Shakopee, Minn. / Shakopee
Saint John's started its 2013 season, and the Gary Fasching era with a dramatic comeback victory, scoring 10 points in the final 55 seconds to stun UW-River Falls Friday night. The game-tying and game-winning points were delivered in the final minute by the foot of Alexi Johnson (Shakopee, Minn.), as the freshman kicker proved to be poised beyond his years. His clutch PAT and field goal in the final minute of Friday's win resulted in Johnson's selection as the first MIAC Football Special Teams Player-of-the-Week of the 2013 season.
Johnson's final stat line read 2-for-2 on extra points and 1-for-1 on field goals, but the stats don't tell the story of his huge performance with the game on the line. Following a five-yard delay of game penalty, Johnson was called to kick a longer-than-normal PAT to tie the game with 55 seconds to play, which split the uprights. SJU got the ball back and one big play, and ran the freshman kicker out to try a game-winning 40-yard field goal with just two seconds left, which also sailed between the posts to give the Johnnies an unforgettable season-opening victory. The field goal was the longest distance recorded by an SJU freshman since Brandon Keller's 41 yarder in 2001.
Johnson and the Johnnies started the season 1-0, and joined the other six MIAC teams in action in the win column, as the conference was a combined 7-0 against nonconference foes Friday and Saturday. SJU will try to win its second-straight game to open the season Saturday, when they host UW-Eau Claire in its home opener in Collegeville, Minn., at 1 p.m. The Blugolds lost to a MIAC opponent, No. 2 St Thomas, in their opener, 52-7.