Eau Claire football didn’t come close against St. Thomas in season opener

All phases of the game doomed Blugolds

More stories from Austin Mai

Eau Claire football didn’t come close against St. Thomas in season opener

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Mark Twain famously said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

He wasn’t talking about the UW-Eau Claire football team, but the message resonated after its season opener last weekend against the University of St. Thomas (Minn.).

Over the past four seasons, Eau Claire has opened its season against St. Thomas. After the Blugolds lost 27-24 against the Tommies in 2012, they were blown out 52-7 the next year. And after they lost 22-17 last season, they were victims of a 62-7 thrashing Saturday night.

After the game featured weaknesses in the offensive line and blown coverages on defense, Head coach Todd Glaser said the team can’t focus on injuries and players that take their place must be ready to step up when they’re needed.

“They’re a good team, they’re coached well,” Glaser said about St. Thomas. “When you make a mistake, either blocking or coverage, they are going to capitalize.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Glaser said he thought redshirt-freshman quarterback JT Denhartog did “a good job”.

“It just started snowballing on us,” Denhartog said. “There’s a lot that goes into an offense, not just the quarterback.

Denhartog was taken down five times behind the line of scrimmage, including three sacks and two tackles for a loss. He said he was frustrated with the game, his performance and inability to score while he had the reigns.

“We’ve got to put points on the board no matter what,” Denhartog said. “They blitzed a lot, they brought a lot of pressure. They brought two extra guys to pick up and we got outnumbered there.”

Denhartog led the offense into the red zone after a 34-yard reception by Matt Knapp, and on second-and-goal on the 11-yard line he “threw it inside” on a fade route to the corner and was intercepted. The cornerback caught the ball and returned it more than 100 yards with a personal valet of defenders to the opposite end zone to go up 52-0.

Senior defensive end Jayden Dobbs made his first appearance at defensive end after playing outside linebacker for his entire career, and still continued to disrupt plays with his speed.

After forcing his way through the opposing team’s interior offensive line, Dobbs chased down the quarterback and forced him to throw the ball away repeatedly throughout the game.

Despite Dobbs’ push, the defense wasn’t able to hold St. Thomas from scoring on Eau Claire’s defense. No one benefited more from the Blugolds’ broken coverages than senior tight end Charlie Dowdle, who finished the game with four catches for 209 yards and three touchdowns.

“(Next week) we learn from our mistakes and flush it and move on to Moorhead,” Dobbs said.

Eau Claire is set to play Concordia College-Moorhead (Minn.) at 6 p.m. Saturday at Carson Park.