EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - Despite leading UW-Oshkosh 13-0 at one point early in the game, the UW-Eau Claire football team gave up 16 unanswered points in the second half to fall to the Titans 23-16 at Carson Park today.
The Blugolds jumped out to a 13-point lead only eight minutes into the game with Joel Sweeney (So.-Tomah, Wis.) scoring two rushing touchdowns.
While the Titans scored a touchdown of their own in the second quarter with a Justin Budiac run, Eau Claire's Josh Albrecht (Fr.-Eau Claire, Wis./North) hit a 31-yard field goal midway through the quarter to push the Blugolds' lead back to nine (16-7).
But that would be all the points Eau Claire would get on the board.
After the Blugolds dominated the first half with 228 yards of total offense to Oshkosh's 81 yards of offense, the teams revered roles in the second half as the Titans compiled 228 yards of offense to the Blugolds' 101.
On the Blugolds' first play of the third quarter, Sweeney was tackled for a loss into the Blugolds' end zone, giving the Titans a safety.
With the score 16-9, neither team found the end zone the rest of the quarter.
Oshkosh scored twice in the fourth quarter with Nate Wara and Budiac both finding the end zone on the ground to help give the Titans a 23-16 lead.
With just two minutes left in the game, the Blugolds started their final drive and quickly traveled down the field to try and get back in the game. Going 65 yards, the Blugolds' drive ended on the Titans' five yard line as time expired. The Blugolds' tried three passes into the end zone but all three fell incomplete.
Austin Neu (Jr.-Iron Ridge, Wis./Hustisford), who leads the WIAC in passing, finished the game going 19-for-35 for 212 yards but he was sacked four times. The Blugolds shut down Oshkosh quarterback Wara, also one of the top passers in the league, as he finished with just 68 yards on 6-for-12 passing. He was sacked six times.
The Titans finished with 241 rushing yards while the Blugolds had 117. Sweeney led the Blugolds with 79 yards on 22 attempts.
On defense, Sean Graham (So.-Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) led the Blugolds with 13 tackles, including a sack, while Jimmy Hall (Jr.-Howards Grove, Wis.) led the team with two sacks. Kalan Stittleburg (Sr.-Neillsville, Wis.) had an interception on the Titans' first play of the game.
Eau Claire drops to 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in the conference. Oshkosh improves to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the WIAC.
Next Saturday the Blugolds travel to La Crosse to face UW-La Crosse. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. and the game will be televised live on WQOW TV 18 in Eau Claire and WXOW TV 19 in La Crosse.