Blue Devils use big plays to power past Blugolds
UW-Stout used five plays of at least 34 yards, three of which
went for 50 yards or more, Saturday, to push themselves past UW-Eau
Claire, 37-28, in an offensive battle at Don and Nona Williams
Running back Craig Warminski led the way with 152 rushing yards and a score, while Antawan Walker recorded two catches, both for touchdowns, for 106 yards.
Walker got Stout off to a hot start as he scored touchdowns on the team's first two possessions. On the Blue Devils' third play from scrimmage, Walker reeled in a Ross Carey pass and took it 68 yards to put the first points of the game on the board.
On their next drive, after Josh Peterson picked up a 3rd-and 5, Carey launched another bomb to Walker on a flea-flicker, hitting his target for a 38-yard touchdown.
Eau Claire got on the board early in the second quarter. Quarterback Austin Neu completed two passes for 11 yards, a 26-yard strike, and a 9-yard pass. Neu was 4-for-5 on the drive. Joel Sweeney capped off the drive with a 30-yard touchdown run.
Warminski got things going midway through the second quarter. On the first play of the drive, he took a handoff 50 yards, down to the 1 yard line. On the following play, Warminski punched it in for the Blue Devil touchdown.
Eau Claire put together a drive on the ensuing possession, but stalled at the Stout 31 yard line and faced a 3rd-and-4. Adam Churchill blind sided Neu for a key sack, forcing a punt.
Stout took over with 1:33 left in the half. Carlos Concepcion started the drive with a 34-yard reception, giving Stout the chance to get a field goal before half. Richard Marteney , who was 3-for-3 on the day, kicked a 29 yard field goal before half to give Stout a 24-7 lead at the break.
In the second half, Concepcion picked up where he left off just before the break. He returned the kickoff 90 yards for a score, 11 yards short of the school record.
Eau Claire was determined to make it a ballgame, as they answered with touchdowns on their next three possessions. The scoring assault was led by Neu and receiver David Goodman, who finished the game with nine catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns, both in the second half.
Goodman scored his first touchdown on a 37-yard pass from Neu following the Concepcion TD return. After forcing Stout into a three-and-out, Eau Claire's Austin Goetsch scored on a 52-yard catch and run, pulling his team within 10 points.
Marteney got another field goal on Stout's next drive, this time from 34 yards.
Eau Claire answered with their longest drive of the game, a 12-play, 78-yard possession that ate up just over five minutes on the clock. The Blugolds converted on an early third down conversion, and then kept their drive going when Stout committed a personal foul penalty, that, had it not been committed, would have forced a 4th down and 10. Later, on a 3rd and 13, Neu ran for 11 yards, setting up a 4th and 2. Goodman caught his second touchdown of the game on the following play, pulling the Blugolds within six points with 12 minutes to play.
Stout needed a long, clock-draining possession to answer, and that is exactly what they produced. Stout slowly worked their way down the field, eating up clock on the way. The Blue Devils stalled once they got inside the 10-yard line, but the game was all but put away after Marteney converted his final field goal of the day from 30 yards, giving Stout a two-score lead with under four minutes to play. The 13-play, game-sealing drive used up over eight minutes.
Stout's Carey finished the game 12-of-19 for 207 yards and the two early scores to Walker. Neu passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns.
The win marks Stout's second straight victory in the Battle on I-94, the annual meeting between these teams.
Stout finishes out their three-game homestand next Saturday, Oct. 30, when they face UW-La Crosse at 1 p.m.