Blugold football swept in non-conference games this season

UWEC starts season 0-3 for fourth straight year

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A 3-0 lead glimmered on Carson Park’s scoreboard after the first quarter against No. 7 Wheaton College (Ill.) Saturday. The success was short lived as the UW-Eau Claire football team was defeated 56-17.

The Blugolds went 0-3 in their non-conference schedule this season including a 62-7 loss against University of St. Thomas (Minn.) for their home opener.

Against Wheaton, the Eau Claire defense allowed 603 yards of total offense including two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver.

Senior captain and quarterback Joel Newman said despite the final score, the team has improved since the beginning of the season.

“(The score after three quarters) shows we can compete with a team like that,” Newman said. “That’s a big momentum builder for us. The game got away from us but knowing we can be competitive with them let’s us know we can compete with our conference.”

The Blugolds offense knocked the red zone-rust off themselves Saturday as they scored two touchdowns and kicked a field goal. Quarterback JT Denhartog scored both touchdowns and earned both by rushing.

For the first score, Denhartog found a crease in the left side of the offensive line and snuck into the end zone. For the second touchdown, things did not go according to plan.

On first-and-1, the offensive linemen pushed to the left for a stretch run play and freshman running back Toure Wallace ran to the left before making contact with a defender. Wallace was able to escape the tackle and began to run backwards and lose yards.

Once a defender got to Wallace, he tossed the ball to an unexpecting Denhartog who ran from the 14-yard line to the left and into the end zone. Denhartog was only credited with the 1-yard score on the play.

The defense has allowed 1,588 yards through three games this season, including an average 267.7 rushing yards per game and 53 points per game.

With a bye week this week, Newman said the team approaches the bye like there is still a game on Saturday.

“The coaches and players look at how we’ve improved through the season,” Newman said. “The goal is to hopefully improve from there and be ready for the next game with an extra game worth of experience.”

The Blugolds begin their conference schedule with an away game. They are set to play at 2 p.m. Saturday Oct. 10 at UW-Stevens Point.