Football team falls to UW-Platteville

Story by Spenser Bickett

In what has become the story of the season, the UW-Eau Claire football team established an early lead last Saturday over UW-Platteville but couldn’t hold on, losing by a final score of 31-21.

The Blugolds scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to jump out to a 14-0 lead.  Senior wide receiver Jesse Linsmeyer and junior wide receiver Mike O’Connell both caught touchdown passes from junior quarterback Austin Neu.

Linsmeyer said he ran a deep comeback route and the cornerback covering him played off of him, giving him enough room to catch the ball and make a play.

“The corner closed on me to my left and I went right and got around him,” Linsmeyer said.  “I was able to make it into the end zone before the safety over the top could get to me.”

O’Connell said on his touchdown he ran an out route, while Neu rolled out of the pocket.

“I just found a hole to sit in and Neu made a good throw,” O’Connell said.

Neu threw another touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Alex Plaster in the second quarter to give the Blugolds a 21-14 halftime lead.  The Pioneers would then go on to score 17 points to give them the 31-21 victory.

Eau Claire had a hard time running the ball, rushing 22 times for only 54 yards.  Neu said the team couldn’t get a good push on the offensive line, and that’s why they weren’t successful running the ball.

“Their defensive line was doing a lot of stunts and it was tough for us to get any movement at the line of scrimmage,” Neu said.

Neu had a decent day passing the ball, completing 25 of 36 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns, but also throwing two interceptions.  Neu said his good year statistically doesn’t make up for the team’s record.

“Honestly, I’d rather have the team be doing well than myself,” said Neu.  “It’s disappointing.”

Linsmeyer said it has been frustrating to start games strong and not be able to hold on for the win.  “It seems like every game we seem to get up 7-0, 14-0 and then our offense kind of dies after that,” said Linsmeyer.

With this being Linsmeyer’s final season, he said he’s been looking back on his years playing for the Blugolds and remembering all the experiences he’s had.  “The season hasn’t turned out the way we wanted it to be, but we want to try to finish as best we can,” said Linsmeyer.

Eau Claire is now 4-4 on the year with a 2-3 record in conference play.  Platteville improves to 5-3 overall and a 3-2 record in the WIAC.  The final home game of the year for the Blugolds is next week, when they take on undefeated and top-ranked UW-Whitewater at Carson Park.

Linsmeyer and Neu both said the team is preparing for UW-Whitewater like they would any other team, by not treating them differently just because of their record.  “We’re going to prepare for them like any other team,” said Neu.  “We’re not trying to put them on a pedestal.”