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.

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 4: All times Eastern
8:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Tex. A&M-Commerce
Sep. 5: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
7:00 PM
Albright at Kean
7:00 PM
Widener at Rowan
Live Stats Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
WPI at Curry
7:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Bridgewater State
7:00 PM
William Paterson at SUNY-Maritime
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Ursinus at TCNJ
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
Video
7:30 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats Video Audio
8:00 PM
Waldorf at UW-Whitewater
Live Stats
Sep. 6: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
12:00 PM
Dickinson at Hobart
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Holland College (PEI, Canada) at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Otterbein at St. John Fisher
12:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
12:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at MIT
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Johns Hopkins
12:00 PM
Cortland State at Buffalo State
1:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Coast Guard
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Wesley
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton State
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
Audio
1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Averett
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Wabash
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Rose-Hulman at Kalamazoo
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wilmington at Olivet
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
1:00 PM
Alfred State at Morrisville State
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Brockport State
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Montclair State
1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Methodist
1:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Bluffton
1:00 PM
Marietta at Kenyon
1:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Sewanee at DePauw
1:30 PM
Adrian at Defiance
1:30 PM
RPI at Norwich
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Alma at Heidelberg
1:30 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Bridgewater (Va.) at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
St. Vincent at John Carroll
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Bethany
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
Audio
2:00 PM
Franklin at Illinois Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Rhodes at Austin
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
UW-Platteville at Buena Vista
2:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Washington U.
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at St. John's
2:00 PM
Crown at Gustavus Adolphus
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Simpson at Iowa Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Hope at Monmouth
Audio
2:00 PM
Lawrence at Rockford
2:00 PM
Aurora at Illinois College
2:00 PM
Carroll at Lakeland
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
2:00 PM
Coe at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
Presentation at Luther
2:00 PM
Martin Luther at Maranatha Baptist
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Culver-Stockton
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at Dakota Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
Ripon at St. Scholastica
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Hendrix at Westminster (Mo.)
2:10 PM
UW-Eau Claire at St. Thomas
3:00 PM
St. Norbert at Carthage
4:00 PM
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Puget Sound
4:00 PM
Lewis and Clark at Whitworth
4:00 PM
College of Idaho at Pacific
4:30 PM
Arizona Christian at George Fox
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Salisbury at Christopher Newport
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Case Western Reserve
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Stevenson at N.C. Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Butler at Wittenberg
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Audio
7:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Taylor (Ind.) at Anderson
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Denison at Earlham
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
7:00 PM
Albion at UW-Stevens Point
7:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at North Park
7:00 PM
Beloit at Chicago
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Howard Payne at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Millsaps
7:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Texas Lutheran
7:00 PM
Robert Morris-Chicago at UW-Oshkosh
7:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Dubuque
Live Stats Video
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
7:30 PM
Central at Benedictine
Live Stats Video Audio
8:00 PM
St. Olaf at Northwestern (Minn.)
8:00 PM
Hamline at Minnesota-Morris
8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Wisconsin Lutheran
8:00 PM
Wartburg at Augsburg
Audio
8:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Dec. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at UW-Whitewater 52, Mount Union 14
@ Salem Stadium; Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Dec. 14: All times Eastern
Final
UW-Whitewater 16, at Mary Hardin-Baylor 15
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Mount Union 41, North Central (Ill.) 40
Box Score Recap Recap Photos

What We're Reading