By Bryce Meade, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team opened their 2019 season with a nonconference victory over Loras College, topping the Duhawks 35-3.
After punting on the game's opening drive, the Blugold defense came up with a huge turnover deep in their own territory, when Daniel Chuchwar (So. – Chetek/Chetek-Weyerhaeuser) hopped on a Noah Sigworth fumble forced by Anthony Rauch (Jr. – Fredonia/Ozaukee) at the Eau Claire 12-yard line.
Neither team was able to produce much offense in the first quarter until a 58-yard rush by Austin Belot (Jr. – Neenah) put the Blugolds up 7-0 with under a minute to play.
Three consecutive completions from Jonathan Malueg (So. – Stoughton) to tight end Killy Kitzmann (So. – Eau Claire/Memorial) and a 31-yard rush by wide receiver Keshaun Story (Fr. – Andover, MN/Centennial) set up another Belot touchdown, this time from one yard out with 1:52 to play in the half.
On the first play of the next Duhawk drive, Jared Churak (Jr. – Huntley, IL/Marian Central) stepped in front of a Sigworth pass and ran it back for a score to extend the lead to 21-0 going into the break.
Loras got on the board with a field goal early in the second half which would be their only score of the day. Another long run by Belot powered the Blugolds to another scoring drive late in the third. Malueg took a quarterback draw in from nine yards out to put Eau Claire up 28-3.
Conrad Bolz (Jr. – Medford) punched in the final Blugold touchdown of the day with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter to put the finishing touch on a 35-3 win.
Belot led the Blugold offense with 168 yards on 17 carries. Kitzmann hauled in a team-high five catches for 56 yards. Eau Claire outgained Loras 362 yards to 221 on the day. Sam Romanski (Sr. – Wausau/East) and Victor Martinelli (Jr. – Milton) led the Blugold defense with 13 total tackles and two sacks respectively.
The win marks the first at the helm of the Blugolds for Head Coach Wesley Beschorner. Eau Claire will look to improve upon their 1-0 record when they travel to De Pere to take on St. Norbert College next Saturday at 1 p.m. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app from your mobile device.