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Football Tops Augsburg In Season Opener
Posted: Saturday, September 13, 2003
EAU CLAIRE - The UW-Eau Claire football team jumped out to a 31-0 lead in the first half and held off Augsburg en route to a 52-20 victory in front of more than 3,000 people here tonight at Carson Park.
The victory marked the third consecutive season opener the Blugolds have won. Eau Claire has also won four straight games against Augsburg, including outscoring the Auggies 126-47 in the last three meetings.
The Blugolds got off to a great start as they took the opening drive 61 yards on six plays to jump to an early lead. Matt Evensen (So.-Junction City/Auburndale) set the tone for the Blugolds at the start as he returned the opening kick 34 yards to give Eau Claire excellent field position. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Nels Fredrickson (Jr.-Burnsville, MN) hooked up with Evensen for a 14 yard gain. The next play saw Brian Mitchell (So.-Carol Stream, IL) run for 19 yards and two plays later he caught a pass from Fredrickson for 17 yards to bring the Blugolds to the Auggies seven yard line. Two plays later Mitchell ran the ball into the end zone for six points just 2:02 into the first quarter. Nick Diciaula (Sr.-Brookfield/Central) sent the extra point attempt through the uprights to make the score 7-0.
On the Blugolds' third possession Eau Claire's ground attack continued as Brian Mitchell took a handoff 25 yards for his second touchdown of the game to make the score 14-0. After an Augsburg punt, the Blugolds put together another solid drive led by a 26 yard run by wide receiver Matt Evensen to end the first quarter. Joe Gast (So.-Wauconia, MN) ran for a seven yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to extend the Blugold lead to 21-0.
After establishing a solid ground game the Blugolds went to quarterback Jeremy Darnell (Jr.-Owen-Withee) who opened up the passing offense as he hooked up with Erik Ferguson (Sr.-Rochester, MN/Dover-Eyota) for a 37 yard touchdown pass on the first play of the drive. Diciaula's kick was good and the Blugolds owned a 28-0 lead. Diciaula hit a 29 yard field goal on the Blugolds next possession to make the advantage 31-0.
Augsburg finally got on the board with 5:37 remaining in the second quarter, taking advantage of an Eau Claire holding penalty and running it into the end zone. The Auggies attempt at a two-point conversion was no good and the score was 31-6. Augsburg forced the Blugolds to punt and again put the ball in the end zone on their next possession to gain the momentum heading into halftime. The two-point conversion was good and at the half the score was 31-14 Eau Claire.
The Auggies made it a game on the first possession of the second half as they scored a touchdown on their third straight possession to make the score 31-20. The Blugolds got back on track late in the third quarter when Fredrickson hooked up with Ferguson for a 35 yard touchdown reception set up by a 33 yard punt return from Derek Sikora (So.-Neillsville). Sikora put the nail in the coffin with 8:33 left in the game when he intercepted an Augsburg pass and returned it 71 yards to give the Blugolds a 45-20 advantage. The Blugolds tacked on a late score to win 52-20.
Joe Gast finished the game as the Blugolds leading rusher, carrying the ball 17 times for 135 yards and a touchdown. Brian Mitchell added six carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Erik Ferguson caught five passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns and Fredrickson finished the game 9-11 with 132 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Austin Crow (Sr.-Woodbury, MN) anchored the Blugold defense with 12 tackles, four for loss, and one sack. Justin Greenwood (Jr.-Park Falls) also played a big role with seven tackles, three for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble.
The Blugolds resume action next Saturday in Collegeville, Minnesota when they take on St. John's. Eau Claire upended the Johnnies 28-21 in overtime last season in Eau Claire.