September 19, 2013
Ryan Kusilek is a sophomore and is the starting quarterback on the UW-River Falls football team. They faced two tough non-conference opponents, St. Thomas, ranked No. 2 in the nation, and St. John’s.
When asked about these opponents, Kusilek said, “Last year we played St. Thomas, so we kind of knew about that. St. John’s was interesting because we didn’t play them last year or anytime recently, so it was cool that we got to play a really good team with a lot of history and a lot of tradition.”
UWRF fell to St. Thomas 25-7, and to St. John’s 17-14. Both contests were tight up until the last seconds. All 21 of the Falcon’s points in the two contests were scored on passing touchdowns by Kusilek.
Kusilek feels as if playing these skilled non-conference opponents early on has prepared the team to compete in the WIAC this season. “It’s huge to get big non-conference games,” he said. “We play top 25 teams all the time, so it sends the message that we are competitive and can win in the WIAC.”
It will be a tight race for the WIAC conference championship this year. “Everyone is competitive in the WIAC,” said Kusilek. “There are always rankings, but you can’t just go off that. Everybody can play with everybody, and everybody is competitive. We have to play hard every week.”
Kusilek said having one year of experience under his belt has given him time to mature both physically and mentally. “It gives me the opportunity to open up and play fearlessly this season,” said Kusilek.