EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLCSports.com) - The Wisconsin Lutheran College football team faced a tough test in its first road contest of the season Saturday at UW-Eau Claire. The Warriors battled the Blugolds but came up short, falling 34-20 in front of a large crowd at Carson Park.
- Final Score: UW-Eau Claire 34, Wisconsin Lutheran 20
- Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (0-2), UW-Eau Claire (1-1)
- Location: Carson Park, Eau Claire, Wis.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- After both teams saw their opening drives stall in fairly good field position, the Blugolds' JT DenHartog sprinted 70 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the drive to give the hosts a 7-0 lead with 8:17 left on the first-quarter clock.
- The Warriors responded two possessions later when Pat Mathieson (New Port Richey, Fla.) found Tony Ciufo (Madison, Wis.) for a 10-yard TD connection in the corner of the end zone with less than a minute left in the opening quarter. The extra point try failed and WLC trailed just 7-6 after one period.
- Eau Claire answered with a quick scoring drive on its next possession and neither team could muster much offense their next two opportunities with the football. UWEC closed the first half with a long scoring drive, capped by a one-yard touchdown run with :05 seconds left in the first half and the Warriors trailed 21-6 at halftime.
- Wisconsin Lutheran took the second half kickoff and drove right down the field in 13 plays and 65 yards, ending in a Mathieson 10-yard touchdown pass to Levi Schriefer (San Diego, Calif.). WLC's two-point conversion try was no good and the Green and White trailed by nine with 10:56 left in the third quarter.
- Following empty possessions from both teams, Eau Claire capped another long drive of its own late in the third quarter with a one-yard run for a 28-12 lead. The Blugolds scored their final touchdown of the game two possessions later on a 52-yard pass play with 13:52 left in the final quarter.
- The Warriors responded with an 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive on their ensuing possession when Jake Anderson (Oak Creek, Wis.) found Ciufo down the right sideline for a 43-yard touchdown connection. Anderson's two-point rush was successful and WLC trailed by 14 points with 9:03 remaining in the game.
- Both teams had the ball two more times, but were held off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- The Warriors totaled 291 yards of offense, 114 through the air and 177 on the ground.
- Mathieson rushed for 86 yards, while throwing for 61 and a pair of touchdowns. Anderson also completed two passes for 53 yards and a score.
- Ciufo caught four passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns, while Schriefer had two catches and another score.
- Wisconsin Lutheran didn't turn the ball over while possessing the football for 27:19. WLC was a perfect 3-for-3 on fourth-down conversions.
- Three Warriors finished with double-digit tackles, as Mykael Ignaszak (Cudahy, Wis.), Larry Meeks (Burlington, Wis.), and Mat Guedel (Belvidere, Ill.) collected 14, 11, and 10, respectively. JD Leisemann (Fall River, Wis.) recorded a trio of quarterback sacks.
FOR THE FOES
- The Blugolds racked up 461 yards of offense, with 248 coming through the air and 213 on the ground.
- DenHartog threw for 248 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 91 yards and three scores.
- Tyler Paulson caught six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.
- Kaeleb Stangler led UWEC's defense with seven tackles and a sack.
- The Warriors remain on the road next Saturday when they travel to Angola, Indiana for a MIAA/NACC Challenge game at Trine (2-0) at 12:00 p.m. CST. The Thunder defeated Bluffton 55-14 Saturday on the road. Live stats and video will be available for the game at WLCSports.com.