Homecoming Victory!

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Homecoming Victory!

Story by David Heiling, Sports Editor

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The Blugold football team got their first victory of the season Saturday afternoon when they beat the UW-Stout Blue Devils 21-13 on Homecoming gameday at Carson Park.

Head coach Todd Glaser thought this game was a great way to get on track at the start of Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play after an 0-3 start to the season.

“Not only is it our first season win, it was a conference game,” Glaser said. “Being against  Stout, one of our rivals, it’s always a really special win when you can win against them.”

Behind two touchdown passes by senior quarterback Austin Neu, Eau Claire led the game 21-13 about halfway through the fourth quarter, and didn’t look back. An interception by senior cornerback Tyler Janus effectively ended the game after a nine play drive from the Blue Devils.

The interception was a key to the game and Janus said  he felt great he could help out
his team.

“My first interception of the year, and it came at a pretty important time in the game,” Janus said. “Saw that ball up in the air got underneath it and luckily I got there
in time.”

Turnovers, which have been a problem in previous games, especially in the contest against UW-Platteville where the Blugolds committed four. It was an emphasis for the team in practice the week leading up
to the game.

The Blugolds improved, committing only one turnover to Stout’s three.

Senior defensive lineman Jimmy Hall said the turnover battle was a big momentum swing in the Homecoming game.

“Practice really paid off well in the game for us,” Hall said. “Guys were getting their hands and helmets on the ball on the defensive side and started knocking that ball out and that’s just huge.”

The Homecoming crowd at Carson Park was another big help in the Blugolds victory Saturday, something that the players and coaches both recognized as custom for
Homecoming games.

“The band is always pretty awesome. Especially Homecoming, it gets the fans pumped up, it gets us pumped up,” Hall said. That experience, you really can’t top it, it really is the definition of a 12th man out on the field.”

The rivalry between these two schools has been accentuated with “The War on Interstate 94” trophy, something that Eau Claire has now earned the last two seasons.

It is a goal that the team has every year to keep the trophy in Eau Claire, and to get it during Homecoming and their first overall and conference win was just icing on the cake.

“It’s definitely nice seeing that trophy in the coach’s office when you go in there everyday,” Janus said. “It’s good to have it in Eau Claire for another year and I hope the team keep it where it belongs.”

The next matchup for Eau Claire will be against the undefeated UW-Oshkosh Titans at Titan Stadium Saturday in the Blugolds’ second
conference outing.

The no. 19 team in the country is led by Titans senior quarterback Nate Wara, a preseason All-American, someone the Blugolds will need to have as a focal point this week at practice if the team wants to come
out on top.

“He’s (Wara) a really good player, he can beat you with his legs, he can beat you with his arm, and he’s big and tall,” Glaser said. “We have to slow him down and limit our
mental mistakes.”

Glaser also stresses the need for a good week at practice to keep the momentum after Homecoming alive.

“Having a good week of practice with high energy is important to us,” Glaser said. “Getting focused … it is an away game, and we’re going to have to come off that bus ready to play, and that all starts with a good week of practice and being prepared
for Oshkosh.”

 

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