LA CROSSE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire football team got back on track with a 31-21 victory over UW-La Crosse at Veterans Memorial Field today.
While the Blugolds (4-2, 2-1 WIAC) scored on both of their possessions in the first quarter, the Eagles (2-4, 1-2 WIAC) tied it up by halftime. But Eau Claire was able to add 17 second-half points while La Crosse only added seven, helping secure the win.
The Blugolds had the ball in the first quarter more than 10 minutes and Austin Neu (Jr.-Iron Ridge, Wis./Hustisford) connected with Mike O'Connell (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Regis) twice for two Blugold touchdowns.
In the second quarter, La Crosse's Ben Hertrampf scored two touchdowns to help tie the game 14-14 at halftime.
Eau Claire came right out in the third quarter and marched down the field 65 yards to the end zone. Matt Olson (Sr.-Stratford, Wis.) capped off the drive with a seven yard run to give the Blugolds a 21-14 lead. Later in the quarter, Josh Albrecht (Fr.-Eau Claire, Wis./North) nailed a 28-yard field goal to give the Blugolds a 10-point lead.
After another Hertrampf touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Blugolds went down the field 80 yards over more than eight minutes and Neu scored another touchdown on a one yard run to give the Blugolds a 31-21 lead.
The Blugolds dominated the time of possession, 39:50 to La Crosse's 20:10. La Crosse outgained the Blugolds on offense 333-320.
Neu finished the game with 152 passing yards, going 18-for-28 while O'Connell led the Blugold receivers with eight catches for 72 yards. Joel Sweeney (So.-Tomah, Wis.) finished with 61 yards on the ground while Olson had 55 and Neu added 52.
On defense, Chad Samuelson (Sr.-St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) and Sean Graham (So.-Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) finished with 10 tackles to lead the Blugolds while Nate Johnson (Jr.-Madison, Wis./La Follette), Jimmy Hall (Jr.-Howards Grove, Wis.) and Pat Hendricks (Jr.-Clintonville, Wis.) all recorded sacks. Tyler Janus (Jr.-Sussex, Wis./Hamilton) made a big play late in the third quarter as he intercepted a pass in the end zone to end a seven-play, 48-yard drive by the Eagles.
Next weekend, the Blugolds will host UW-Stevens Point in conference game. Action is set to get underway at 1 p.m. at Carson Park.