Struggling to score in win

Story by Bridget Cooke, Staff Writer

Problems with the drive plagued the UW-Eau Claire football team in their match against UW-Stevens Point on Saturday, but persistence paid off in the second half, resulting in a 17-14 win for the Blugolds making their conference record 3-1 this season.

Junior running back Joel Sweeney said the Blugolds had trouble achieving points on the possession, but that he was proud of their performance after adapting to the opposition.

“Running hard in the fourth quarter, getting first downs when we needed them,” Sweeney said. “It was a tight game all the way til the end, so I was happy with that.”

Sweeney scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown with 3:20 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 7-7. He ran for 131 yards during the game overall.

Eau Claire scored their most points within the fourth quarter, traveling 45 yards over five minutes ending in a 42-yard field goal attempt that was true for senior Josh Albrecht whose career high was a 43 yarder.

Fighting to put points on the board, the Blugolds drove for a 19-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, but were pulled back on a penalty during the play. They also made it just inches from the Pointers’ end zone, but were prevented from scoring before halftime by the Pointer defense.

Senior quarterback Austin Neu said that the good plays were there, but the team needed to more fully utilize them in the beginning of the game.

“We moved the ball well in the first half, we just couldn’t finish up drives like we did in the second half, so that was the big thing,” Neu said.

Overcoming the obstacles they had faced in the first half, the Blugolds used their ample amount of possession time to their advantage, scoring 17 points in the second half.

Capitalizing off of a fumble forced by Blugold senior defensive lineman Curtis Stypula, Eau Claire slowly progressed from their own 45 by utilizing Sweeney as a runner. After a false start penalty that resulted in a 8-yard loss, Neu threw a 29-yard touchdown to senior tight end Austin Goetsch. This reception raised the score for the Blugolds, making it what would eventually be the final score; 17-14 with an Eau Claire victory.

Neu said that the team will be taking one game at a time throughout the season and will focus on how to win against their next competitor, but for now they are very happy with the outcome of their game against the Pointers.

“Conference wins are huge,” Neu said. “We play in a tough conference and it was a big win for us. To win is the biggest accomplishment for us as a team.”

Blugolds football will next face UW – Platteville in a home game at Carson Park on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3 p.m.