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Blugold Football Takes Down Titans 28-7
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2004
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The 17th-ranked UW-Eau Claire football team avoided a let down following last week's big 30-28 win over St. John's by defeating Illinois Wesleyan in their first ever meeting 28-7 here today at Wilder Field.
The win improves the Blugolds to 2-0 on the year. The win also gives Eau Claire a three-game winning streak overall and on the road dating back to last year.
Eau Claire jumped out to an early lead taking the game's opening possession 78 yards spanning 8:32. The drive featured Joe Gast (Jr.-Waconia, MN) who carried the ball seven times for 37 yards. Gast capped off the 17-play drive with a three-yard plunge to give the Blugolds the early 7-0 lead.
After exchanging punts, the Blugold defense got into the action. Nose tackle Ryan Kolumbus (Jr.-Rice Lake) took his first collegiate interception back the other way 21 yards to give Eau Claire a 14-0 lead.
The Titans answered the interception return with an 11-play drive spanning 82 yards highlighted by a 39-yard completion from Steve Lucas to Tim Snyder. Lucas and Snyder capped off the drive with a 6-yard scoring strike to bring Illinois Wesleyan to within a touchdown.
The Blugolds responded to the Titan scoring drive with one of their own. Nels Fredrickson (Sr.-Burnsville) and the receiving corps led this drive with 62 of the 65 yards coming through the air. Fredrickson went 5 for 5 on the drive completing all five passes to different receivers. Eau Claire would go up 21-7 when Fredrickson hooked up with Matt Evensen (Jr.-Junction City/Auburndale) for a 31-yard touchdown strike with 2:20 left in the opening half.
The Titans and Blugolds exchanged punts to open the second half before Illinois Wesleyan drove deep into Eau Claire territory. The Titans' Rick Alvis fumbled on the Blugold two-yard line and Dan Rogney (So.-Auburndale) recovered in the end zone to keep the game at 21-7.
Starting at the 20-yard line, the Eau Claire wasted no time increasing the lead. Following three Gast runs for 17 yards, Fredrickson hooked up with Tony Hull (Fr.-Blaine, MN/Spring Lake Park) for 20 yards and Evensen for 42 to put the Blugolds on the Titans' one-yard line. Gast finished off the drive with his second touchdown run of the day to put Eau Claire up 28-7.
The Blugolds wouldn't let a repeat of last week happen as they held off any Titan comeback. Illinois Wesleyan would venture into Eau Claire territory four more times but couldn't come away with any points.
Illinois Wesleyan led in many statistical categories with more yards through the air and more yards total 375-304. The Eau Claire defense bent but didn't break forcing three interceptions and a fumble while the offense didn't turn the ball over once.
Fredrickson completed 20 of 30 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown while Gast ran 17 times for 74 yards and the two scores. Don Kahl (Sr.-Brookfield/East) led in receptions with seven for 41 yards while Evensen led in yards with 95 on four catches and a score.
Derek Sikora (Jr.-Neillsville) led Eau Claire in tackles with 11 with Jared Roeker (Jr.-Mauston) adding nine. Kolumbus, Johnny Klicka (Jr.-Wild Rose), and Shaggy Murphy (So.-Eleva/Eau Claire Regis) each had an interception while Marc Moonen (Fr.-Caledonia/Martin Luther) had the only Blugold sack.
Eau Claire will be off next week and will be back in action with their home opener against UW-Whitewater September 25 at Carson Park. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m.
- JL -