Reusse: For starters, some Johnnies magic for the new football era

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 7, 2013 - 7:30 AM

An improbable late rally made coach Gary Fasching a winner in his St. John’s debut.

view larger photos

  

– Gary Fasching was a guest on a Twin Cities radio show this week. The congenial host said to St. John’s head coach in football:

“The Johnnies have to get back to stealing victory rather than defeat.”

OK, then.

On Friday night, St. John’s opened its first football season without John Gagliardi on the sideline since 1952. The opponent was Wisconsin-River Falls, a team that has not won more than two games in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season since 2004.

The Johnnies were coming off a sixth-place finish in the MIAC that led to the departure of Gagliardi. The legend of Collegeville won 465 of his record 489 games at St. John’s.

If the benchmark for sainthood in the Holy Roman Church is three confirmed miracles, Gagliardi had those times about 30 in his amazing run as a coach.

Things had turned in the opposite direction over the previous two seasons. The Johnnies slipped to the second division in the MIAC in 2011, and they were 3-5 and lost to the five teams above them in 2012.

“John and I were talking in the office a couple of weeks ago, about the games that got away the last couple of years,” Fasching said. “I said, ‘Yeah, but how many did we win before that when it looked like we weren’t going to.’ ”

We do now know how many games Fasching has won as St. John’s coach when it didn’t look as if the Johnnies were going to:

One.

St. John’s offense was almost slapstick with the mistakes it was making for most of this night. And then the Johnnies scored 10 points in the final 55 seconds for a 17-14 victory.

For this to happen, St. John’s required the following after it trailed 14-7 in the final 5 minutes:

• A bad snap for River Falls that went for a 12-yard loss and stopped a clock-killing drive that the Falcons had started at their 2 and moved to their 34.

• Quarterback Nick Martin’s 20-yard completion to Blake Belland on fourth-and-11. If there’s no hookup there, the Falcons have the ball at SJU’s 25 and victory is theirs.

• A 29-yard pass from Martin to Josh Bungum on a post route to put at River Falls 9. A touchdown followed with 55 seconds left to make it 14-13, and then …

“We were going for two,” Fasching said.

Why? “Because Jerry Haugen, our defensive coach here forever, said, ‘This is St. John’s … we go for the win,’ ” Fasching said.

Except, there was a false start, so freshman Alexi Johnson came in and kicked the tying point.

  • related content

  • Gary Fasching led his St. John’s team onto the field on Friday night at Wisconsin-River Falls. Fasching debuted with a 17-14 victory.

  • Gary Fasching, encouraging his players during Friday’s opener, left River Falls with a 17-14 victory in his St. John’s debut.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close