ST. PAUL, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday, falling to the No. 3 ranked University of St. Thomas, 49-0.
The Tommies proved their national ranking, taking advantage of Blugold mistakes to mount an early lead and never look back.
UW-Eau Claire still had some highlights, like a leaping catch in the opening drive by Leeshaun Evans (Sr. – Chicago, IL/Thornridge) from Scott Procter (Sr. – Chicago, IL/Saint Rita of Cascia) for a first down, but the Tommies would always have an answer.
The Blugold special teams came up big early as well. With Eau Claire down 7-0, St. Thomas fumbled a punt that would be recovered by Austin Belot (So. – Neenah, WI) at the UWEC 47 but the offense only managed a first down before the drive stalled.
Samuel Buchberger (Jr. - Marathon, WI) also had a takeaway for the Blugolds, stripping Noel Ortiz to give the Blugolds the ball on the St. Thomas 28. An interception would shift the momentum back to the Tommies.
Brian Kulaga (Sr. – Riverside, IL/Riverside-Brookfield) led the Eau Claire offense with 61 yards on 15 carries, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Procter passed for 69 yards (5-17) with three interceptions.
Buchberger, Jordan Wollin (Sr. – Eagan, MN), Alex Mashak (So. – Lodi, WI) and Sam Romanski (Jr. – Wausau, WI/East) each had seven tackles on the day. Romanski also tallied his fifth sack of the season.
"You have to come back and work tomorrow … we'll learn from it and be better next weekend," said Head Coach Dan Larson. "There's a better version of us out there and we'll get to work to find it."
The Blugolds (2-1) will open Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play next Saturday as they travel to Menomonie to take on UW-Stout at 6:05 p.m. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app on your mobile device.