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Football Downs Bethel In 2009 Opener
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - With three touchdown passes, the UW-Eau Claire football team defeated Bethel University (Tenn.) 21-7 to open the 2009 season under the lights at Carson Park tonight.
The Blugolds, who played Bethel for only the second time in school history tonight, improved their all-time record against the Wildcats to 2-0.
Similar to last season's meeting against the Wildcats, the Blugolds scored twice in the first quarter. This year they put 14 points on the board with two touchdowns as opposed to the four they put up last season in the first quarter on two safeties.
To kick off scoring, the Blugolds marched down the field on the game's opening drive and Kyle Paulson (Sr.-Amery, Wis.) connected with Brett Schreiner (Sr.-Somerset, Wis.) after nine plays to go up 6-0. Spencer Jacobson (Fr.-Platteville, Wis.) added the extra point to make the score 7-0.
The Blugolds once again found the end zone on their next drive, this time with Paulson connecting with Cory Sartorelli (Sr.-Appleton, Wis.) on a 44-yard pass.
While Eau Claire held the lead much of the first half, Bethel would not go away and cut the lead in half with just over a minute reamaining before halftime. After a hard-fought drive that lasted 17 plays and encompassed 73 yards, Alex Matlock took the ball to the end zone with a one-yard run. Sean Fraser made the extra point to make the score 14-7.
Both teams battled back and forth in the third period but Paulson found David Goodman (So.-Neenah, Wis.), who scored his first collegiate touchdown last season against the Wildcats, in the fourth on a 24-yard touchdown pass. After a Jacobson PAT, the Blugolds were back up 21-7.
The Blugolds out gained the Wildcats tonight with 358 yards of total offense compared to Bethel's 176. Eau Claire used a balanced attack and finished with 186 rushing and 172 passing yards. Bethel finished with 99 yards on the ground and 77 in the air.
Sartorelli produced his first 100-yard game of the season as he finished with 107 on 27 rushes to lead Eau Claire. Paulson added 51 yards on the ground and finished with 172 passing with 13 completions on 18 attempts. Goodman led the way for the Blugolds in receiving with 62 yards on three catches.
Bethel's Cordarius Mann finished with 55 yards rushing on 16 attempts while Josh Boyd had 42 with 12 attempts. Troy Watson recorded all 77 passing yards with 10 completions and 21 attempts. Lavendor Jeffreys finished with 31 receiving yards and five catches.
On the defensive side of the ball, Bryant Dorsey (Sr.-De Pere, Wis.) led Eau Claire with six tackles, including two for a loss. Andy Neumann (So.-Germantown, Wis.) recorded one sack for a loss of nine yards and total of five tackles.
William Henry finished with nine tackles to lead Bethel while Wade Vandergriff recorded eight.
Next weekend the Blugolds take to the road for a match-up against St. John's University (Minn.). The last time the Blugolds played the Johnnies was in their opening game of 2006. Eau Claire came away with a 15-11 loss. Kickoff this weekend in Collegeville, Minn. is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.