Valparaiso (0-1, 0-0 PFL)
Game #2: Saturday, Sept. 10, 3 p.m. CDT
at Youngstown State (0-1, 0-0 MVFC)
Stambaugh Stadium (20,630 - PowerBlade HP+) - Youngstown, Ohio
This Week in Crusader Football: After posting their high offensive output since 2008 last Saturday, Valparaiso takes to the road for the first time in 2011 traveling to Youngstown State to battle a traditional NCAA I-FCS national power. This week’s contest is the second of three straight non-conference games to open the season for the Crusaders prior to the start of Pioneer Football League action in October.
On the Air: For the seventh straight season the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2010. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso), which will carry every game all season long along with WJOB (1230-AM, Hammond), which will carry select games. Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play with Ryan Wronkowicz adding the color commentary this week. The game can also be heard live online at www.valpoathletics.com. Live stats will also be available for the game through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Dale Carlson: Dale Carlson is 0-12 in his second season with the Crusaders and 110-115-3 overall entering his 23rd season as a collegiate head coach. He arrived at Valpo from Ohio Dominican where he began the Ohio Dominican program from scratch in 2004, just as he did at Tri-State University prior to his tenure with the Panthers. He is the 16th head coach in Valpo history, and just the seventh since 1946.
Series Notes: This marks the first meeting on the gridiron between the Crusaders and Penguins. Valpo and Youngstown State have met in nearly every other sport though as both schools are members of the Horizon League for all sports except football.
Wrapping Up Franklin: Valpo jumped out to a 28-14 lead in the second quarter but the Grizzlies scored 35 of the final 42 points to defeat the Crusaders 49-35 last Saturday at Brown Field. Valpo tallied 463 yards of total offense, including 394 through the air from the arm of Eric Hoffman, but was unable to stop Franklin as the Grizzlies tallied 669 yards on the day. Five different Crusaders found the end zone, including an interception return for a score by Alan Porter, Jr. Tim Bennett had 73 yards receiving for the Brown and Gold while Bobby Wysocki led all Valpo ball carries with 29 yards.
Scouting Youngstown State: The Penguins opened the season last Friday evening with a 28-6 loss at Michigan State. Kurt Hess threw for 126 yards while Jamaine Cook registered 76 yards on the ground. Jelani Berassa scored Youngstown State’s lone touchdown, a 10-yard reception from Hess in the second quarter. Jeremey Edwards and John Sasson led the Penguins with 11 tackles each while Josh Garner made 10 stops. Youngstown State was tabbed eighth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll.
Racking Up the Offense: Valpo tallied 463 yards of total offense in the season opener against Franklin last Saturday, a total that ranks 17th in all of NCAA I-FCS. It marked the Crusaders’ highest offensive output since the Brown and Gold rolled up 469 yards at Drake on Sept. 29, 2007.
A Solid Collegiate Debut: Redshirt-freshman quarterback Eric Hoffman put together an outstanding performance in his collegiate debut against the Grizzlies last week, completing 27-of-42 passes for 394 yards. Hoffman threw for one touchdown and ran for another while avoiding any turnovers in the season opener. Valpo’s 394 yards of passing offense ranked sixth in NCAA I-FCS on the opening weekend.
Lighting Up the Scoreboard: Valpo’s 35 point outburst against Franklin marked the highest point total for the Crusaders since the Brown and Gold scored 47 in a 47-14 victory at Campbell on Nov. 15, 2008. In fact, the Crusaders never scored more than 19 points in all of 2010, and had surpassed that total just 1:47 into the second quarter last Saturday.
Pick Six: Alan Porter, Jr. wasted little time putting Valpo on the scoreboard in 2011, intercepting a Jonny West pass and returning it 61 yards for a touchdown just 1:57 into the game against Franklin on Saturday. For the junior it was his first career interception. The interception return for a touchdown marked the second straight game Valpo registered a “pick six” as Eli Crawford returned an interception 45 yards for a score in the season finale last Nov. 13 at Morehead State.
Winning the Turnover Battle: Valpo won the battle of miscues last week against Franklin with a +2 margin. The Crusaders intercepted a pair of Grizzly passes, the pick six by Alan Porter, Jr. as well as an interception by Bryce LaMore. Nikko Carson also recovered a fumble for the Brown and Gold. Valpo’s lone turnover was a fumble late in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders won the turnover battle just once last season, in the finale against Morehead State.
Converting on Fourth Down: Valpo made good on both of its fourth down attempts in the season opener against Franklin. Both conversions came on the first offensive series of the game. On a fourth-and-one from Valpo’s own 44-yard line, Bobby Wysocki picked up the yard that was needed for the first down. The Crusaders then went for a fourth-and-one at the Franklin three and Ryan Lehr found the end zone for the touchdown.
Who’s Up Next?: Chris Smith and Adam Weinel split the place kicking duties in the season opener, alternating point after touchdown attempts. Smith, a senior, was true on all three of his attempts while Weinel, a freshman, made both of his PAT tries. Weinel tried the lone field goal attempt of the game, but was wide left from 38 yards out.
Welcome Back Tim: Tim Bennett hauled in a team-high five passes for 73 yards against Franklin in his first appearance on the field since an injury sidelined him early in the 2010 season.
Picking Up Where He Left Off: Greg Wood, a First Team All-Pioneer Football League punter one year ago, posted a solid 42.3 yard per kick average over his 10 punts last week against Franklin. The junior had a long of 63 yards against the Grizzlies, one of three that traveled 50 or more yards. For his career Wood averages 43.5 yards per punt.
Team Captains: Valpo has tri-captains for the 2011 season. Fifth-year senior defensive back Laurence Treadaway and senior defensive lineman Grant Bushong represent the defense while senior center Ferdinand Velez represents the offense.
Crusaders Picked 10th in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish 10th in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the preseason poll. The prognosticators selected Jacksonville to take home the 2011 championship.
This and That: Alan Porter, Jr. had a career-high 12 tackles, including 10 solo stops against Franklin ... Pat Derbak made nine tackles in the opener after making 11 total throughout his entire freshman season ... Nikko Carson went over 100 tackles for his career (103) with four stops against the Grizzlies ... Sean McCarty is 167 receiving yards shy of 1,000 for his career ... Valpo was a perfect 3-for-3 scoring in the red zone in the season opener.