UWRF football falls to UW-Stevens Point in final game of the season
November 18, 2015
It was a disappointing end to a strong season for the Falcons, falling to the UW-Stevens Point Pointers by a score of 44-0 this past Saturday.
The Falcons couldn’t get much going on either side of the ball in their season finale, managing 171 yards on offense with only 23 yards on the ground. The defense didn’t fare much better, allowing 537 yards of total offense for Stevens Point.
The Pointers didn’t have much trouble from the start, scoring on their first five possessions of the game. They were especially dynamic in the first quarter, when Stevens Point’s defense stepped up to force punts or turnovers on every River Falls possession. The offense used their great field position to string together a nine play drive midway through the first quarter to put the Pointers up 10-0.
UWRF was forced to punt on the next drive, and UW-Stevens Point converted on a huge play to blow the game wide open. Pointer’s quarterback Kyle Larson completed a 76 yard bomb to wide receiver Matt Sosinsky to put the Pointers up 17-0 in the first. Another 75 yard touchdown pass from Larson, this time to running back Christian Almonte, put UW-Stevens Point up 24-0 at the end of the first quarter and made the game start to look out of reach.
UW-Stevens Point continued their dominance into the second quarter, forcing the Falcons to punt on all three of their second quarter possessions. A field goal as time expired in the half coupled with another Kyle Larson touchdown pass put the Pointers up to 34-0 as the teams headed to their locker rooms for halftime.
The second half provided the return of 4 year starter quarterback Ryan Kusilek into the lineup. After injuring his ankle against UW-Oshkosh two weeks earlier, he made his final appearance in a Falcons uniform. He would go on to finish 9-17 passing on the day for 52 yards.
When asked on how he felt about suiting up for his last game, Kusilek said, “It was hard to fully take in. I really tried to enjoy every minute of the whole day, from the team breakfast until the last snap. I knew I wasn't going to be able to play much and even if I did get in, I knew it was going to be tough to do what I wanted to do as a player. That made things even tougher from an emotional stand point. I just wish I was able to play healthy.”
Kusilek was also hampered by the fact that he couldn’t get away from the strong UW-Stevens Point defensive line. They were all over him in the second half, sacking him on five occasions.
However, Kusilek wasn’t the only one dealing with injuries for the Falcons. The injuries piled up in the closing weeks and the Falcons were without six starters at full health for their season finale.
Overall it was a disappointing end to a strong season for the program. The loss brought them to 4-6 on the season and 3-4 in conference play. That put them at tied for fourth in the WIAC and gave the Falcons their most wins in a season since 2001. The players also enjoyed the season, with Ryan Kusilek reflecting on his final season quarterbacking the Falcons.
“This season was a fun one. We were playing good ball early in the year and I wish we could have continued with that sort of level of play through the end. I think a lot of good experience was gained for a lot of younger guys which will be great for this program moving forward. I will definitely remember this team and all the guys involved. We truly did have a great work ethic and some of the best team chemistry I have ever been on. This helped make it all special. I will definitely miss playing football for UWRF, but all good things come to an end.”
Kusilek and the six other seniors left a strong impression on the program and will definitely be missed in the upcoming season. But Head Coach Matt Walker had some final words to describe the end of the season.
“We are very excited about our upcoming season. We had great seniors this year that set the tone for this program, but we also return 95 players and a ton of talented young guys. We all wanted to end the season better than we did, but we took some important steps. To finish ahead of Eau Claire, Stout, and La Crosse for the second straight year is important for us to win the ‘western’ side of the league and set up a nice recruiting situation. We have fought our way into the top half of the best league in the country and now we are determined to keep clawing our way to the top.”