By Justin Dade - Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team defeated the Wisconsin Lutheran College Warriors 34-20 on Saturday night at Carson Park in the home opener.
UW-Eau Claire used their ground game effectively to improve to 1-1 on the season finishing with 213 total rushing yards led by quarterback JT DenHartog (Jr. – Hopkins, MN) who finished the day with 91 yards and 3 TD's on 16 carries.
The Blugolds grabbed an early lead last week on a long touchdown run from DenHartog, and it was more of the same in Week 2. DenHartog found the end zone on a read-option look from 70 yards out on UW-Eau Claire's second drive of the night to make it 7-0 with 8:17 left to play in the first quarter.
Despite not finding much success through the air in the first half, Warriors' quarterback Pat Mathieson gave the UW-Eau Claire defense fits in the first half with his scrambling ability. Mathieson contributed two 20-yard runs on the Warriors third drive of the first half that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tony Ciufo. A failed extra point would make it 7-6 with 53 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Blugolds would respond with a 35-yard touchdown run from Brian Kulaga (Jr. – Riverside, IL) on their next drive to make it 14-6 early in the second quarter.
Late in the half, the Blugolds would tack on seven more on a quarterback sneak from DenHartog with time expiring to give UW-Eau Claire a 21-6 lead into the locker room. UW-Eau Claire was very successful on the ground with 190 rushing yards through one half of play. The interior offensive line featuring center Jake Coenen (Sr. – Schofield, WI) helped pave the way to help the offense average seven yards per carry after two quarters.
The Warriors would come out strong in the second half, capping off a 13-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Mathieson to Levi Schriefer. His second touchdown pass of the game cut into the Blugold lead making it 21-12 after a failed two-point conversion.
The Blugolds would use a 10-play drive to exhaust a good portion of the third quarter that was finished off by yet another DenHartog touchdown run. His fourth rushing touchdown of the season would make it 28-12 with 1:24 left in the third quarter.
With a few starting receivers out for the game, UW-Eau Claire got a huge breakout performance from wideout Tyler Paulson (So. – Maple Park, IL) who finished with six receptions for 131 yards and a 52-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter that would extend the lead to 34-12.
The Warriors would add a late touchdown, but the Blugolds would go on to secure the 34-20 win. UW-Eau Claire took care of the ball in this one, and have turned the ball over just one time through two games.
On the defensive side of the ball, UW-Eau Claire held Wisconsin Lutheran to just two conversions on 14 third-down attempts. Kaeleb Stangler (Sr. – Rochester, MN) led the way with seven total tackles and one sack.
The Blugolds (1-1) will have the next week off before making the trip to Oregon to take on George Fox University in the first ever meeting between the two teams. That game is set to kick off at 3:30 PM CT on September 23.
Follow the action all season on Blugold Game Day.