Blugolds capture their first win in dominating fashion

UW-Eau Claire football defeated Wisconsin Lutheran 40-14 Saturday to earn their first win since 2014

More stories from Parker Reed

The Blugolds captured their first win of the season Saturday in dominating fashion as they defeated Wisconsin Lutheran 40-14 on the road. This is UW-Eau Claire’s first regular season victory since their 2014 campaign.

Eau Claire starting linebacker, sophomore William Cooley, feels relieved and confident after his team finally got over the hump to win their first contest.

“It feels really good,” Cooley said. “A lot of these guys haven’t won a game, at least the sophomore class that I’m in, since high school. And especially for the seniors, winning is not a thing that comes by easy. So, to get the first victory of the season here, hopefully it’s the start of good things to come.”

Leading the way for the Blugolds on offense was starting quarterback JT Denhartog, who threw for four touchdowns (and rushed for one more) and 151 yards, and senior wide receiver Matthew Knapp who caught six passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns.

Knapp gave the credit of his team’s success to a solid game plan and solid execution.

“I think it was just sticking with the game plan,” Knapp said. “We’ve had a good one all week, and we started out right which helped out a lot. Sticking to our game plan allowed us to create some spaces and creases, and those lead to points.”

Linebacker William Cooley also believes that Eau Claire’s success should be attributed to effective preparation and a combined team effort.

“We didn’t change up a whole lot,” Cooley said. “I think everyone took a little more personal responsibility on the defense. I know the linebacker group that I’m apart of were just flying around a lot faster than we have been in previous weeks.”

The win against Wisconsin Lutheran comes as a breath of fresh air for a team that has struggled the first two games of the season. Through their first two games, the Blugolds had been outscored by a total of 65-13, and fans started to anticipate another winless season. But, like true competitors, the Blugolds overcame adversity and came out on the winning side against Wisconsin Lutheran. Cooley said this game taught him a lot about his team.

“With not a lot of wins coming, a lot of teams would just bow down when they faced adversity,” Cooley said. “There is a lot of pride in this group still, even with the lack of success. There are still a lot of guys who still have the hunger to win, and will do anything they can to get it done.”

Junior wide receiver Brody Diggins said the team will build off of this victory, and use it as a building block for the rest of the season.

“Now that we’ve got our first win, we’ve got some confidence,” Diggins said. “We’ll be able to build on that this week in practice, and just keep getting better.”

Eau Claire hopes to do just that as they commence practice this week in preparation for the Blugold homecoming game this Saturday against UW-Stevens Point at Carson Park in Eau Claire.

Cooley said the team does not plan to make any huge changes to their game plan in the days leading up to their matchup this coming Saturday.

“We have to have the best week of practice we’ve ever had so far, because Stevens Point is a really good team, and this is our first conference game,” Cooley said. “So, it is going to mean a lot to make a statement to the WIAC that Eau Claire isn’t messing around this year.”

Eau Claire will square off against UW-Stevens Point on Saturday Oct. 1 at Carson Park in Eau Claire. The game can be heard live on Blugold Radio 99.9FM WDRK, and can be streamed online at