EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - The 18th-ranked UW-Eau Claire football team came away with a 20-13 overtime win over WIAC opponent UW-Stevens Point on Homecoming at Carson Park today.
The win was the Blugolds' seventh straight on Homecoming and was the first over the Pointers since November 3, 2007. It was also Eau Claire's first win over the Pointers at Carson Park since 2004. The Blugolds improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the WIAC while Stevens Point falls to 2-2 on the season and 0-1 in WIAC play.
While the Blugolds held a lead a majority of the day, a Stevens Point touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter gave the Pointers their first lead of the game at 13-10. Down by just three, Brandon Raciborski (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) kicked a 19-yard field goal for the Blugolds with 3:24 remaining to tie the game back up.
On the next drive, the Pointers marched down the field quickly and set up for a 27-yard field goal with only 10 seconds remaining in the game. Jared Fohrman, who nailed a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter, attempted the field goal but Chad Samuelson (Jr.-St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) blocked the kick to keep the game tied at 13 apiece. The Blugolds took a knee on the next play to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, the Blugolds got the ball first but the offense had trouble with it right away. Despite getting down to the two yard line on the opening play, Austin Neu (So.-Iron Ridge, Wis./Hustisford) fumbled the ball on his way there. A penalty by Stevens Point put the Blugolds on the one yard line, but a bad snap on the next play sent the ball back to the 16 yard line, setting up a 3rd-and-goal. However, the Blugolds were able to recover and scored a touchdown on the next play after a pass from Neu to Joel Sweeney (Fr.-Tomah, Wis.). Raciborski added the extra point to make the score 20-13.
The Blugold defense came out strong and Dan Mahaffey (Sr.-Madison, Wis./Memorial) sacked Pointer quarterback Jake Swank for a 10-yard loss on Stevens Point's first play of overtime. While the Pointers completed a pass to get back of the 27, the next play ended the game after Tyler Janus (So.-Sussex, Wis./Hamilton) intercepted Swank's pass on 3rd-and-12.
Scoring the other Blugold touchdown today was Ryan Moertel (Jr.-Rochester, Minn./Century) on a five-yard pass from Neu on the first drive of the game.
Sweeney had an excellent game all the way around, finishing as the Blugolds' leading rusher and receiver with 109 and 120 yards, respectively. He caught a pass of 64 yards in the fourth quarter on a 3rd-and-22, on a drive that eventually led to the Blugolds' tying field goal.
Neu finished with two passing touchdowns and totaled 206 yards on 16-for-24 passing but was sacked six times. The Blugolds accumulated 323 yards of total offense (117 rushing, 206 passing).
Along with Mahaffey, Kalan Stittleburg (Jr.-Neillsville, Wis.) and Jimmy Hall (So.-Howards Grove, Wis.) both recorded sacks for the Blugolds while Ben Shea (Sr.-Manitowoc, Wis./Lincoln) led the team with seven tackles.
Next up, the Blugolds head to southern Wisconsin to face UW-Platteville next Saturday. Action will get underway at 3 p.m.