The Valparaiso University football team has announced its schedule for the 2018 season. The Crusaders will open the campaign with nonconference trips to Duquesne (Sept. 8) and Youngstown State (Sept. 15) before hosting Truman State (Sept. 22) in the Brown Field opener.
Valpo and Duquesne will face off for the second consecutive season after the Dukes edged the Crusaders 45-40 at Brown Field a year ago. Duquesne finished last season at 7-4 and 4-2 in the Northeast Conference. This will mark the fourth meeting between the two teams, who also faced off in 2011 and 2012. The Crusaders are seeking their first victory over the Dukes.
Youngstown State is on Valpo’s schedule for the first time since 2012. The Penguins, members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, won both prior meetings in 2011 and 2012. They are just two years removed from playing in the FCS National Championship Game in 2016. The program has a storied tradition and has won four national titles.
The Crusaders will face Truman State for the first time in program history when the two teams get together for the Sept. 22 home opener. Members of the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference, the Bulldogs went 5-6 and 4-3 in conference play a year ago after posting an 8-3 overall mark and sharing a conference title in 2016.
After finishing tied for third in the Pioneer Football League in 2017, the Crusaders begin their quest to continue to climb the league standings when Davidson comes to Brown Field on Sept. 29. The Wildcats are back on the schedule after a one-year hiatus. The game against Davidson is Homecoming at Brown Field and will kick off at 1 p.m. CT.
Valpo and Dayton will rematch on Oct. 6 after last year’s memorable season finale that featured a late Valpo two-point conversion for an 8-7 victory. That provided Valpo’s first win over the Flyers since 2003. Valpo and Dayton have been playing each other since 1988. A win this year in Dayton would allow the Crusaders to win consecutive matchups between the two teams for the first time ever.
The Hoosier Helmet will be back up for grabs on Oct. 13 as Valpo and Butler face off at Brown Field. The Crusaders beat the Bulldogs 36-28 in 2017 and have a chance to win the Hoosier Helmet back-to-back years for the first time since 2004 and 2005.
The Crusaders will make their way to Morehead State on Oct. 20 after beating the Eagles 63-32 this past fall, then will welcome Drake on Oct. 27 with hopes of avenging a 38-13 loss.
Valpo will go to Marist for the first time since 2013 on Nov. 3. The Red Foxes are 3-0 all-time against the Crusaders in games played in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The 2018 regular season concludes with two Florida teams as Valpo hosts Jacksonville on Nov. 10 before visiting Stetson on Nov. 17.
The 2017 campaign saw the program turn a corner as Valpo went 6-5 overall and 5-3 in Pioneer Football League play. That marked the team’s first winning season since 2003.