EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Down 17-7 to UW-Stevens Point headed into the fourth quarter, the UW-Eau Claire football team came back and tied the game up at 17 to push it into overtime. But after turning the ball over, the Pointers scored and handed the Blugolds a 23-17 overtime loss on Homecoming at Carson Park today.
The Blugolds struck first with Clint Larsen (So.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) scoring a 26-yard rushing touchdown to end a nine-play, 74-yard drive at the start of the second quarter. Stevens Point tied the game up by halftime and recorded a field goal and a touchdown in the third quarter to get up 17-7.
In the fourth quarter, Billy Emanuel (Sr.-Owatonna, Minn.) hit a 27-yard field goal, the first field goal in his career with the Blugolds, to cut the Pointers' lead to seven (17-10) at 10:11.
On the Blugolds' next drive, they went 76 yards in 16 plays over 6:19 and Larsen capped the drive with a 16-yard run to the end zone, tying the score at 17 with 1:11 left in regulation. A key play during the drive came 10 plays in on a 4th-and-5. Mark Munger (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) had a perfect pass between two defenders, hitting Alex Plaster (Sr.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) for an 11-yard completion to keep the drive alive.
In overtime, the Blugolds started with the ball but after just three plays, Stevens Point picked off a pass and then used just four plays to travel 25 yards to score the game-winner.
Eau Claire held the Pointers to 318 yards of offense, a season-low. The Blugolds finished with 325 yards of offense. Munger led the Blugolds in passing with 154 yards (15-for-29) while Joel Sweeney (Sr.-Tomah, Wis.) led the game with 90 rushing yards on 26 carries. Larsen also finished with 77 yards. Nick Hirsch (Sr.-Wind Lake, Wis./Muskego) led the Blugolds with four catches and 70 yards.
On defense, Sean Graham (Sr.-Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) led the Blugolds for the fifth time this season with 10 tackles (six solos, four assists). Graham is second in the conference in tackles this season with 45.
Eau Claire drops to 0-5 on the season and 0-2 in the WIAC. Stevens Point improves to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
The last time the Blugolds played in an overtime game was against UW-Stevens Point on Homecoming in 2010 (Oct. 2). The Blugolds are 53-27-8 all-time on Homecoming and 10-8 all-time in overtime games. Today's game was just the fourth overtime game on Homecoming in history.
Next up, the Blugolds will be at 10th-ranked UW-Whitewater on Friday at 7 p.m. While Friday night games used to be fairly common prior to 1946, the Blugolds have not competed in on since 1965. They have only faced Whitewater once on a Friday, Nov. 7, 1924, a 6-3 loss in Eau Claire.