Blugolds football team unable to stop high-powered Platteville offense

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. ( – In a game that featured 10 touchdowns, all passing, and a combined 76 points, the UW-Eau Claire football team fell to ninth-ranked UW-Platteville 49-27 on the Pioneers' Homecoming at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium today.

While Platteville led a majority of the game, the Blugolds captured leads three times but scored just once in the second half while the Pioneers scored five times in the second half to secure the win.

Down 7-0 in the first quarter, the Blugolds drove 70 yards, ending with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Mark Munger (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) to Cody Gerver (Jr.-Mahtomedi, Minn.) to put the Blugolds on the board. But a missed extra point left the score 7-6. The touchdown pass was the first of Munger's collegiate career.

Eau Claire scored again in the second quarter to take a 13-7 lead. The drive lasted just six plays as Munger hit Alex Plaster (Sr.-Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) with a 63-yard touchdown pass. After Platteville scored again, the Blugolds gained the lead back with Drew Davis (Fr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) scoring on a 12-yard pass from Munger with eight seconds left before halftime. At the half, the Blugolds led 20-14.

The second half saw a number of quick drives. The first was Platteville scoring four plays into the half to take a 21-20 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Clint Larsen (So.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) took the kick 98 yards into the end zone to put the Blugolds back on top (27-21). The kick return for a touchdown was the Blugolds' first since Nov. 11, 1987, the longest in school history (previous long was 97 yards by Mike Zeihen in 1980), and the sixth longest in conference history.

But from there the Pioneers shut down the Blugolds while scoring four more touchdowns. On the drives they found the end zone, they used four plays twice and five plays two other times for a combined 193 yards.

Platteville finished with seven passing touchdowns, tying a school record and second most in WIAC history, with 452 passing yards and 109 rushing yards. The Blugolds had 177 yards passing and 128 rushing yards, 127 of which came from Joel Sweeney (Sr.-Tomah, Wis.).

On defense, Sean Graham (Sr.-Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) led the Blugolds with eight tackles (three solos, five assists). Thurgood Dennis (Jr.-Allouez, Wis./Green Bay Notre Dame) and Roger Steen (Jr.-Luck, Wis.) each recovered fumbles while Cody Taubman (So.-New Richmond, Wis.) forced the fumble that Steen recovered. Dennis' recovery led to the Blugolds' touchdown before the end of the first half.

Eau Claire is now 0-4 on the season and 0-1 in WIAC play while Platteville improves to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference.

The Blugolds will host UW-Stevens Point next weekend for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Carson Park.

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