UW-La Crosse Drops Season Finale to UW-Eau Claire
La Crosse, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse football team fell 24-21 to UW-Eau Claire in the season-finale for both teams Saturday afternoon at Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex. The Eagles finish the season at 3-7 overall and 3-4 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) while the Blugolds finish 2-8 overall and 2-5 in the conference. UW-Eau Claire earned its ninth win in the last 11 meetings with UW-L.
UW-Eau Claire received the opening kickoff and drove to the UW-L 44-yard line. Facing fourth-and-seven, punter Scott Burzynski tried to run for a first down on a fake punt attempt, but was stopped by the Eagles' Lucas Schmitz at the 42-yard line.
UW-L then went 58 yards in four plays and 1:20 to take a 7-0 lead as Ben Hertrampf scored on an eight-run yard.
Zach Wall intercepted UW-Eau Claire's Joel Newman on the Blugolds' next drive, setting up UW-L on the UW-Eau Claire 42-yard line. The Eagles drove to the Blugolds' 23-yard line, but Matt Van Druten's 40-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
UW-Eau Claire tied the game early in the second quarter as Joel Sweeney scored on a two-yard run with 13:45 left in the first half. The Blugolds went 77 yards in 14 plays and 6:30. Sweeney had 57 yards rushing on nine attempts on the drive.
UW-L took a 14-7 lead on its next possession with Andy Sires throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Mark Dorlack with 10:55 left in the second quarter. The Eagles went 57 yards in seven plays and 2:47. Sires was four-of-four on the drive for 42 yards.
The Blugolds came right back on their next drive to tie the game at 14-14. Sweeney scored his second touchdown of the game, this time on a one-yard run with 10:11 remaining in the first half. The Blugolds went 66 yards in three plays and :48. Sweeney had 51 yards rushing on the drive.
UW-L drove to the UW-Eau Claire 15-yard line with 6:12 left in the second quarter, but Jude Williams fumbled with Colton Ellis returning it 20-yards to the Blugolds' 35-yard line.
The teams traded punts before UW-Eau Claire took over at its own 28-yard line with 3:12 left. The Blugolds went 57 yards in 12 plays and 2:43 as Billy Emanuel gave UW-Eau Claire a 17-14 lead on a 35-yard field goal with :33 left in the half. The score remained 17-14 at halftime.
UW-L took the second half kickoff and led 21-17 with 10:46 left in the third quarter as Williams scored on a seven-yard run.
Early in the fourth quarter, UW-Eau Claire faced a fourth-and-goal at the UW-L four-yard line. The Eagles called a timeout as the Blugolds were preparing for a field goal attempt. After the timeout, UW-Eau Claire sent its offense back out on the field and Newman threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Nate Piel with 13:34 left in the game. The Blugolds went 30 yards in 10 plays and 4:07. The drive was set-up after a 19-yard Eagles' punt.
The game featured punts on the next six drives. UW-L took over at its own 38-yard line with :25 remaining, but Sires threw four incompletions.
UW-L finished with 316 yards of offense, including 174 rushing and 142 passing. Williams finished with 96 yards rushing on 19 attempts (5.1 average) while Hertrampf had 48 yards on nine carries (5.3). Each had one rushing touchdown. Sires was 13-of-25 passing for 142 yards with one touchdown. Dorlack caught five passes for 34 yards and a touchdown while Alex Lepp finished with three receptions for 46 yards.
The Eagles were two-of-nine on third-down.
UW-Eau Claire totaled 320 yards, including 230 rushing and 90 passing. Sweeney had 172 yards rushing on 29 carries (5.9 average) and two touchdowns while Mitch Olson finished with 56 yards on 18 attempts. Newman was 16-of-29 for 90 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Alex Plaster caught five passes for 20 yards while Jy Corbett had three receptions for 30 yards.
The Blugolds were 10-of-19 on third-down and won the time of possession, 34:30 to 25:30.
Jordan Pendergast led UW-L with 17 tackles Saturday, including seven unassisted. Jake Perner had 15 tackles, including five unassisted.
Erik Hulman led UW-Eau Claire with 12 tackles, including eight unassisted. He also had two pass break-ups and one fumble recovery. Burzynski finished with 11 tackles, including five unassisted.