Instead of sending the game into overtime with an extra point, UW-La Crosse converted a two-point conversion with 23 seconds left to steal a 29-28 win from the Blue Devils, Staurday, at Don and Nona Williams Stadium.
La Crosse drove 86 yards in under two minutes on their game-clinching drive.
The contest opened up to look like a shootout, as Stout scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and La Crosse reached the end zone on two of their first three.
La Crosse started the scoring on the first drive of the game. An 11-play, 81 yard drive ended with a Travis Bordeau 23 yard run to put the Eagles up, 7-0. The drive was aided by a third down horse collar penalty and a fourth down roughing the punter penalty, both resulting in automatic first downs for the Eagles.
Stout answered with a quick strike drive, lasting only three and a half minutes, fueled by Craig Warminski runs. Warminski had six rushes, including runs of 22 and 19 yards, and a two yard touchdown run.
After forcing La Crosse into a quick three and out, Stout took the ball back at the Eagles' 45 yard line. Stout converted an early third-and-six on a Ross Carey pass to Pat Mengelkoch (and a Carey quarterback sneak on a fourth down on the next set of downs. Warminski got his second touchdown of the day from one yard out to put Stout on top, 14-7.
La Crosse answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive of their own. Quarterback Nick Anker, who finished the game 31-of-51 for 272 yards with three touchdowns, completed seven straight passes on the game-tying touchdown drive, including a 9-yard score to Kyle Steffen.
The offense slowed down significantly for the rest of the half, and the scoring drought continued deep into the third quarter. Nine out of the next 11 drives ended with punts, while the other two ended in either an interception or a turnover on downs.
La Crosse finally broke the tie late in the third quarter. After picking up a crucial fourth-and-three, Anker's pass to Tony Bilderback on the next play went for 27 yards and a touchdown, putting the Eagles up by seven. The Eagles then continued their momentum when they forced Stout into a three-and-out, returning the punt 54 yards to the Blue Devils' 20 yard line.
Stout put together a tough defensive stand, holding the Eagles to no points, despite starting their drive in the red zone. The Blue Devils could not do anything with their possession, however, going three-and-out again, this time giving the Eagles the ball at midfield.
After the Eagles drove 25 yards in over four minutes, Stout again held La Crosse to no points deep in their territory. Another turnover on downs gave Stout the ball on their own 28 yard line with six minutes remaining.
On the first play of the drive, Carey took off up the middle for a 72 yard touchdown run, tying the game at 21, and swaying the momentum back towards the home team. Stout followed up the touchdown drive by forcing La Crosse into a three and out that lasted only a minute, and took over at their own 44 yard line with five minutes to play.
Carey extended the drive with a third down conversion to Mengelkoch. On the following play, Warminski finished off the drive with a 29-yard run for his third touchdown of the afternoon and a seven-point Stout lead.
La Crosse's game-winning drive began at their own 14 yard line. Anker completed a 14-yard pass to Bordeau on an early fourth-and-three. With 43 second remaining, La Crosse faced another fourth down, which Anker converted on a quarterback keeper. The following play went for 35 yards to Steffen down the sideline, and the touchdown came on a fade route to Steffen in the corner of the end zone. The two point conversion to Brock McMullen put a seal on the 29-28 Eagles victory.
Warminski finished the day with 120 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Carey went 13-for-25 for 142 and threw his second interception of the season.
Stout travels to UW-Platteville next Saturday, Nov. 6, and then return home to finish off the regular season against UW-Oshkosh.