EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Behind a strong rushing performance for the UW-Eau Claire football team, the Blugolds defeated UW-La Crosse 24-9 at Carson Park today.
The Blugolds compiled 285 rushing yards, their most since a 369-yard total on Sept. 20, 2008 against Hope College (Mich.). In the first quarter alone, Eau Claire had 151 yards on 23 rushes. Joel Sweeney (Jr.-Tomah, Wis.) led the game with 185 rushing yards, the second largest amount he has accumulated in his career.
In today's game, the Blugolds built a 17-0 lead by the second quarter. Sweeney scored two touchdowns, one in the first quarter and one in the second quarter, while Josh Albrecht (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./North) hit a 34-yard field goal at the beginning of the second quarter.
While Eau Claire jumped out to a 17-0 lead, La Crosse cut the Blugolds' lead to 14 points after nailing a 21-yard field goal with two minutes left before the half, and the score was 17-3 at halftime. Eau Claire held a 20:51 to 9:09 advantage in time of possession in the first half, including a 12:30 to 2:30 margin in the first quarter alone.
In the third quarter, La Crosse took its third drive of the half 37 yards to the end zone to get to within eight points. The score remained 17-9 after Pat Hendricks (Sr.-Clintonville, Wis.) blocked the Eagles' extra point attempt.
In the final quarter, the Eagles had the ball and on the very first play, fumbled, and Eau Claire's Sean Graham (Jr.-Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) recovered. The Blugolds then drove 37 yards to the end zone with Sweeny scoring his third touchdown on the day, and after an Albrecht extra point, Eau Claire took a 24-9 lead, which held up to the end. Sweeny has scored three touchdowns four times in his career.
On the defensive side of the ball, Tyler Janus (Sr.-Sussex, Wis./Hamilton), who led the Blugolds with eight tackles, had one interception while Cody Gergen (Jr.-Lakeville, Minn./South) forced a fumble. Graham and Nevin Smith (So.-Edgar, Wis.) each recovered fumbles.
Eau Claire is now 2-4 on the season and 2-1 in the WIAC. La Crosse drops to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
Next up, the Blugolds will be at UW-Stevens Point on Saturday, Oct. 20. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.