Valparaiso (0-1) at St. Joseph's (0-0)
When: Noon, today.
Where: Alumni Stadium, Rensselaer
Radio/Internet: WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso), valpoathletics.com
Valparaiso will if if: It can finish the game. The Crusaders led St. Joseph's 34-30 with just under 30 seconds to go in last season's season opener at Brown Field before surrendering a late touchdown. Valparaiso will need to jump out early on the Pumas and then play strong defense late in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
St. Joseph's will win if: It can establish a deep passing game. The Crusaders were victimized by a red-shirt freshman quarterback making his first career start last week at North Dakota and Valparaiso will see another strong quarterback today. Senior Bully VandeMerkt has strong chemistry with All-American candidate Julian Walker and they'll test the Valparaiso secondary throughout the game.
Notes: St. Joseph's holds a 34-28-2 series lead over the Crusaders and the Pumas have won six consecutive games against Valparaiso. ... The Crusaders have played St. Joseph's 65 times. The only team Valparaiso has played more times in school history is Butler (71). ... Defensive Scout Player of the Week Idode Kerobo was the only new face on the Valparaiso two-deep roster as the true freshman will serve as a backup cornerback. ... Kerobo is one of five true freshmen on the two-deep, with three of the players coming on the offensive line. -- Paul Oren