FCS team of the week: Valpo keeps moving forward

(STATS) – Saturdays in the fall at Valparaiso have long been about anticipating basketball season.

It’s all changed under fourth-year coach Dave Cecchini.

The Crusaders won a combined four games in the five seasons prior to his arrival in 2014, but after a 63-32 dismantling of Morehead State on Saturday, they’ve reached four wins in a season three times under Cecchini. At 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the Pioneer Football League, they are seeking their first winning season since going 8-4 in 2003.

Valpo ended a 10-game losing streak to Morehead State with its highest point total since 1996. It included 42 first-half points, the most since 1950.

The STATS FCS Team of the Week racked up 597 yards on offense as Jimmy Seewald passed for 316 yards and two touchdowns, and Jarrett Morgan rushed for 90 yards and two scores. Austin Petrie had a pair of interceptions as the defense forced six turnovers.

“We talked about three things going into the game,” Cecchini said. “The first was creating turnovers like we did against Marist. The second was making plays in special teams. The third was not letting this game be a close one in the fourth quarter because of the way our last three contests against Morehead ended. It was great to see the type of start we had. We didn’t want to take our foot off the gas.”

Valpo has to win two of its final three games to have a winning season, and the November schedule isn’t easy with PFL road trips to Jacksonville and rival Butler, and a home finale against Dayton.

Regardless, the basketball team has to share the spotlight.

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