Blugolds football hang tough but fall to Platteville 24-17

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. ( – While the UW-Eau Claire football team took two leads in the first half, 18th-ranked UW-Platteville scored with four seconds remaining the opening half and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way in a 24-17 win at Carson Park today.

The Blugolds got the ball first and took the opening drive 54 yards and into field goal range. Josh Albrecht (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./North) put the Blugolds on the board at 8:28 in the first quarter with a 38-yard field goal.

Platteville scored a touchdown on the following drive to take a 7-3 advantage but midway through the second half, Eau Claire again took the lead by answering with a touchdown. On 4th-and-2, the Blugolds faked a punt and gained 34 yards on a pass from Austin Neu (Sr.-Iron Ridge, Wis./Hustisford) to Nate Piel (Fr.-Wausau, Wis./West) to get a first down. Five plays later, Joel Sweeney (Jr.-Tomah, Wis.) capped the drive with a two-yard run to the end zone and the Blugolds led 10-7.

With two minutes remaining in the half, the Pioneers drove 65 yards and scored a touchdown with just four seconds on the clock before halftime. Platteville then came out in the second half and kicked a field goal in the third quarter and scored a touchdown in the fourth to build a 24-10 lead.

The Blugolds cut the Pioneers' lead to seven when Sweeney again found the end zone with a two-yard run to end a 78-yard drive that lasted just 1:18 and ended with six minutes left to play. The Blugolds had two drives after that, one that stalled on Platteville's 45 and another which ended on an interception.

While Eau Claire held Platteville to just nine rushing yards in the first half, the Pioneers finished the game with 94. The Blugolds had 120 rushing yards with Sweeney leading the way with 68. Neu finished with 200 yards passing going 12-for-24. Platteville's quarterback Bryce Corrigan had 278 passing yards, going 35-for-47. Both quarterbacks threw onc interception each.

On defense, Tyler Janus (Sr.-Sussex, Wis./Hamilton) and Nevin Smith (So.-Edgar, Wis.) led the Blugolds with six tackles apiece. Eric Nieman (Jr.-Evansville, Wis.) intercepted one Platteville pass and Curtis Stypula (Sr.-Webster, Wis./Spooner) sacked the Pioneers' quarterback once.

Eau Claire, which had won two straight coming into the game, falls to 3-5 on the season and 3-2 in the conference. Platteville improves to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in WIAC play. This was the second meeting between the teams this season, the first one being a non-conference game on Sept. 20. The Pioneers won that game 49-19.

The Blugolds will play their final road game of the regular season next weekend when they travel to UW-Whitewater to face the Warhawks. Action gets underway at 3 p.m.

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