Blugolds regress in loss to UW-River Falls

The 20 point loss comes as a shock to the team after a close game a week prior

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Photo by Kelsey Smith

Despite a scoring run in the fourth quarter, the Eau Claire defense could not keep River Falls at bay.

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The UW-Eau Claire football team fell to UW-River Falls 41-21 on Saturday Oct. 8th at Ramer Field in River Falls. This puts Eau Claire’s season record at 1-4, and their Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) record at 0-2.

Sophomore Blugold football player, William Cooley, believes that the team’s unsatisfactory results against River Falls can be accredited to variables other than on-field execution.

“On the field we are starting hesitate again,” Cooley said. “It is something we got away from in the past couple of weeks. We were getting after it and playing football like we should be. But, just watching the film, we are starting to hesitate and not playing to our full potential.”

The 20-point loss comes as a surprise to the team, as they came out with a 26-point victory against Wisconsin Lutheran two weeks ago, and only lost by nine points against UW-Stevens Point in last week’s homecoming game at Carson Park. Cooley said the team was lacking in effort, rather than just being outplayed.

“We want there to be things to coach other than effort for us,” Cooley said. “That is something that the coaches should never have to address. The only things we should have to fix should be football related, and not be due to a lack of heart or energy.”

The two programs both ended the first quarter in a 0-0 stalemate, but the Falcons went on a quick scoring run in the second quarter of play to make the score 14-0 River Falls at halftime. Junior Eau Claire safety, Alex Yde, said the team just “came out flat” even though they were “hyped for the game.”

Like a champion prize fighter in boxing, Eau Claire wouldn’t go down without a fight. The Blugolds put up 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull within shouting distance of the Falcons. Yde credits the scoring surge to the team’s never say die mindset.

“I think a lot of guys were frustrated,” Yde said. “The coaches were talking people up, and trying to get them going on the sidelines. I think we found things that worked, stuck with them, and we were able to put some points on the board.”

River Falls did not let up on offense in the fourth quarter either, and went on to match the Blugolds scoring a total of 21 points in the quarter. Cooley said the defensive shortcomings shouldn’t be credited to a prolific River Falls offense.

“On defense our eyes were in the wrong place,” Cooley said. “We weren’t as focused on our keys as we should be. They didn’t do anything special to us. They came at us with things that we’ve seen before. It all came down to us. It always does every week.”

Despite the defensive breakdown, Yde said the team still expects to win as they commence the second half of their season.

“We have an opportunity to win the next five games that we have if we play hard and do what we are supposed to do,” Yde said. “That’s for sure our number one goal.”

The Blugolds next game comes against UW-Stout on Saturday the 15th in what is known as the annual, “War on 94” game. The name of the contest originated as a rivalry formed between the two schools due to their close proximity of 28.1 miles (which is connected by Interstate I-94).

Eau Claire hopes to turn around their season as they kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday at UW-Stout. The game can be heard live on Blugold Radio 99.9FM-WDRK, and streamed online at The Blugolds will return to Carson Park the following week to take on UW-La Crosse.