Blugold football opens season with a victory

    Final score ends up 35-3

    Will Seward

    More stories from Will Seward


    Photo by Will Seward

    The Blugolds run out to face the Loras Duhawks

    In their home nest of Carson park, the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds beat the Loras Duhawks with a final score of 35-3. 

    The offense achieved 5.9 yards per carry, executed over a course of 42 rushing attempts which summed to a total of 247 total yards. 

    While the Blugolds ran for 42 of the 62 total offensive plays, there was a total of 115 passing yards with 50 percent completion (10/20) with a majority of those being thrown by starting Jonathan Malueg, a second-year quarterback, who had a 44 percent completion when he threw for 18 of the 20 total passing attempts. 

    The offense did gain a total of 362 yards, but they also committed six of the team’s seven penalties, costing them a total of 49 yards, as well as big plays being called back. 

    The Duhawks entered the red zone twice — with one of those times being on an interception returned to the Blugold 8-yard-line — the defense delivered a 3-and-out to the Duhawks and forced them to settle for a field goal, while the Duhawks’ other trip to the red zone resulted in a fumble, which was forced and recovered by the Blugold defense. 

    The Blugold defense also delivered seven sacks, summing to 29 total negative yards of offense for the Duhawks, as well as an interception returned by Jared Churak, a third-year defensive back, for a Blugold touchdown. This was the first interception to be returned for a touchdown by the Blugolds since October of 2009, according to Blugold Athletics.

    When asked what he thought of the team’s performance, Alex White, a fifth-year student, praised the defense and said consistency should be a goal for the Blugolds to keep up what they’ve been doing. 

    White said he was not as impressed with the offense, though, as he was frustrated by what he perceived to be offensive inconsistencies: specifically, the offensive line. 

    “It was mostly the offensive line,” White said. “One play they get a huge push, and the next they get blown up. How is the run game supposed to work with that?” 

    Gary Butcher, a UW-Eau Claire graduate, also had some criticism of the team.

    “Communication of who was covering who wasn’t there,” Butcher said. “It looked like the secondary didn’t know who they were responsible for.”

    Sam Romanski, a fifth-year linebacker, led the team with 59 tackles and 14.5 sacks last season.“It was all a team effort,” Romanski said. “I’m glad the defense was able to step-up when the offense was struggling.”

    Darius Jones, a third-year wide receiver who finished the game with one reception for 42 yards, said he was also quite pleased with the team’s performance. 

    Jones said he was happy about the offense’s ability to run the ball, but the deep passing may need some more work in order to capitalize on the defense’s anticipation for the run. 

    When Jones was asked what he would say to fans who leave after halftime, he said they should stay until the end, as he expects future games to have “big things in the fourth quarter.”

    Ryan Pelle, a third-year member of the Blugold Marching Band, said he questioned why fans leave after halftime.

    “We (the band) play for both halves, why should fans stop cheering after the first half?”

    Seward can be reached at [email protected]