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Blugolds fall in season finale to No. 5 Titans

Blugolds fall in season finale to No. 5 Titans

Justin Dade – UWEC Sports Information 

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. ( – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team fell to the No. 5 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans 48-13 on Saturday at Carson Park in their final game of the season on senior day.  

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The Blugolds took on their third straight ranked opponent in the WIAC in this one and struggled on defense against the fifth-ranked Titans. 

After a Blugolds' three and out to start the game, the Titans took the ball 60 yards on their opening drive and found the end zone on a 9-yard run from Dylan Hecker to give UW-Oshkosh a 7-0 lead with 8:49 left to play in the opening quarter.

On the ensuing kick-off, the Blugolds got a big return from receiver Matt Knapp (Sr. – Eau Claire, WI) all the way to the Titans' 40-yard line.

The Blugolds drove all the way down to the Titans' five-yard line before a Titans' interception on 4th and 3 that was returned into UW-Eau Claire territory. 

UW-Oshkosh would strike on the very next play on a touchdown pass from Brett Kasper to Cody Moon to make it 13-0 with 1:47 left in the quarter after a failed point after attempt.

The ensuing kick-off was fumbled by Knapp and was returned for a touchdown by Matt Rucynski to make it a quick 20-0 UW-Oshkosh lead with 1:38 left in the first.

The Blugolds started with good field position again on another good return from Knapp to start the second quarter.

On third down, quarterback JT DenHartog (So. – Hopkins, MN) threw deep intended for tight end Nathan Claflin (Jr. – De Pere, WI) when the ball deflected off Claflin's hands right into the arms of Knapp as the senior receiver took it all the way to the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown on an incredible display of effort.

Knapp's highlight-reel play was good for his eighth touchdown of the year to make it 20-6 with 13:30 left in the half.

UW-Oshkosh's next drive ended with a field-goal attempt that was blocked by Blugolds' cornerback Ryan Ames (Jr. – Shakopee, MN) to keep the score at 20-6 midway through the second quarter.

The Blugolds were looking to make if a one possession game driving late in the half before DenHartog was intercepted on third down with 1:35 left.

The Titans took advantage of the turnover and found the end zone just before the end of the first half on a three-yard touchdown run from Hecker with 22 seconds left to give UW-Oshkosh a 27-6 lead into the locker room.

After the Blugolds' defense forced a Titans' punt that pinned UW-Eau Claire deep on their first possession of the half, the exchange from DenHartog to running back Gerald Childs (Jr. – Milwaukee, WI) on the first play of the drive from the one-yard line was mishandled and was recovered by the Titans in the end zone.

The defensive score made it a 34-6 lead for the Titans with 12:12 left in the third quarter.

UW-Oshkosh added another touchdown on their next possession on an 83-yard touchdown run from Hecker to make it 41-6 with 8:49 left in the third quarter.

After the Titans tacked on another touchdown, the Blugolds found the end zone with eight minutes left in the game on a one-yard touchdown run from DenHartog to make it 48-13.

UW-Eau Claire was able to move the ball on their following possessions, but were unable to cut into the Titans' lead any further.

Knapp will finish the season with a team leading 37 receptions for 642 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Blugolds will finish their 2016 season with a 2-8 record as they look forward to Dan Larson's second year as head coach with high hopes.

Follow the action for all sports this season on Blugold Game Day.

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