UW-Eau Claire football fails to achieve a homecoming victory

    The Blugolds fell to the Falcons on Saturday


    Photo by Sydney Purpora

    The UW-Eau Claire football team suffered a loss in their homecoming game at Carson Park this weekend, falling to the UW-River Falls Falcons 30-7.

    The Blugold football team was unable to get a win this past Saturday at their homecoming game in Carson Park, suffering a tough defeat to the UW-River Falls Falcons 30-7 and updating their season record to 1-3.

    The only points for Eau Claire came with 54 seconds left in the first half with a 73 yard touchdown run by JT DenHartog, the junior quarterback.

    DenHartog said he credits the offensive linemen for creating a hole.

    “It (the field) was wide open,” DenHartog said. “All I did was run straight.”

    This drive also resulted in Eau Claire’s lone first down all half.

    In order to put together longer, more sustained drives, head coach Dan Larson said the Blugolds have some work to do.

    “It starts with our ability to execute at a higher level on first and second downs,” Larson said. “We’re missing an opportunity to get the ball to the perimeter. This allows teams to really squeeze us inside.”

    Eau Claire completed only 40 percent of their attempted passes throughout the game.

    Defensively, the Blugolds had trouble containing the Falcons offense. In particular, Michael Diggins, the Falcons senior running back, was force to be reckoned with. Diggins rushed for 158 yards and put up two touchdowns for River Falls.

    Eau Claire’s Kaeleb Stangler, a senior inside linebacker, said the Blugolds prefer to focus on their own performance rather than their opponents.

    “It could be any player in the backfield,” Stangler. “It’s not him (Diggins). We gotta stick to what we’re doing and focus on ourselves. It takes each person doing their individual job. And when that happens 11 strong can play very well.”

    The Blugold defense found success at times during the game. They were able to force three punts in the first two quarters and hold River Falls to only a field goal after a fumble. The special teams unit for Eau Claire stepped up throughout the course of the contest as well. The punt team was able to pin River Falls deep in their own territory multiple times and the Blugolds even recorded a PAT block.

    However, the Falcons’ passing game caused trouble for Eau Claire’s defense. Travon Hearns, a senior quarterback for River Falls, threw for 214 yards and one touchdown. In addition, two big passes down the sidelines set up both of River Falls’ touchdowns in the first half.

    Larson said his message to the team on Saturday was not to panic.

    “It’s our fourth game of the year,” Larson said. “Our first conference game. In these games you learn how to win. The only way to get the desired outcome every week is through determination, and dedication. River Falls just had a little bit more than we did today.”

    Eau Claire faces another tough opponent this Saturday. They will battle against the undefeated UW-La Crosse Golden Eagles at Veterans Memorial Stadium.