Valparaiso (1-8, 1-5 PFL)
at Butler (7-3, 5-1 PFL)
Game #10: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m.
Butler Bowl (5,647 - FieldTurf) - Indianapolis, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: The Crusaders and the Butler Bulldogs will duke it out for the Hoosier Helmet this Saturday in Indianapolis. Valpo ran into a highly proficient San Diego squad last week at Brown Field. On the contrary, Butler is riding high following a 21-point comeback versus Dayton. The Bulldogs scored 27 of the game’s final 30 points to keep their PFL championship hopes alive. The Brown and Gold are seeking their first road win of the season in their final contest away from Brown Field in 2013.
On the Air: For the eighth straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network is home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2013. All 11 games can be heard live on WVUR (95.1FM, Valparaiso), online through www.valpoathletics.com. Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play, with Dave Huseman adding the color commentary this week. Live stats will also be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Dale Carlson: Dale Carlson is 3-39 in his fourth season with the Crusaders, and 113-142-3 overall in his 25th season as a collegiate head coach. He arrived at Valpo from Ohio Dominican where he started the Panther program from scratch in 2004, just as he did at Tri-State University prior to his tenure with Ohio Dominican. He is the 16th head coach in Valpo history, and just the seventh since 1946.
All-Time Series: Butler leads the all-time series 47-24 over Valpo including five consecutive wins. Valpo has played Butler more times on the gridiron than any other team in college football. The Crusaders’ last win over the Bulldogs came on Oct. 13th, 2007. Butler defeated the Brown and Gold 56-17 last October in Valparaiso.
Wrapping Up 2012: The Crusaders captured their only win of the season on the road last year by defeating Campbell, 41-21. Valpo ended the season 1-10 and 1-7 in PFL play, but returns plenty of experience for 2013, as the Crusaders bring back eight starters on both sides of the ball.
Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs enter Saturday’s tilt as one of three teams tied atop the PFL standings. San Diego and Marist also boast 5-1 records in conference play. Senior running back Trae Heeter is the cream of the crop in regards to running backs in the league, collecting 1,016 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. The Bulldogs are adept at protecting quarterback Matt Lancaster. The senior has been a sacked a PFL-least nine times in ten games. Lancaster has completed 63.2% of his passes and is one of five QBs in the PFL who has already thrown for 2,000 yards this season. Unlike Mason Mills last week, Lancaster can beat teams with his legs as well as his arm. His 535 rushing yards rank third amongst PFL quarterbacks. Senior Brendan Shannon is the Bulldogs’ go-to wide receiver. Shannon has hauled in 60 passes and 734 yards along with three touchdowns. Jeff Voris is 48-39 in his eighth season as head coach of the Bulldogs. He served in the same capacity with the Carroll (Wis.) College Pioneers before coming to Indianapolis. At Carroll, Voris inherited a roster of 51 players in 2001. In 2005, the team boasted 111 players in addition to its first winning season since 1996. Prior to his five-year stint at Carroll, Voris spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Illinois before working with wide receivers and offensive linemen at the University of Texas. Butler leads the PFL in interceptions with 13. David Burke leads the Butler defense in tackles with 60. The junior’s six tackles for a loss are second on the team only to linebacker Zack Sedivy (7). Only one Bulldog - freshman Joshua Willis - has recorded more than two sacks thus far. Sophomore kicker Jon Treloar is a perfect 7-for-7 on field goals in 2013. His season long is 34 yards.
Week in Review: Valpo ran into Mason Mills and the high-octane San Diego offense as the Toreros defeated the Crusaders 58-14 at Brown Field. Valpo kept it a 7-0 game through the first quarter, but San Diego exploded for 51 of its points over the final three quarters. Alex Green reached the century mark in tackles thanks to his nine tackles. Eric Hoffman threw for 202 yards, 86 of which came on the touchdown pass to Tony Taibi. The 86-yard touchdown throw was Valpo’s longest since October 27th, 2007 when Warren Arnold and Steve Ogden accomplished the same feat versus Morehead State.
Checking the Leaderboard: Sophomore Alex Green is sixth in all of FCS football with an average of 11.1 tackles per game. Eric Hoffman ranks 11th in passing yards with 2,409. The Valparaiso offense as a whole checks in at 81st in total offense at 347.4 yards per contest. The passing unit is 19th in FCS football with an average of 271.8 yards/game. Butler’s +9 turnover margin is 10th in the FCS.
Record Watch: Quarterback Eric Hoffman owns the school record for most career passing completions with 631. Hoffman is currently 384 passing yards behind Scott Lange for 2nd all-time in Valpo history. He needs 329 yards of total offense Saturday to surpass Nick Browder for second all-time in that category as well.
This is Your Captain Speaking: Valpo has three captains for the 2013 season. Redshirt sophomore running back Jake Hutson will represent the offense, while senior defensive back Alex Grask and sophomore linebacker Alex Green will represent the Crusader defense.
Throw It Around: Four different receivers have registered at least 20 receptions so far in 2013. With Gladney sidelined, Cassara and Kuramata have been serving as Hoffman’s top two targets. Tony Taibi caught a 73-yard touchdown pass at Drake in Week 9 and followed it up with an 86-yard TD catch at home in Week 10.
Guilford Tough: Sophomore John Guilford is putting the finishing touches on a solid sophomore campaign. The defensive end has recorded a tackle for a loss in each of the last six tilts, as well as a sack in five of the last six games.