McKenzie, Tenn. (Blugolds.com) – Bethel University (Tenn.) handed the UW-Eau Claire football team a 26-21 loss after scoring a touchdown with 13 seconds left to play in the Blugolds' season opener at Wildcat Stadium tonight.
Eau Claire never fell behind until the final seconds of the game. The Blugolds scored touchdowns in the second, third and fourth quarters but a big fourth quarter by Bethel, in which the Wildcats scored 19 points, proved to be disastrous for the Blugolds.
Both teams got off to a slow start and it wasn't until the final two minutes of the second quarter when the first points went on the board. Austin Neu (Jr.-Iron Ridge, Wis./Hustisford)capped off a 13-play, 87-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Austin Goetsch (Jr.-Waunakee, Wis.).
Bethel came out in the second half and quickly tied the game up with a score just over a minute into the half. Patrick Cann took the opening kickoff 45 yards to the Blugolds' 39, and four plays later Wil Masoud threw a touchdown to Justin Brandy.
Two drives later, Eau Claire again took the lead as Neu hit Jesse Linsmeyer (Sr.-Cameron, Wis.) with a 35-yard touchdown pass. Bethel answered with a touchdown in the fourth quarter but Neu again found Goetsch for another score to give the Blugolds a 21-13 lead.
It was all Bethel the rest of the way as they scored once at 5:23 to make the score 21-19 and again with 13 seconds left to make the score 26-19.
The Blugolds finished with 359 yards of total offense and Linsmeyer led the way receiving with 89 yards on three catches while Matt Olson (Sr.-Stratford, Wis.) had a team-high 58 yards rushing.
Next weekend the Blugolds will have their hands full when they travel to Collegeville, Minn. to take on 25th-ranked St. John's University. Action will get underway at 1 p.m. Saturday.