MENOMONIE (October 6, 2012) - UW-Stout quarterback Michael Blizel (Sr, Sturgeon Bay) ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in leading the Blue Devils to a 31-14 Homecoming victory over the UW-Stevens Point Pointers Saturday at Don & Nona Williams Stadium.
Blizel finished 20-34 for 210 passing yards and added 68 more on the ground in 11 attempts. He was the team's leading rusher on the day. Blizel also had two punts in the game, one for a touchback and the other downed on the 5-yard line.
Stout's defense also came up big, forcing a fumble and intercepting two passes, including one by Jeremy Troupe-Masi (Sr, Fremont Calif) in the endzone.
The Blue Devils offense looked to be clicking early, taking their opening drive 47 yards, including a 29 yard run by Eric Brown (Sr, St Paul, Minn). The drive ended at the Pointers 23 when Josh Peterson (Sr, Cedar Grove) had the ball knocked loose and Stevens Point recovered.
After the defense forced a punt, the Blue Devils (3-2, 1-1 WIAC) took over on the Pointers 49 yard line and marched to the 19 where the drive stalled. Ricky Marteney (Jr, Greenfield) kicked the ball through the uprights from 36 yards out for a 3-0 Stout lead.
Another punt by Stevens Point gave the ball back to Stout's offense, which went three and out. On the ensuing punt, Tim Burmeister broke through and blocked the punt, giving Stevens Point the ball on Stout's 34 yard line.
The Pointers (1-4, 0-2) quickly scored, thanks to a 33 yard pass followed by a one yard run by quarterback Bobby Cieplewski to take the lead, 7-3.
Early in the second quarter, Blizel was intercepted on a tipped pass and the Pointers took over on their own 31.
They promptly drove down the field to Stout's 11 yard line when Cieplewski lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone. Troupe-Masi went up with the receiver for the ball and came down with it, ending the threat and getting the ball back for the Blue Devils.
Stout failed to take advantage of the turnover, going three and out.
On Stevens Point's first play after the punt, defensive end Ryan Ericksen (Sr, Stanley) burst through the line and knocked the ball away from Cieplewski and linebacker Luke Bakkum (So, Oconomowoc) fell on it.
This time, the Blue Devils took full advantage of the turnover, driving down to the 14 yard line of the Pointers. After evading several defenders in the backfield, Blizel lofted a pass that found a wide open Peterson in the end zone, giving Stout back the lead.
Peterson finished the day as the Blue Devils leading reciever, hauling in 10 passes for 80 yards and the one touchdown.
On the opening drive of the second half, Blizel led the offense back down the field, running the ball in from 25 yards out to increase the lead to 17-7.
Stevens Point came out on the next drive and scored quickly, on a 41 yard touchdown run by Adam Vesterfelt, cutting the Blue Devils lead back down to three.
After Marteney pulled a 42 yard field goal attempt wide left and Stout's defense forced a punt, Blizel led the offense back down the field.
A 31 yard reception by Trevor Morning (Jr, Bloomer) and a pass interference call set up the second of Blizel's touchdown runs, as he took it in from two yards out on a play action bootleg.
Stevens Point looked to be threatening again early in the fourth as they drove all the way down to Stout's 34 yard line.
Facing a 4th and 12, the Pointers opted to go for out and were stuffed, giving the ball back to the Blue Devils.
Stout, unable to get anything going, punted the ball back to the Pointers on Blizel's second punt of the day.
After a seven yard run, Tyler Naatz (So, Menomonie) stepped in front of a pass and picked it off, taking it back 14 yards to Stevens Point's six yard line.
David Goebel (Jr, Minnetonka, Minn.) punched it up the middle for five tough yards and on second and goal from the one, Blizel took it in for his third rushing touchdown of the game.
On the next drive, Stout again forced a turnover on downs, sealing the 31-14 victory for the Blue Devils.
Running back Tanner Kuehn (So, Fairchild) gained 57 yards on eight carries. Brown chipped in 51 on 13 attempts.
Damian Guggenbuehl (Jr, La Crosse) tied for the team lead with 11 tackles, 10 solo. Joining him were Spencer Adler (Jr, Little Chute) with 11 tackles, five solo (three for loss) and David Lindell (Jr, New Richland, Minn.) with 11 tackles, three solo (two for loss).
In addition to his interception, Naatz chipped in 10 tackles, seven solo. Collin Laursen (So, Mondovi) also had 10 tackles, three solo.
Next week, the Blue Devils will host the Division III defending national champion UW-Whitewater in the annual Hall of Fame game starting at 2 p.m.