Valley City, N.D. – The Gustavus Adolphus football team used a balanced offensive attack to push past Valley City State University at Lokken Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Gusties passed for three touchdowns and rushed for three more in the 42-21 win.
Senior running back Jeffrey Dubose (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.) scored all three touchdowns on the ground to break the Gustavus career total touchdowns record. The senior now has 38 career touchdowns (32 rushing, 6 receiving), surpassing Jay Schoenebeck ' 80 and Ron Straka '81, who had each scored 37 career touchdowns.
With the win, the Gusties improve to 4-2 overall, while the Vikings drop to 4-3 on the season.
After the Gustie defense stopped the Valley City State offense deep in its own territory, the Gustavus offense took over with good field position at the Viking 40-yard line. The Gusties proceeded to drive the remaining 40 yards in nine plays and 3:44 to score on their opening possession. They converted on two fourth downs on the drive before Jeffrey Dubose scampered into the end zone from 12 yards out to take a 6-0 lead. A Thomas Schleusener (Jr., Rapid City, S.D.) extra point was blocked and the Gustavus lead was stalled at six points.
"We did a nice job of getting the field position early today," mentioned Head Coach Peter Haugen. "They were forced to play on a long field their first possession then our defense played well and forced them into a punting situation. We got the ball in good field position and were able to convert a couple key third downs that led to a score."
Later in the first quarter after the Gusties held the Viking offense to a three-and-out, Valley City State punted out to the 50-yard line where Beau Bachman (Sr., St. Peter, Minn.) took the kick on a bounce and jutted across the field towards the Gustie sideline. Bachman cut up field and picked up some blocking on his way to a 36-yard return. Following the return, the Gustavus offense took over at the Valley City State 14-yard line.
Three plays later, the Gusties added to their lead when quarterback Mitch Hendricks (So., Laporte, Minn.) found receiver Matt Boyce (So., Excelsior, Minn.) in between two Viking defenders in the end zone. Gustavus converted on the two-point conversion when Hendricks scrambled and tossed one up to Cole Engen (Sr., Crosslake, Minn.) in the back corner of the end zone to push the lead to 14-0.
After Valley City State scored midway through the second quarter to cut the lead to 14-7, Hendricks hooked up with Engen again with just :04 seconds remaining in the opening half. Engen gained a step on his defender and went up high in the end zone to haul in his first career touchdown. Following a Schleusener PAT, Gustavus took a 21-7 lead into halftime.
"We're just so excited for Cole," admitted Haugen. "A week ago, it kind of happened a senior, Lucas Kleinschrodt came out and had the game of his career, and the same thing happened with Cole today. We have a couple guys that have been out with injuries and whatnot, so Cole got an opportunity to play and came out to make a couple big catches and also threw a key block on one of Jeffrey's touchdown runs."
The Gustavus offense was comparable to a well-oiled machine in the second half, part of which Head Coach Peter Haugen attributes to the play of his offensive line.
"Our offensive line played phenomenal today, particularly in the second half," complimented Haugen. "Those guys played well in the first half, but they really took over in the second half."
The Gusties scored on both of their third quarter drives and took a total of 11:31 off the clock in doing so. Their first scoring drive went 57 yards in 10 plays and 4:22 of game clock. The drive was highlighted by a 14-yard run on a fake punt by Levi Gibbs (So., LaPorte, Colo.). Three plays later, Hendricks connected with sophomore tight end Jake Douglas (So., Montevideo, Minn.) for a 22-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 28-7.
Just under three minutes later, Gustavus began an 11-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:09 and resulted in Dubose's second touchdown of the afternoon. Not only did the score extend the Gustie lead to 35-7, but it also launched Dubose into a tie for the most individual career total touchdowns in Gustavus football history. The touchdown gave Jeffrey 37 for his career to tie him with Jay Schoenebeck '80 and Ron Straka '81.
In the fourth quarter, the Vikings took advantage of a blocked punt deep in Gustavus territory. Two plays later, they were in the end zone on a Derek Elliott16-yard touchdown run up the middle. With the score 35-14, the Gusties came right back to respond with a touchdown on the ensuing possession. Dubose carried the ball all four times on the drive, including a 12-yard touchdown run that broke the record for career total touchdowns and extended the lead to 42-14.
"He didn't even know he broke the record, which is the cool thing about it," said Haugen of the record-breaking run. "That's a huge accomplishment for him personally, and it's also a great accomplishment for the offensive line and the receivers who have blocked for him. It was pretty cool to be apart of."
The Vikings went on to score on the next possession to bring the final score to 42-21.
For the game, the Gusties gained 366 yards of total offense (264 rushing, 102 passing), led by running back Jeffrey Dubose. The senior carried 34 times for 196 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Mitch Hendricks was mistake-free on the afternoon, completing 13-of-20 passes for 102 yards and three touchdowns compared to no interceptions. Hendricks spread out his completions with five receivers hauling in multiple catches.
The Gustavus defense kept its opponent under 300 yards for the fifth time in six games on Saturday. The Vikings were held to 290 yards of total offense (132 rushing, 143 passing).
Jake Forcier (Jr., Watkins, Minn.) led the way with nine tackles (5 solo) on the day. Travis Pepper (Jr., Overland Park, Kan.) and Donte Green (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn.) both recorded a sack, while Torey Asao (Sr., Chaska, Minn.) pulled down an interception
"Our defense has just been very consistent," proclaimed Haugen. "Just can't say enough about them. They have put together six weeks of really strong play. If you can play defense, you have a shot to win games, and they are without question one of the reasons we have been so competitive. We have also been able to put some points on the board offensively. I think the combination of scoring points and playing solid defense has been really good for us so far this year."
The Gustie football team will get back to MIAC action next Saturday, Oct. 26, when it travels to Arden Hills, Minn., to take on Bethel University at 1:00 p.m.