September 6, 2013

Saint John's scores twice in final minute to win opener

More news about: St. John-s

RIVER FALLS, Wis. – Saint John's University freshman Alexi Johnson (Shakopee, Minn.) made a 40-yard field goal with two seconds remaining to give the Johnnies a 17-14 win to open the 2013 season, and Gary Fasching's collegiate coaching career, at Wisconsin-River Falls on Friday, Sept. 6.

SJU scored 10 points in the final 3:04. The Johnnies tied the game on a 2-yard run by senior Jake Essler (New London, Minn./New London-Spicer), his second of the game, with 55 seconds left. The scoring drive spanned 74 yards on 11 plays and ticked 2:09 off the clock. SophomoreNick Martin (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) connected with senior Blake Belland (Chaska, Minn.) for a 20-yard gain on fourth-and-11, and then with sophomore Josh Bungum (Paynesville, Minn.) for 29 yards, on the game-tying drive.

UWRF gained only one yard on three plays, burning 32 seconds off the clock, on the ensuing drive. Martin hit senior Ben Krebsbach (Plymouth, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret's) for a 39-yard gain on first down to set up Johnson's game-winning kick.

The Falcons marched 57 yards on 12 plays during the opening drive, but the 39-yard attempt from the UWRF freshman kicker, Taylor Johnson, fell well short. The Johnnies took over and chewed up 78 yards on 11 plays, ending on Essler's first 2-yard score of the game with 5:34 left in the first quarter.

River Falls answered right back with a 73-yard scoring drive, on only nine plays. On first-and-goal from the 19, quarterback Ryan Kusilek scrambled right and found Charles Dixon all alone in the back of the end zone to tie the game. UWRF went three-and-out to start the drive, but SJU was called for offsides on the punt (on fourth-and-one), giving the home team a fresh set of downs from its own 41.

Both teams exchanged a pair of punts before SJU took over one its own 40-yard line with 5:27 left in the first half. On third-and-eight, junior J.T. Ford (Stevens Point, Wis.) got behind the Falcons' defense but the likely touchdown pass from Martin slipped through his hands.

SJU cruised on its opening drive of the second half before stalling at the UWRF 29. The snap on fourth-and-one went wide of Martin, however, and the Johnnies were forced to turn the ball over on downs.

The Falcons moved down to the Johnnies' 17-yard line but Johnson's field goal from 34 yards out went wide right.

The Johnnies threw a deep interception on first down and shanked a punt on the next possession. UWRF took advantage of the shift in momentum with a 66-yard scoring drive, ending on another Kusilek-to-Dixon touchdown from 19 yards out, on third-and-16. The extra point gave River Falls a 14-7 lead with 14:45 remaining.

Both teams exchanged a pair of punts once again until SJU took over on its own 26 with 3:04 to play. As mentioned above, Martin extended the drive with a 20-yard strike to Belland on fourth-and-11, and then re-connected with the senior for 17 yards on third-and-10. Martin hit Bungum on consecutive passes for 29 and seven yards before Essler's game-tying score. The Johnnies initially looked to go for the two-point conversion, but a delay-of-game penalty moved the ball back to the eight. Johnson connected with the abnormal extra point to tie the game.

UWRF gained three yards on first down, out of bounds, before junior Matt Workman (Minneapolis, Minn./Holy Angels) sacked Kusilek on second down and dropped him for a three-yard loss on third down, forcing the punt with under 30 seconds left.

Martin hit Krebsbach for the 39-yard gain, out to the UWRF 23, on first down. His second-down pass fell incomplete, leaving six seconds left on the clock for Johnson's game-winner.

Essler led the Johnnies' ground game with 65 yards on nine carries. Martin added 31 yards on 13 attempts and freshman Jakob Certeza(Temecula, Calif./Great Oak) added 29 yards on five carries. Martin finished the night 13 of 28 passing for 184 yards. Bungum snagged seven passes for 63 yards and Belland finished with 54 yards on three catches. Krebsbach recorded two catches for 52 yards.

Sophomore Nick Simon (New Ulm, Minn./Cathedral) led the SJU defense with nine tackles (six solo), while senior Darryl Williams(Hawthorne, Calif./Verbum Dei) added eight (six solo). Sophomore Blake Bellefeuille (Sartell, Minn./St. Cloud Cathedral) posted seven tackles, including two for a loss.

Kusilek posted 344 yards of total offense in the game, 106 on 18 carries and another 238 thru the air (22 of 35 passing). Dixon accounted for 130 yards on seven receptions.

UWRF out-gained the visiting Johnnies 413-323 in the game but was hampered by 10 penalties for 90 yards. SJU was six of 14 on third down but a perfect 2-for-2 in the red zone, while the Falcons were 2-for-4.

The Johnnies return home to host Wisconsin-Eau Claire for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville. The matchup will also be the Johnnies' Tackle Cancer game to benefit the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund. Monetary donations will be collected throughout the stadium.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Marietta at Denison
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos