Football: Valpo falls to Mercer despite big day from QB Eric Hoffman
Staff and wire report October 12, 2013 4:12PM
Updated: November 14, 2013 6:53AM
Mercer assembled three scoring drives of more than 90 yards to defeat Valparaiso 35-21 in Macon, Ga., on Saturday afternoon.
Tanner Kuramata enjoyed an outstanding day for the Bears (5-1, 2-1 PFL) as the junior caught two touchdown passes and racked up 170 receiving yards. It was the third time in the last four games Kuramata recorded at least 120 yards.
For the fourth time in six games this season, the Crusaders scored a touchdown on its opening drive. VU (1-5, 1-2) constructed a seven-play, 65-yard drive capped off by a Denzell Conway 7-yard TD run to give the Crusaders their first lead of the day.
The defense forced a quick three-and-out on its first stand. Valparaiso continued to dictate the pace of play in the first five minutes until a personal foul took the wind out of the offensive sails. VU was unable to move the chains on that drive following the penalty.
Freshman punter Alex Kozlowski had a dazzling afternoon as he pinned the Bears inside their own 10-yard line three times. His first punt shoved the Bears back to their own 4.
It was then that Mercer QB John Russ and running back Payton Usher went to work on a debilitating drive. A Bears offense that has been rush-reliant in the first half of 2013 went back to the well as the home team rattled off a 14-play, 96-yard drive. Russ crossed the goal line from six yards out to complete the series.
Valparaiso QB Eric Hoffman finished the day 30-of-39 for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
The Crusaders will return to Brown Field next Saturday to face Morehead State (2-4, 2-1 PFL) at 1 p.m.
St. Joseph’s 34, Quincy 26: The Pumas jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back in a win over Quincy on Saturday night. Braxton Shelton led St. Joe’s (5-1, 2-0 GLVC) with 200 yards rushing on 19 carries and two touchdowns. QB Bill VandeMerkt also had two TD passes, both to Alphonso Hines. The Pumas are 5-1 for the first time since 1979.