La Crosse, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse football team fell 31-21 to UW-Eau Claire Saturday afternoon at Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex on Family, Friends & Alumni Weekend . The Eagles drop to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the WIAC while the Blugolds improve to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference. It is UW-Eau Claire's seventh win in the last nine meetings with UW-L.
UW-L's Justin Huinker missed a 30-yard field goal on the first drive of the game Saturday and UW-Eau Claire followed with a 13-play, 80-yard drive to take the lead. Austin Neu connected with Mike O'Connell on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 4:57 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 Blugolds' lead.
Christian Hallingstad's punt was blocked by UW-Eau Claire's David Goodman on UW-L's next drive. Three plays later, Neu hit O'Connell with a nine-yard touchdown pass and 14-0 lead with 1:13 left in the opening quarter.
The Eagles cut the lead to 14-7 on the first play of the second quarter as Ben Hertrampf scored on a 57-yard run. UW-L went 70 yards on five plays. UW-L tied the contest at 14-14 with 4:07 remaining in the half as Hertrampf scored on a two-yard run. The Eagles used 11 plays and went 65 yards on the game-tying drive.
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime.
UW-Eau Claire regained the lead on the first possession of the second half as the Blugolds' Matt Olson scored on a seven-yard run with 9:18 left in the period. The drive went 65 yards on 12 plays.
After Huinker was short on a 49-yard field goal attempt for UW-L with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter, UW-Eau Claire took a 24-14 lead as Josh Albrecht hit a 28-yard field goal with :53 left in the quarter. The Blugolds used 13 plays and took 6:23 off the clock as they went 57 yards.
Hertrampf scored his third rushing touchdown of the game with 11:29 left in the game on a 12-yard run to cut the lead to 24-21. The Eagles went 57 yards on eight plays in 4:24. UW-Eau Claire took the ensuing kickoff and went 80 yards on 15 plays as Neu scored on a one-yard run with 3:01 left to make it 31-21. The drive took 8:24.
UW-L finished with 333 yards of offense, including 201 rushing and 132 passing. Hertrampf had a career-high 206 yards rushing on 22 carries (9.4 average) and three touchdowns. Mike Butterfield was 11-of-23 passing for 132 yards and an interception for the Eagles. Nate Ward had three receptions for 29 yards while Jake Welch had three catches for 27 yards. Hertrampf finished with two catches for 37 yards and Alex Maxinoski had two catches for 22 yards. Maxinoski now has 101 career receptions.
UW-Eau Claire totaled 320 yards, including 168 rushing and 152 passing. Joel Sweeney had 61 yards on 19 carries while Olson finished with 55 yards on 19 attempts. Neu totaled 52 yards on 11 attempts. Neu was also 18-of-28 passing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He completed his first 10 passes of the game. O'Connell had eight catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
The Blugolds won the time of possession, 39:50 to 20:10, including 22:40 to 7:20 in the second half. UW-Eau Claire was seven-of-15 on third-down while UW-L finished four-of-10.
John Rozek led UW-L with 16 tackles, including one sack. Matthew Buswell had 12 tackles and Jack Leahy 10. Ryan Immel also had one sack for the Eagles.
Chad Samuelson and Sean Graham each had 10 tackles for UW-Eau Claire. Samuelson also had a forced fumble while Tyler Janus had an interception for the Blugolds.
UW-L returns to action Saturday, October 22 at UW-Stout beginning at 6 p.m.