Blugolds lose the ‘War on 94’

After a disappointing offensive showing, the Blugolds fall to rivals UW-Stout for the second straight year

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Photo by Kelsey Smith

The Blugolds could only find the in zone once against the Blue Devils. This is the third time this season that Eau Claire has been held to only one score.

The UW-Stout Blue Devils defeated the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds 30-7 on Sat. October 15th in the annual, “War on 94” game at American football field in Menomonie, Wisconsin. This brings Eau Claire’s season record to 1-5 overall, and 0-3 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play.

Coming out strong has been a common point of emphasis over the season for the Blugolds, but it still remains a prevalent issue for Eau Claire. In both the first and second quarters, Stout outscored Eau Claire 10-0, putting the halftime deficit for Eau Claire at 20 points.

Junior outside linebacker, Carl Lightfoot, indicated that the Blue Devils offense were not doing anything particularly special against them, it was an internal problem the Eau Claire defense was experiencing.

“We have to execute better,” Lightfoot said. “They weren’t doing too much differently than from what we expected.”

Like Eau Claire’s matchup last week against UW-River Falls, they would come out with much more ferocity and urgency in the second half of play. In the second half, the Blugolds only allowed 10 points, a significant improvement from their first half total. Lightfoot attributes this never say die mindset to a desire not to let Stout take advantage of their defense again.

“We came out with the mindset that we weren’t going to allow them to make any more plays,” Lightfoot said. “We did a good job of rallying around each other, and making it possible by playing hard. We knew what we needed to get done.”

Despite this increase in defensive efficiency, the offensive effort did not improve significantly for Eau Claire. The only scoring play that the Eau Claire offense could produce was a two-yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback JT Denhartog to wide receiver Tye McLaughlin with 57 seconds left in the third quarter.

The game against UW-Stout was one of Denhartog’s lowest offensive showings of the season in terms of yards in the air and on the ground. Denhartog was pulled from the game late in the second quarter in favor of providing backup quarterback Scott Procter with a shot to get the offense going.

In the second half, after Procter could not spark the Eau Claire offense, Denhartog was placed back into his starting position, but only managed to end the game with six completions for 57 yards.

The trouble at the quarterback position cannot be attributed to only Denhartog and Procter however, as the offensive line for The Blugolds could not keep the Stout defense at bay for any significant length of time.

Denhartog was forced to abandon his drop back position and run the ball 14 times (which amounted to 33 yards on the ground). With a pass to rush ratio of 15-14, it is no wonder as to why offense was hard to come by for the Blugolds. Without time to make a play happen, there is only so much luck can do for a struggling offense.

The running backs on the Blugold roster did not produce well either in the, “War on 94” game, as running backs Gerald Childs and Brian Kulaga combined for a total of 37 yards on 14 attempts (2.6 yards per carry).    

Despite another disappointing conference loss, Lightfoot believes that the difficulties the Blugolds are facing can be improved upon within their locker room and on the practice field.

“At this point we just need to continue to work hard, believe in the schemes that we are being taught, practice the fundamentals that they teach us to use, and overall we just need to trust each other and continue to work hard,” Lightfoot said.

Eau Claire will have the chance to turn their season around this coming Saturday, as UW-Lacrosse travels to Carson Park to play the Blugolds on their home terrain. The game begins at 11:30 a.m., and can be heard live on Blugold Radio 99.9FM-WDRK, and can be streamed online at But, as for now, Eau Claire will have to tip their hats to the Blue Devils and look to the 2017 season to try and recapture the elusive “War on 94” trophy.