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Blugolds win overtime thriller, move to 2-0

Photo by Shane Opatz, UWEC Photo
Photo by Shane Opatz, UWEC Photo

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. ( – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team is 2-0 for the first time since 2010 after a thrilling double overtime win over St. Norbert College, 30-23.

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For the second week in a row, the Blugold defense would force a turnover in the first possession of the game to get things rolling. Joseph Esposito (Jr. – Elburn, IL/Kaneland) picked off St. Norbert's Drew Rhodes at the Green Knight 32 which would lead to a 35-yard field goal from Brad Goetsch (So. – Schofield, WI/DC Everest).

Goetsch would hit two more field goals in the next two Blugold possessions – another from 35-yards out and the other from 22 – to give UW-Eau Claire a 9-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Late in the second, Brian Kulaga (Sr. – Riverside, IL/Riverside-Brookfield) would give the Blugolds their first touchdown of the game, breaking away for a 19-yard run to complete an 89-yard drive and give UWEC a 16-0 lead going into the half.

The Green Knights scored on a 59-yard pass play midway through the third to get their first points of the night. From there neither team to gain momentum until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

With under a minute left in regulation, St. Norbert scored on a 33-yard pass and would get the ball back after a perfectly executed on-side kick. The Green Knights would tie the game with a field goal with seconds remaining to send the game into the first overtime.

St. Norbert scored from four yards out to put the Green Knights ahead 23-16 after its possession in overtime. Eau Claire faced a third-and-9 at the St. Norbert 24 but an offside penalty moved the Blugolds ahead five yards. UWEC would convert on fourth-and-3 with a big catch by Brycen Froehlich (So. – Appleton, WI/Kaukauna) and scored on the next play on a 9-yard run by Scott Procter (Sr. – Chicago, IL/Saint Rita of Cascia) to retie the game.

Eau Claire opened the second overtime with possession and needed five plays to score on a 9-yard run by Kulaga to regain the lead. St. Norbert eventually advanced to a third-and-goal at the Eau Claire 2. A run netted no gain and a fourth-down pass was batted down in the end zone by Drew Hurley (Sr. – Chatfield, MN/Chosen Valley) to give the Blugolds their second-straight victory.

Eau Claire outgained St. Norbert 367-319 in total offense. Procter completed 13 of 26 passes for 160 yards while Kulaga rushed 28 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Austin Belot (So. – Neenah, WI) also ran 17 times for 74 yards in the win.

The Blugold defense was led by Cameron Swanson (Jr. – Auburndale, WI/Marshfield) and Sam Romanski (Jr. – Wausau, WI/East). Swanson tallied eight solo tackles while Romanski tallied seven total tackles (six solo), three tackles for a loss and recorded two sacks.

The Blugolds will head into the bye week at 2-0. UWEC will be in action on the road the following week, taking on the University of St. Thomas on Sept. 22. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app on your mobile device.


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