Valley City State welcomes Gustavus Adolphus College to Shelly Ellig Field Saturday for the first of three straight home games.
The Vikings (4-2 overall, 2-0 North Star) will also host Jamestown on Oct. 26 and Mayville State on Nov. 9 in North Star Athletic Association games.
Saturday’s contest is a non-conference game for both squads. Gustavus is an NCAA Division III school and a member of the MIAC, which also features Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) The Gusties (3-2 overall, 2-2 MIAC) are coming off a 20-12 loss to St. Thomas, who is ranked No. 12 in NCAA Division III football.
Valley City State is ranked No. 22 in NAIA football this week, dropping six spots following a 14-9 loss at Mayville State last week. With four games remaining, VCSU is still in position to make a run at a playoff spot, but will likely need to win out.
The Vikings and Gusties have played just two times before, with the Vikings winning both contests. Last year, VCSU went on the road and shut out Gustavus in a 16-0 victory.
Gustavus had shown a fairly balanced offensive attack this season and is averaging 31 points per game. Running back Jeffrey Dubose has been the main threat with 649 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns through five games. He is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 129.8 yards per game. Dubose also has 14 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown.
Quarterback Mitch Hendricks has been effective as well for the Gusties, completing 63 percent of his passes for 957 yards and four touchdowns. Phillip Butler (32 receptions) and Matt Boyce (28 receptions) have been his main targets.
Valley City’s offense continues to center on senior running back Derek Elliott, who is in the midst of a record-breaking season. Elliott has 1016 rushing yards and 14 total touchdowns through six games. He is averaging 169 rushing yards per game and is Top 2 in the country in several categories involving all purpose yards, rushing yards and touchdowns.
The Viking defense has five players with 50 tackles or more this season. Austyn Flores currently leads the team with 59 total tackles. Fontayne Fuga leads in solo tackles (30) and Dwanye Fearon leads in tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (5.5). Fearon has 57 total tackles, Fuga has 55, Zach McBeain has 54, and Jake Thureston has 50 total tackles.
Viking head coach Dennis McCulloch is currently 96-72 during his coaching career at VCSU.