ST. PETER — Running backs are measured by 1,000-yard season, and Gustavus Adolphus senior Jeffrey DuBose has come close.
But even though DuBose will likely end his Gustavus career in the top 10 for career rushing yards, that 1,000-yard season has eluded him.
“This year, my goal is more than 1,000 yards,” DuBose said. “I have a lot of confidence in the (offensive) line.”
DuBose, one of the Gusties’ captains, begins his senior season Sept. 14 at home against Simpson College, and even though he’s played in 27 of 30 games in his first three seasons, he’s hoping to avoid the nagging injuries that have kept him from posting more prolific numbers.
“Staying healthy has been the focus of my training,” DuBose said. “I want to get back to playing freely with no problems.”
DuBose’s best season came as a freshman, when he rushed for 721 yards and four touchdowns with a career-best 174 carries. His sophomore totals were 574 yards and seven touchdowns, and despite missing three games for an injured knee, he rushed for 665 yards and seven touchdowns, earning all-MIAC honors and a preseason All-America award.
“That just shows that the work I’ve put him over the last four years has paid off,” said DuBose, who is also completing his degree in physics. “My coaches and teammates believe in me, and there wouldn’t be any yards without them. The team has put me in that position, and it kind of boosts morale for everyone when you get awards.”
That gives him 1,960 yards in his career, which ranks 11th at Gustavus. He needs 120 more yards to crack the top 10 and 800 to reach to the top five, and 1,000 yards would push him to fourth.
“The thing that stands out about him is the consistent intensity,” coach Peter Haugen said. “He plays hard, whether he has the ball in his hands or not. He has high expectations for himself and for the team.”
Haugen said that DuBose, who also has 46 receptions in his career, will again be the focus of the offense. With a new quarterback, the run game can relieve some pressure, and there are some playmakers returning at the receiver spots.
“We have to get him the ball,” Haugen said. “We have some nice pieces to complement him.”
While 1,000 yards is one of DuBose’s goals, he’d also like to win more games. The team is 9-21 over his three seasons, and a winning season would be a nice finish to a productive career.
“That’s what it’s all about,” DuBose said. “We all want to win a MIAC championship. But I’d also like to be part of building the foundation and helping the program take off. It would mean a lot to me to change the program and get the fans back into it.”