Concordia-Moorhead overtakes Blugolds in week two

Despite a late touchdown, UW-Eau Claire can’t come back from an early Concordia-Moorhead scoring run

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Concordia-Moorhead overtakes Blugolds in week two

Blugolds show signs of life in the fourth quarter, but come up short in week two against Concordia-Moorhead.

Blugolds show signs of life in the fourth quarter, but come up short in week two against Concordia-Moorhead.

Photo by Kelsey Smith

Blugolds show signs of life in the fourth quarter, but come up short in week two against Concordia-Moorhead.

Photo by Kelsey Smith

Photo by Kelsey Smith

Blugolds show signs of life in the fourth quarter, but come up short in week two against Concordia-Moorhead.

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UW-Eau Claire football team fell to the University of Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) in week two of the 2016 season Saturday at Jake Christiansen Stadium in Moorhead (Minn.) 25-7.

This week’s loss comes off the heels of the Blugolds week one 42-6 loss at Carson Park against St. Thomas (Minn.) on Sep.3.  I spoke with sophomore quarterback JT Denhartog Sunday afternoon, and asked him about what he believes held Eau Claire back from capturing their first win since 2014.

“We just have to stop killing ourselves,” Denhartog said. “We had a lot of penalties that brought back a couple of big plays, and took away five or six first downs. It really hurt us. I thought we were fine when we weren’t shooting ourselves in the foot.”

The Blugolds started off slow in week two, as Concordia went on a 19-0 scoring run through the first three quarters of play. That scoring drought came to an end late in the fourth quarter when quarterback JT Denhartog rained in a 59-yard touchdown throw to senior wide receiver Matthew Knapp (blugolds.com). I spoke with Matthew on Sunday as well, and asked him what happened on that play that allowed him to get into position to make the only touchdown catch for the Blugolds Saturday.

“That was kind of a broken play actually, “ Knapp said. “JT just started scrambling, so I just broke off of my route and tried to get open, and he was able to find me. Then there was pretty much green grass in front of me, so it worked out well there.”

Knapp was a bright spot in the Blugolds offense on Saturday, as he caught four passes for 114 yards and a touchdown in week two (blugolds.com). During my conversation with JT Denhartog on Sunday, I asked him if he believes Knapp is one of his main targets on offense.

“Definitely,” Denhartog said.  “He is one of, if not the best, players on our team. So, every time we can get him to touch the ball it is going to benefit us.”

Eau Claire improved offensively in week two, despite only scoring once in the fourth quarter. The Blugolds ended the game with 197 yards passing, compared to Concordia-Moorhead’s 85 (blugolds.com). But, what did Eau Claire in was their inability to stop the run. Concordia running backs ran for a total of 295 yards on the ground and four touchdowns, compared to Eau Claire’s 107 yards and zero scores.

Despite only scoring one more point than week one, Knapp feels that the team improved in a lot of aspects in week two.

“I feel like there was definitely some things we did better,” Knapp said. “I feel like we started off slow which is not what we want, and we have to come in with the right mindset.  I feel like offensively we were able to move the ball a little better, but not capitalizing in the red zone is what really hurt us.”

Eau Claire has a bye week this coming week, so they will not see any action this coming Saturday. Instead the Blugolds will be able to hit the video room, practice, and prepare for their week four matchup against Wisconsin Lutheran. During my conversation with UW-Eau Claire receiver Matthew Knapp, I asked him how the team is feeling going into their bye week.

“We feel like we definitely still have a lot of work to do,” Knapp said. “We aren’t taking this week off. Just because it’s a bye week doesn’t mean it’s a week off. So, we are going to go in and practice hard these next few days, and hopefully get some momentum going into our third game.”

The Blugolds will return to action on Saturday, Sep. 24 when they face off against Wisconsin Lutheran at Raabe Stadium in Wauwatosa.

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