Punting Numbers: Mitch Secrest is having his best season as a Crusader punting the football. This season he is averaging 35.2 yards per kick, nearly a yard better than 2007. He has landed six inside the 20-yard line and has a long of 50.
Koepke Tallies Career High in Tackles: Senior linebacker Ryan Koepke made a career high 12 tackles, including 11 solos, last week against San Diego. He now has 214 tackles over his four years wearing the Brown and Gold.
Arnold Moves Into Seventh in Total Offense: Senior quarterback Warren Arnold moved past Gordon Helms (1953-1955) into seventh place on Valpo’s total offense list for a career after racking up 143 yards against San Diego. Arnold now has 3,717 yards combined rushing and passing. Ryan Doerffler (2003-2006) is sixth all-time with 3,861 total yards, just 144 yards ahead of the senior. Rob Rayl (1990-1993) is fifth on the list with 4,007 yards, 290 in front of Arnold.
Himmelwright in the Backfield: Kyle Himmelwright leads the Valpo defense with 4.0 tackles for loss. He has also intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.
Ogden Fourth All-Time in Receiving: Steve Ogden has moved into fourth place on Valpo’s career receiving list with 2,332 yards, passing Kevin Knutson’s (2001-2004) fourth place total of 2,308 for a career. He is still nearly 500 yards shy of Dan Bogar’s (1981-1984) third place total of 2,816 yards.
Valpo’s Pass Defense Among the Nation’s Best: Valpo’s pass defense ranks second in all of NCAA I-FCS through week six allowing just 119.50 yards per game through the air. Last week against San Diego marked the first time an opponent had thrown for 100 yards against the Crusaders all season. Valpo’s defense has also intercepted seven passes already this year.
Arnold to Move Into the Top-10 in Passing: Warren Arnold is just 16 passing yards shy of moving into the top-10 all-time at Valparaiso. The senior quarterback enters play with 2,630 passing yards, trailing Jon Dimitri’s (1965-1967) 10th place mark of 2,646. With 159 more yards, Arnold would move all the way into eighth place. Arnold threw for a season-high 207 yards against Marian (Ind.).
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish in a tie for seventh place in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the head coaches. San Diego was selected to win the league followed by Dayton. The PFL champion will face the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic on December 6.