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Crusaders Set for PFL Opener
Wednesday, September 13, 2006Game #3: Saturday, Sept. 16, 12 p.m. CDT
Valpo (1-1, 0-0 PFL) at Morehead State (0-2, 0-0 PFL)
Jayne Stadium (10,000 - AstroPlay), Morehead, Ky.
This Week in Crusader Football: Valparaiso opens Pioneer Football League competition on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Morehead State.
On the Air: For the second straight season, the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2006. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso), WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso), Relevant Radio 1270-AM (WWCA, Gary), and WE-FM (95.9-FM, Michigan City). Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play with Josh Weinhold adding the color commentary. The Valpo-Morehead State game is also available as a televised webcast at www.ovcsports.tv at a cost of $7.95.
Series Notes: Morehead State holds a 9-2 advantage all-time against the Crusaders in a series that began in 1996. Valpo is 1-4 playing the Eagles in Morehead, Ky. with the lone road win coming in 1999. The Eagles have won the last two meetings between the schools, including last year's 48-7 victory at Brown Field. In that game, Morehead State rushed 59 times for 363 yards and six touchdowns. Valpo's last win in the series came in 2003, 54-42, in the PFL Championship game.
Scouting Morehead State: Morehead State readies for its home opener after a pair of stiff challenges to begin the season. The Eagles opened with a loss at I-AA scholarship school Western Illinois before falling last Saturday at Newberry 23-7. Quarterback Brian Yost was a First Team All-PFL selection in the South Division last season, and is 27-of-51 for 249 yards through two games this year. Defensively, Brett Mazzaro leads the way with 24 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.
Last Week: Valpo had its 2006 home opener spoiled by Trinity International 39-20. The Crusaders scored first on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Doerffler to Steve Ogden and held a 13-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Trinity International came back with 36 unanswered points before another late touchdown to Ogden concluded the scoring. Ogden finished with six catches for 81 yards while Jeff Horton carried the ball 20 times for 92 yards and caught a touchdown pass. Doerffler finished the game 16-of-34 for 193 yards and three touchdown passes.
Ogden Becomes Big Time Receiver: Steve Ogden has emerged as a go-to receiver for the Crusaders thus far this season. The redshirt-sophomore has 11 catches for 283 yards and four touchdowns, and ranks third in all of Division I-AA averaging 151.5 yards per game. Last Saturday against Trinity International, he had six catches for 81 yards and two scores after opening the year with 202 yards on five receptions and a pair of TDs.
Horton Leads the Nation in All-Purpose Yards: Running back Jeff Horton leads Division I-AA in all-purpose yards averaging 241.5 per contest. He is currently second in the PFL averaging 130.5 yards per game on the ground and adds 29.5 yards per kick return. In addition, the senior has found the end zone five times on the season, including four via the ground.
Doerffler Efficiently Good: Ryan Doerffler has made the most of his passing opportunities and leads the PFL in passing efficiency. His 158.94 rating is 12th best in the nation. On the season, Doerffler is 22-of-44 for 398 yards and five touchdowns. In all of 2005, he threw just nine total touchdown passes in ten games.
Koepke Leads the Defense: Ryan Koepke has led the way defensively through two games for the Brown and Gold. The redshirt-sophomore linebacker has made 16 tackles, including three for loss, on the season. In addition, he has led the Crusaders in both games with seven and nine tackles respectively.
Good Work Gets Rewarded: Ryan Koepke has also been recognized for his efforts in the community, having been named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He has been active with many different service organizations, including a mission trip to Guatemala where he helped provide medical care and nutrition to the local residents. He also has worked a summer camp at Camp Watcha Wanna Do for children who are cancer patients or survivors as well as helped lead Valpo's football team into various elementary schools to read to the students.
Red Zone Success: Valpo has made the most of their trips to the red zone this season, scoring seven of the eight times they have been in position to add points. Six times they have found the end zone and the lone time the Crusaders failed to score was when the ball turned over on downs at the end of the Trinity International game.
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish seventh in the ?restructured" Pioneer Football League this season. The PFL moved to one division this season, with the league champion facing the Northeast Conference champion in the Gridiron Classic. San Diego was picked to win the league followed by Dayton.
Krieg Earns PFL Honors in Week One: Mike Krieg was named the Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week following the Wisconsin Lutheran game for a perfect performance in his collegiate debut. The redshirt freshman kicker was a perfect 7-of-7 on extra point attempts while adding a 25-yard field goal in the victory.
Horton Sets School Rushing Record: Senior running back Jeff Horton set a new school career rushing record at Wisconsin Lutheran. With his 37-yard scamper in the third quarter, Horton surpassed Joe Pahr's (1949-1951) 50-year old rushing mark of 2,326 yards. Horton now has 2,429 career rushing yards with nine games to go in the regular season.
Horton Ties Valpo Single Game Touchdown Mark: Jeff Horton found the end zone four times in the Crusaders' season opener at Wisconsin Lutheran, tying Valpo's school record for touchdowns in a game. The mark, originally set by Paul Naumann at DePauw on October 20, 1956, has now been tied six times during the history of Valpo football.
Horton Named Preseason I-AA Mid-Major All-America Selection: Valpo running back Jeff Horton has been named a Division I-AA Mid-Major Preseason All-American by both Don Hansen's Football Gazette and The Sport's Network. Horton set Valpo's single season rushing record in 2005 with 1,358 yards.