SIOUX CITY | His numbers aren’t flashy, but Taylor Genuser has performed well enough to pilot the Sioux City Bandits to seven wins in their first eight games.
The first-year quarterback bounced back from his worst performance in a Bandits uniform to help his team avenge its only loss of the season with a 53-37 Champions Indoor Football victory over the West Michigan Ironmen Saturday night.
Genuser passed for one touchdown and ran for another as the Bandits moved to 7-1 and maintained their comfortable lead in the North Division.
“Obviously statistically I’d like to be doing better but the main thing is getting these wins,” said Genuser, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound athlete from New Mexico Highlands University. “I have to play better. I don’t feel like I played well tonight but it was good enough to win. Moving forward, I have to play better.”
The Bandits bounced back from a 76-35 drubbing at the hands of this same West Michigan outfit last Saturday in Muskegon, Michigan, their first loss of the 2017 campaign.
Dominique Carson rushed for 54 yards and three touchdowns, capping the win with a 39-yard scamper on the final play of the game. Four different players had rushing touchdowns for Sioux City.
“We needed that one and it was a great overall team effort,” Bandits Coach Erv Strohbeen said. “This is a good club that they have over there. They beat us physically last week and I think the guys just took it upon themselves not to let that happen this week.”
It was a tight contest throughout, tied 17-17 after one quarter and the Bandits clinging to a 27-20 halftime lead. Sioux City took the lead for good, 33-37, on a 2-yard run by Carson in which he reversed directions and scored with 5:48 left in the third quarter, 33-27.
West Michigan kicked a field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter and the teams traded touchdowns from there. West Michigan outgained the Bandits 283-204.
“We love playing in front of the home crowd and this was a great crowd tonight,” said Strohbeen of the 4,787 that showed up at the Tyson Events Center. “I think that made a lot of difference tonight and that refocused the guys getting beat by the biggest margin in seven years.”
Genuser scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter to give the Bandits a 17-10 advantage. Then, after West Michigan’s Jose Diaz kicked a 22-yard field goal to deadlock the score at 20-20, Genuser hooked up with Jeremiah Oates for a 28-yard touchdown pass. He completed 7 of 16 for 77 yards without an interception after throwing four in last week’s setback.
“He managed the game well again tonight and he’s got guys around him to help him out,” Strohbeen said. “That was tough on Taylor last week. It was kind of like a snowball effect last week and I think he bounced back really nicely.
“I told the guys at halftime when the defense makes stops you have to pay them back and we started to do that in the second half.”
West Michigan quarterback Alex Carder passed for 208 yards but only one touchdown. Korey Ringer had 15 carries for 68 yards and two scores.
Jeffrey Mack and Frederick Bruno added rushing touchdowns for the Bandits, who had 127 yards on the ground.
“We got humbled a little last week so we were focused and recharged,” Genuser said. “I’m in a dream situation with weapons everywhere and an unbelievable defense. And something that goes a little unnoticed, our kicker is unbelievable as well.”
Greg Conroy booted field goals of 23 and 24 yards and made five of six PAT kicks.
The Bandits play at Bismarck Saturday night. Three of their last four games of the season are on the road.