Valparaiso opened the Pioneer Football League slate on Saturday afternoon in San Diego, Calif., falling to host San Diego by a 51-14 score.
The Toreros scored on each of their first two possesions, getting touchdown runs from Kenn James (11 yards) and Mason Mills (5 yards) to take a 13-0 lead just 5:46 into the contest. San Diego added touchdowns on each of its first possessions in the second quarter, as Mills threw touchdown passes of seven yards to Lawrence Larivee and 18 yards to Brandon White, while Darrion Hancock picked up a one-yard score on the ground to go ahead 34-0.
Valpo threatened as the second quarter entered its final minutes, putting together a 10-play, 66-yard drive, the big play being a 39-yard completion on third-and-7 from redshirt sophomore Eric Hoffman (Manitowoc, Wis./Lincoln) to redshirt sophomore Fred Gladney (Milwaukee, Wis./Dominican). But with the ball on the San Diego 13, Hoffman was intercepted on a second-and-10 play, and the Toreros drove the field to hit a 48-yard field goal as time expired, taking a 37-0 lead into the break.
Hoffman came out throwing on Valpo's first possession of the second half, going 6-for-8 through the air on the opening drive. The Crusader quarterback found Gladney with each of his first four completions before hitting senior tight end Mike Gerton (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) with the final two, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to get the Crusaders on the board. San Diego answered immediately, however, on a 52-yard TD pass from Mills to Sam Hoekstra.
Valpo added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter, as Hoffman went 7-for-8 passing on a drive which culminated in a one-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Andrew Cassara (Mokena, Ill./Aurora Christian). San Diego capped the scoring midway through the final period on a six-yard TD run by Dallas Kessman.
Hoffman ended the day 34-for-55 through the air for 284 yards and the pair of touchdowns. Gladney cracked the century mark in receiving yards, catching nine passes for a career-best 125 yards, while Cassara added seven catches for 60 yards. Defensively, the Crusaders were led by junior Alex Grask (Naperville, Ill./Central) for the third time in four games, as the defensive back tallied eight tackles. Junior Francis Baker Jr. (Lusby, Md./Patuxent) added a pair of sacks.
Mills finished 17-for-20 for 242 yards and three scores passing for San Diego (2-2, 1-0 PFL). James led the Toreros' rushing attack with 12 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown. San Diego held a 518-318 edge in total offense on Saturday, including a 227-34 advantage in yards on the ground.
Valparaiso (0-4, 0-1 PFL) has a bye week next Saturday before continuing PFL play on Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 6 as the Crusaders host Butler in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Brown Field.