The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse football team dropped a 28-21 overtime contest to UW-River Falls Saturday afternoon at Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex. The Eagles fall to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the WIAC while the Falcons improve to 1-8 overall and 1-5 in the league. UW-River Falls snaps an 18-game losing streak to UW-L with the victory.
After UW-River Falls took the opening kickoff and drove the UW-L 36-yard line, the Eagles held on third-down to force a punt. The Falcons' Will Jensen punted the ball down to the Eagles' 12-yard line. UW-L then went 88 yards on eight plays in 2:48 to take a 7-0 lead as Andy Sires threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Tony Bilderback with 7:49 remaining in the first quarter.
Jensen was forced to punt on the Falcons' next possession and the Eagles used nine plays to go 75 yards in 3:22 to take a 14-0 lead as Sires and Bilderback connected on their second touchdown of the quarter, this time on a 10-yard pass. UW-L led 14-0 with 2:35 left in the quarter.
UW-River Falls responded on its next drive to cut the lead to 14-7 with B.J. Letourneau throwing a 23-yard touchdown pass to Brady Hannigan with 12:20 remaining in the second period. The Falcons went 68 yards on 11 plays in 5:14.
The game remained 14-7 at halftime.
UW-L retook a 14-point lead with 8:16 left in the third quarter as Ben Hertrampf scored on a 59-yard run one play after a UW-River Falls' punt. The Falcons came right back on their next possession, going 64 yards on 10 plays in 3:55. Letourneau threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Joel Yogerst with 4:16 remaining in the third.
The Eagles punted four times while the Falcons turned the ball over on downs once and had two punts in the next seven drives of the game. UW-L's Christian Hallingstad punted the ball to the UW-River Falls' four-yard line with 4:56 remaining in the game, but the Falcons drove 96 yards to tie the contest. Letourneau threw his third touchdown pass of the game, this one from nine-yards out to Jon Manke with :54 left. UW-River Falls used 11 plays in 4:06 to go 96 yards.
UW-L drove to its own 42-yard line with :40 left, but Sires was sacked for a loss of eight yards and threw an incompletion to force a punt. Hallingstad punted down to the Falcons' 11-yard line and UW-River Falls ran out the clock to end regulation.
In overtime. UW-L won the toss and elected to go on defense. UW-River Falls used four plays to take a 28-21 lead as Taylor Edwards scored on a two-yard run. UW-L, playing its second straight overtime game, faced a third-and-10 on the UW-River Falls' 25-yard line on its overtime drive when Sires was intercepted by the Falcons' Mike Cano to end the game. UW-L earned a 30-24 overtime win at UW-Oshkosh last Saturday.
It marks the first time in school history UW-L has played consecutive overtime contests. It is the second time in three years UW-L and UW-River Falls have played. The Eagles earned a 49-47 double overtime win in 2009 in River Falls.
UW-L totaled 338 yards of offense Saturday, including 231 rushing and 107 passing. Hertrampf finished with 199 yards rushing on 22 carries (9.0 average) and one touchdown while Kevin Lindh had 43 yards on 13 carries. Sires was 11-of-20 passing for 107 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Bilderback totaled six catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
UW-River Falls finished with 404 yards, including 147 rushing and 257 passing. Edwards had 134 yards rushing on 31 attempts while Letourneau was 24-of-45 passing for 257 yards and three touchdowns. Yogerst had six receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons finished with 21 first downs and won the time of possession, 33:16 to 26:44. UW-River Falls was also seven-of-19 on third-down and two-of-four on fourth-down. The Eagles had 19 first downs, but were three-of-14 on third-down. The teams combined for 18 punts (UW-L 10; UW-River Falls eight).
Michael Balduzzi and Matthew Buswell each had 10 tackles for UW-L. Balduzzi had seven unassisted tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Jack Leahy finished with eight tackles while Mitch Hawkins had six.
Nate Smits led UW-River Falls with nine tackles, including eight unassisted. Cano had eight tackles (seven unassisted) and two interceptions. The Falcons had five sacks in the game.
UW-L wraps up its season Saturday, November 12 at top-ranked UW-Whitewater at 1 p.m.