Football wins overtime thriller

The UW-Eau Claire football team didn’t settle for a “baseball score” Saturday.

The Blugolds traded barbs all day with Michigan’s Hope College and forced overtime for a 52-45 Eau Claire victory.

“I thought our offense did a really good job of getting first downs and getting it into the end zone,” coach Todd Glaser said. “As an offense, they did a really good job.”

Eau Claire was first on the board, scoring on a three-yard touchdown run by senior running back Cory Sartorelli about five minutes into the first quarter.

But Hope kicked a 22-yard field goal minutes later, sparking a game-long scoring frenzy that saw both teams score a combined 12 more times before the end of the fourth quarter.

The Blugolds held as much as a 13-point lead two times in the game, but Hope came back in the fourth quarter to take a 38-37 lead. The Blugolds scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter and punched in a two-point conversion to take back the lead, but Hope scored again with less than a minute left in regulation to tie the game at 45-45.

The Blugolds scored a game-winning touchdown in overtime on a 33-yard pass from senior quarterback Kyle Paulson to sophomore wide receiver David Goodman.

Both teams were statistical equals in several major offensive categories. The Blugolds tallied 25 first downs; Hope tallied 26. The Blugolds racked up 221 passing yards; Hope 222.

“Our whole offense was hitting on all cylinders,” Sartorelli said.

Eau Claire easily won the rushing game, tallying 229 yards to Hope’s 167. But Hope took the time-of-possession category, holding the ball nearly 11 minutes longer than the Blugolds.

Sartorelli scored six rushing touchdowns and ran for 180 yards, and Paulson passed for 221 yards on 17-of-23 passing. Paulson also recorded a touchdown.

Senior wide receiver Spencer Kehoe led the team in receiving, pulling in nine catches for 108 yards. But sophomore receiver David Goodman was the receiving corps’ leading scorer, punching in a touchdown despite catching only two balls for 48 yards.

Glaser said he credited the offensive line for the team’s strong rushing and passing performances.

“Our offensive line did a good job of protecting and opening up holes for (Sartorelli and Paulson),” Glaser said.

The Blugolds’ defense recorded five tackles for lost yardage – but no sacks – Saturday. Senior linebackers Bryant Dorsey and Ryan Leis and junior safety Mark Bader led the defense with nine tackles apiece.

“The defense hung in there and got some big plays when we needed to,” Sartorelli said.

Eau Claire will have a bye week this Saturday and will play at UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater the following two weeks before returning home on Oct. 17 to host UW-Platteville in the homecoming game.