UW-Eau Claire comes up short against UW-Stevens Point

UW-Stevens Point defeated the Blugolds 28-19 at Carson Park

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Photo by Kelsey Smith

Eau Claire’s mid game comeback effort was not enough to stop a resilient Stevens Point offense.

UW-Stevens Point overtook UW-Eau Claire football 28-19 Saturday at Carson Park during Eau Claire’s homecoming festivities. The loss puts the Blugolds record at one win and three losses on the season, and 0-1 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play.

Bo Casper, Blugold senior cornerback, expressed his view on how his team is feeling after a hard fought contest that came up just short.

“We are clearly disappointed,” Casper said. “To play like that and come away with a loss definitely hurts, especially during homecoming.”

After a strong start against Wisconsin Lutheran last week, Eau Claire laid a goose egg in the first quarter during Saturday’s game. Stevens Point quickly took advantage of the Blugolds slow start, and gained a 14-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of play. However, the Blugolds would step up their intensity and make the game much more interesting in the next two quarters.

During the second and third quarter, Eau Claire went on a 13-0 scoring run, quickly gaining ground on a complacent Stevens Point team. Blugold senior wide receiver, Tyler Korth, says the comeback was sparked from a mindset the team came into the game with.

“The belief that we thought we could win never faded,” Korth said. “Just because we were down 14-0 early in the game didn’t mean we were out of it.”

Bo Casper believes that strong technical execution also contributed to the Blugolds comeback effort.

“We did what we were taught,” Casper said. “The guys followed their keys, played with the right technique, and everyone was locked in during those quarters. That made a big difference.”

However, like Bernie Sanders campaign during the democratic presidential primary elections this year, the Blugolds came up just a bit short.

Eau Claire was outscored 14-6 in the fourth quarter, with the Blugolds defense having to deal with a revitalized Stevens Point offense that didn’t seem to let up.

Leading the way for the Blugolds on offense was senior wide receiver Matthew Knapp, who caught eight passes from sophomore quarterback JT Denhartog for a total of 112 yards. Contributing on the ground was sophomore running back, Brian Kulaga, who ran for a total of 75 yards in seven attempts.

Despite Eau Claire’s lack of winning seasons the last few years, Carson Park was packed to the brim on Saturday as over 4,200 people filled the stands to watch the matchup.

Tyler Korth said the amount of fan support at the game was inspiring and humbling to witness.

“It was awesome,” Korth, a senior, said. “So many old players that we used to play with were there. It was a great atmosphere, and a great game to be a part of.”

Eau Claire’s next scheduled game will take place on Saturday, Oct. 8, as they travel to UW-River Falls to face a Falcons team that currently holds an identical record to Eau Claire (one win and three losses). River Falls also lost on Saturday, as UW-Lacrosse defeated them by a score of 35-14.

Despite facing a new opponent, Bo Casper doesn’t believe the team will do anything differently to prepare for the Falcons.

“We are going to do the same thing we do every week,” Casper said. “Come in on Sunday, get some work done, watch some film, lift, and really get after it this week. Also, we have to try and keep the energy high at practice, and keeping the guy’s minds right during the week is going to be a big part of it.”

Eau Claire will square off against River Falls at noon Saturday Oct. 8 at Smith Stadium at Ramer Field in River Falls. The game will be broadcasted live on Blugold Radio 99.9 WDRK and can be streamed online at blugoldradio.org.