Running to victory


Story by Bridget Cooke, Staff Writer

The rain did not stop the UW-Eau Claire football team from winning Saturday during their Hall of Fame Game at Carson Park against the
UW-La Crosse Eagles.

Senior quarterback Austin Neu, who threw for 57 yards against the
Eagles’ defense, gave credit to the offensive line and running back Joel Sweeney for the team’s victory.

“We had great focus and our line got great push,” Neu said. “It was a
really, really good effort by the line and Joel did a great job.”

Head coach Todd Glaser said a hard week’s practice was the reason for the Blugolds’ success against La Crosse, specifically their amount of intensity on both offense and defense within the game.

“I thought … that the upperclassmen did a great job of leading our team last week in practice,” Glaser said. “I thought both sides of the ball played really physical.”

Covering 37 yards over two
minutes during the fourth quarter, Eau Claire used their rushing abilities to stay ahead of the Eagles, running for 293 total yards.

Thanks to a touchdown in the second quarter by junior running back Joel Sweeney, the Blugolds reached a 17-0 lead with a little less than six minutes to go in the first half. Rushing for the second highest number of yards in his career, Sweeney accumulated 185 yards and had three touchdowns throughout the game, scoring in every quarter
except the third.

Glaser said his team had many aspirations going into the game against La Crosse after struggling against UW-Oshkosh, running being a focus point.

“We wanted to run the ball and the offensive line did a great job opening up holes for Joel and he ran hard all day,” Glaser said.

La Crosse got on the board with a 21-yard field goal two minutes before halftime, making the score 17-3 going into the second half.

However, the Blugolds came back five seconds into the fourth quarter. Eau Claire’s defensive lineman Cody Gergen forced a fumble, which was recovered by inside linebacker Sean Graham, giving possession back to
the Blugolds.

Sweeney scored another rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, making it 24-9 Blugolds, which would eventually be the final score.

Glaser said that his team did well; finishing in an effective way that led them to victory, something they work toward all week.

“We came out strong and wanted to play four quarters all the way through,” he said. “I think that’s probably the biggest goal we had and we were able to accomplish that.”

The Blugolds will next face UW-Stevens Point on the road Oct. 20.