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Football Comes Away With 44-35 Win at UW-Oshkosh
By: Kevin Meinholz, Sports Information Director
OSHKOSH, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - After getting off to a slow start against UW-Oshkosh, the UW-Eau Claire football team was able to come away with a 44-35 victory at J.J. Keller Field tonight.
Eau Claire and Oshkosh hold the same record on the season at 4-4 overall and 2-3 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Blugolds are now 40-21 all-time against the Titans and have won the last three straight. The 79 points tonight ties for 21st on the Blugolds all-time list for most point combined.
While the Titans jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, the Blugolds cut the lead to just seven by the end of the first quarter. The Blugolds scored with just over three minutes to go in the opening quarter after Cory Sartorelli (Sr.-Appleton, Wis./North) capped off a 69-yard drive with an eight-yard run for a touchdown.
Eau Claire then opened the second quarter with another touchdown to tie the game up at 14-14. The Blugolds saw a swing of momentum after recovering a Titan fumble only a minute and a half into the quarter. It took Eau Claire just two plays to find the end zone with Spencer Kehoe (Sr.-Clear Lake, Wis./Clear Lake) catching a pass from Kyle Paulson (Sr.-Amery, Wis.).
The teams both scored touchdowns on each of their next two drives to make the score 28-26 in favor of Oshkosh before the end of the half. The Blugolds' touchdowns came from a Sartorelli run from two yards out and also a Paulson to David Goodman (So.-Neenah, Wis.) pass for 32 yards.
In the third quarter, Eau Claire took the first drive of the half 65 yards in six plays to the end zone to take its first lead of the game. It was again Paulson to Goodman on a 38-yard pass and following a successful two-point conversion, the Blugolds were up 34-28.
Eau Claire added another score to go up 41-28 in the fourth quarter. The Blugolds blocked a Titan punt and recovered on the Oshkosh seven. It took just three plays for the Blugolds to find the end zone and Paulson once again connected with Goodman for a two-yard touchdown catch. Logan Koerten (So.-Plover, Wis./SPASH) added the extra point.
Oshkosh cut the Blugolds lead to just six with less than four minutes to go after a touchdown but Sartorelli hit a 32-yard field goal on the Blugolds' next drive to make the score 44-35 with just over a minute and a half left on the clock. Oshkosh made a last-ditch effort and got down to the Blugolds' three before the defense came up big and stopped the Oshkosh offense from scoring.
The Blugolds finished with 375 yards of offense, 230 coming through the air and 145 coming on the ground. Oshkosh picked up 169 rushing yards and 358 passing for a total of 527. Each team lost a fumble tonight and Oshkosh threw one interception.
Sartorelli led Eau Claire with 117 rushing yards while Paulson had 213 yards passing, going 17-for-23 with four touchdown passes. Goodman had five receptions for 98 yards while Kehoe had five for 80 yards.
Leading Oshkosh in rushing was Nate Wara, who finished with 64 yards. He also led in passing with 358 yards and three touchdowns coming from 36-for-46 passing. He was sacked five times tonight though. The Titans used 11 different receivers and Jamie Braasch finished with 101 yards on five catches while Juston Wara had eight for 98 yards.
On defense, Kalan Stittleburg (So.-Neillsville, Wis.) led Eau Claire with 11 tackles. Dan Kinsella (So.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) recovered a fumble while Ben Shea (Jr.-Manitowoc, Wis./Lincoln) picked off a pass. In addition to the Blugolds' blocked punt tonight, they also blocked two field goals. Oshkosh's James Taraboi led the game with 15 tackles.
The Blugolds will be at home for the last time this season next Saturday when they face UW-La Crosse. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. The game will be televised live in the Eau Claire-La Crosse region on WQOW TV 18 and WXOW TV 19.