Valparaiso (0-8, 0-5 PFL)
Game #9: Saturday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m. CDT
at Marist (3-6, 2-4 PFL)
Tenney Stadium (5,000 - FieldTurf) - Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso heads to New York this Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders begin the final quarter of the 2011 football season facing Marist. This week’s contest is the third road game over the last four weeks for the Brown and Gold.
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 valpoathletics.com. This week’s game can also be viewed online through valpoathletics.com as part of the Horizon League Network. Live stats will also be available for the game through valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Dale Carlson: Dale Carlson is 0-19 in his second season with the Crusaders and 110-122-3 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: Valparaiso and Marist are meeting for just the third time in a series that began when the Red Foxes joined the Pioneer Football League in 2009. Marist has won both previous meetings between the two schools, including a 51-7 victory at Brown Field last season. In the only previous contest in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the Red Foxes shutout the Crusaders 24-0 on Oct. 31, 2009.
Wrapping Up Dayton: Valparaiso hung with Dayton for nearly all of the first half, trailing just 14-3 heading into the final minute of the stanza, but the Flyers erupted for 21 points over a 1:06 period spanning both halves and went on to defeat the Crusaders 49-10 last Saturday at Brown Field. Adam Weinel kicked his first collegiate field goal, a 31-yarder, for Valpo’s first points while Ben Lehman connected with Tony Taibi from 41 yards out late in the final quarter for the Crusaders’ other score.
Scouting Marist: The Red Foxes are still looking for their first home victory of the season after falling 23-13 in the snow last Saturday in Poughkeepsie. Tommy Reilly has completed 96-of-158 passes for 1,166 yards and six scores, including 40 passes to Kevin Fitzpatrick for 458 yards and three touchdowns. Calvin McCoy is the team’s leading rusher with 83 carries for 304 yards. Defensively, Ryan Cronan leads Marist with 60 total tackles while Terrence Fede has made 58 stops, including 13 behind the line of scrimmage. Fede has 7.5 quarterback sacks among the tackles for loss.
Derbak Continues to Lead the Defense: Pat Derbak continues to lead the Crusaders with 66 tackles on the season, ranking third in the Pioneer Football League with 8.2 stops per contest. He has 6.5 tackles for loss included among his season totals. Last week against Dayton, Derbak led the Crusaders with 10 total tackles, including solo stops.
For Three: Adam Weinel kicked Valparaiso’s first field goal of the season last week against Dayton, the eighth week of the year. Weinel connected from 31 yards out for his first collegiate field goal. He has now tried all three of Valpo’s field goal attempts on the season.
Getting in the Backfield: Valpo has pushed back into the opponents’ backfields the last two weeks. After recording just 22 total tackles for loss over the first six games of the season, the Crusaders have recorded 17 stops behind the line of scrimmage over the past two weeks, including eight last week against Dayton. Ryan Mundy and Nikko Carson led the way for the Brown and Gold with two stops each behind the line of scrimmage last week.
Lehman and Taibi Connect for First Scores: Freshman Ben Lehman threw his first collegiate touchdown pass last Saturday against Dayton, coming in off of the bench late in the game. He connected with redshirt-freshman Tony Taibi, who hauled in his first scoring grab of his career, from 41 yards out.
Hoffman Uses His Legs Too: Eric Hoffman has thrown for a team-leading 1,531 yards this season starting at quarterback. The redshirt-freshman also racked up a career high 39 yards rushing last week against Dayton on nine carries, including a long scamper of 16 yards, also a season’s best.
Weinel Perfect on the Season: Adam Weinel is still perfect on point after touchdown attempts this season. The freshman has made all 11 of his attempts following Crusader scores and has been the go-to kicker for Valpo after sharing the job earlier in the season.
Making the Stops: Laurence Treadaway, Cole Gridley, and Ryan Mundy all posted career highs last weekend defensively against Dayton. Treadaway matched his career best with nine total tackles, second on the team, while Gridley registered seven tackles, including six solo stops. Mundy also made seven tackles as well, including two behind the line of scrimmage.
Smarwt Among All-Purpose Leaders: Kelvin Smarwt ranks 42nd among all FCS players averaging 125.12 all-purpose yards per game this season. Smarwt has picked up 13 yards rushing, 101 receiving, 18 via punt return, and 869 from kickoff returns this season, and has just gone over 1,000 for the season. He enters this weekend at 1,001 all-purpose yards for the year.
Sharing the Wealth: Andrew Cassara became the 17th different Valpo player to have caught at least one pass this season with his first collegiate reception two weeks ago at Drake. A total of 14 of the 17 have at least two receptions on the year.
Passing Offense Among Nation’s Leaders: Valparaiso ranks 37th among all NCAA I-FCS schools averaging 232.38 passing yards per game this season. Crusader quarterbacks have completed 55.0 percent of their passes this season for 1,859 yards in seven games.
A Strong Leg: Greg Wood, a First Team All-Pioneer Football League punter one year ago, is averaging 42.76 yards per kick over his 58 punts this season and ranks ninth among all NCAA I-FCS punters. He leads all PFL punters again this year as well. The junior had a long of 71 yards against San Diego, and has already has 13 50+ yard kicks on the season. He has landed 15 kicks inside of the 20-yard line for the year. For his career Wood averages 43.2 yards per punt. Wood has had at least one 50-yard punt in 15 of his 17 collegiate games.
Racking Up the Offense: Valpo tallied 463 yards of total offense against Butler on Oct. 15, matching the Crusaders’ season high in yardage. The Crusaders also put up 463 yards in the season opener against Franklin, marking the Crusaders’ highest offensive output since the Brown and Gold rolled up 469 yards at Drake on Sept. 29, 2007.
Lighting Up the Scoreboard: Valpo’s 35 point outburst against Franklin in the season opener 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 against the Grizzlies.
Senior Day Up Next: Valpo will honor its 2011 senior class next Saturday, Nov. 12, prior to the final home game of the season against Campbell.
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: Gabe Ali-El leads Valpo rushers with 140 yards on the ground ... Tanner Kuramata is the Crusaders’ top receiver with 23 catches for 244 yards ... Sean McCarty has 326 yards worth of receptions on 18 grabs ... Eric Hoffman has completed 147-of-258 passes for 1,531 yards ... Valpo has converted at least one fourth down in each game this season.