The Gustavus Adolphus College football team dropped its season opener 10-3 to Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota. The Golden Gustie defense limited the Vikings to 256 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers, however the offense could manage only 222 yards and three points against the Valley City defense. Gustavus junior safety Kevin Hegland led the defense with 10 tackles and an interception, while sophomore running back Mitch Anderson led the offense with 17 carries for 91 yards.
Gustavus recovered a Valley City fumble near midfield on the Vikings first possession and put together an 11-play, 52 yard drive that ended with a 21-yard field goal giving the Gusties an early 3-0 lead. Gustavus got another break when Valley City fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which the Gusties recovered at the Viking 19-yard line. Three plays later, Gustavus quarterback Jordan Stolp coughed up the ball on a third-and-one play. Valley City recovered the fumble.
Neither team could muster much offense through the end of the first quarter and the early part of the second quarter. Valley City evened the score at 3-3 on a 41-yard field goal by Shane Ross with 5:01 left in the second quarter. Gustavus tallied only 23 yards on 15 plays in the second quarter. The score was tied 3-3 at halftime.
On its first possession of the second half, Gustavus had a punt blocked giving Valley City the ball on the Gustavus 24-yard line. The Gustie defense stiffened and forced a 22-yard field goal attempt, which was missed wide right. Two series later, the Gusties started a drive on its own 13-yard line. On the third play from scrimmage, running back Mitch Anderson fumbled on the 11-yard line and Valley City recovered the fumble. Five plays later, Valley City quarterback Chad Lueck fired a six-yard touchdown pass to Justin Folk giving the Vikings a 10-3 lead.
The Gustavus offense came to life on the following possession driving 54 yards on 11 plays before having to punt the ball back to the Vikings. The Gusties put together another decent drive early in the fourth quarter moving 40 yards on nine plays, however Jordan Stolp was sacked on third down forcing the Gusties to punt.
Gustavus would get one last chance to tie the score taking possession on its own 16-yard line with 3:26 left to play. Stolp completed four-of-six passes to move the Gusties to the Valley City 36-yard line with 1:32 left to play. Stolp would then scramble for 14 yards to the 24-yard line giving the Gusties a first down with one-minute left to play. Three incomplete passes later, Stolp’s pass on fourth-and-ten with :38 left was intercepted on the Valley City goal line allowing the Vikings to escape with the 10-3 victory.
The Gusties, who are now 0-1 on the season, will face Wheaton College (Ill.) at Lloyd Hollingsworth Field next Saturday, Sept. 10 at 1:00 pm.