By Bryce Meade, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team dropped their regular season finale on Saturday afternoon to the UW-La Crosse Eagles, 42-0.
A rare illegal kicking penalty on a Brad Goetsch (So. – Schofield, WI/DC Everest) punt set up the Eagles deep in Blugold territory early in the first quarter. Five plays later, quarterback Ben Schramski found the end zone for a four-yard touchdown run and an early 7-0 lead. After another Blugold punt on the following drive, Austin Mancosky ran 56 yards untouched to extend the lead to 14-0.
Following a touchdown pass in the opening minute of the second quarter to make it 21-0, Scott Procter (Sr. – Chicago, IL/Saint Rita of Cascia) and the Blugold offense finally gained some momentum. A 36-yard pass from Procter to Leeshaun Evans (Sr. – Chicago, IL/Thornridge) set up the Eau Claire offense at the three-yard line. The drive stalled on the next play, however, when the Blugolds lost a fumble that was recovered by the Eagles in the end zone for a touchback. La Crosse capitalized on the turnover quickly, as Schramski tossed his second touchdown of the game on the second play of the drive to put the Eagles ahead 28-0. The Blugolds then put together another impressive drive, taking the ball down to the Eagle five-yard line, before Procter was intercepted on a deflected pass intended for Brian Kulaga (Sr. – Riverside, IL/Riverside-Brookfield). La Crosse took a 28-0 lead into the break.
The Blugolds once again drove deep into Eagle territory early in the third quarter, but were denied points. A personal foul on La Crosse following a 30-yard Goetsch field goal gave the Blugolds an automatic first down inside the 10. Eau Claire had four chances at the end zone but were stopped when Procter's pass intended for Evans fell incomplete on a 4th and goal from the five. A pair of second-half touchdowns capped off the day for the Eagles, as they left with a 42-0 victory.
Despite failing to score, the Blugold offense racked up 314 yards of total offense. Procter completed 11 of his 23 pass attempts for 155 yards. Kulaga added 76 yards on 20 carries to lead Blugold rushers. Evans nearly recorded his second 100-yard receiving game of the season, finishing with three catches for 99 yards. Sam Romanski (Jr. – Wausau, WI/East) led the defense with 8 total tackles and recorded 1.5 sacks. Romanski wraps up a tremendous season, as he recorded a sack in every game, totaling a WIAC-leading 14.5. He finished second in the nation, trailing the leader by just a half sack.
The Blugolds turned a lot of heads this season, recording their most wins in a season since 2012. They will look to improve upon their 4-6 (2-5 WIAC) record next fall.