The Dakota State Trojans (0-3) are back at home to take on Valley City State (1-1) tonight for Homecoming/Senior Day at the Dan Beacom Track Complex.
DSU will celebrate its 12 seniors ahead of tonight’s action with a ceremony 20-30 prior to game time. Seniors include: Mason Lloyd, Robert Cage, Zach Brooks, Cole Sylliaasen, Marcis Hausman, Gavin Holland, Jeremiah “JJ” Beck, Beau Bertram, Brandon McDaniels, Michael Hybertson, Devonte Murphy and student assistant coach Cade Sortino.
Dakota State will also honor the 50th Anniversary of the1973 Dakota State College Football South Dakota Intercollegiate Championship team. It was the first South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference (SDIC) title for football in program history.
For their on-field matchup, it’ll be their second game in North Star Athletic Association play. The Trojans face a team they have beaten two of the last three meetings in the Vikings. The series between the two teams began back in 1986 with VCSU winning the first four contests. The Vikings own the all-time series lead with a 28-5 advantage.
VCSU comes with a lackluster run defense that has been the primary source of offensive yardage for opposing teams with them allowing 232 rushing yards per game. Ttheir own rushing attack only totals just 122.5 rushing yards per game.
The Vikings have serious threats on both sides of the ball. Beginning with the engine of the offense, junior Avery Thorsgard. A dual threat quarterback can always pose problems, but it may work to the advantage of DSU due to the fact that Thorsgard has primarily done his work on the ground this season with 23 carries on 172 yards for 6.6 yards per carry. Though Thorsgard may look to try and open up his air attack knowing that’s where DSU has had its troubles.
On defense, they have a dynamic pass rusher in senior Riley Gerhardt. A first team all-conference and second team all-American defensive lineman this past year. He’s already wreaking havoc in the two games for VCSU with three sacks and a forced fumble, along with leading the team in tackles. He, along with senior linebacker Jahidi West, will command this defense in the game.
The Trojans come in with a host of dynamic threats themselves, but also a player still getting his feet wet with the reins of this team in sophomore QB Joey Cole. Junior Austin Lake leads the team in receiving with 207 yards and receptions with 19. Defensively, Beck and Murphy lead in tackles with 18 each. Beck also leads in tackles-for-loss with four and Murphy has one of the two sacks for DSU.
One thing that has consistently worked well for the offense of DSU is converting on fourth down. The Trojans are 6-for-8 (75%) on fourth down, which ranks 14th in the NAIA and 10th in NSAA.
The Trojans have won their last two Homecoming contests and look to make it three straight today. Kickoff is set for 4pm with pregame beginning at 3:30pm on Jammin Country 103.