Justin Dade – UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team fell to the No. 5 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans 48-13 on Saturday at Carson Park in their final game of the season on senior day.
The Blugolds took on their third straight ranked opponent in the WIAC in this one and struggled on defense against the fifth-ranked Titans.
After a Blugolds' three and out to start the game, the Titans took the ball 60 yards on their opening drive and found the end zone on a 9-yard run from Dylan Hecker to give UW-Oshkosh a 7-0 lead with 8:49 left to play in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing kick-off, the Blugolds got a big return from receiver Matt Knapp (Sr. – Eau Claire, WI) all the way to the Titans' 40-yard line.
The Blugolds drove all the way down to the Titans' five-yard line before a Titans' interception on 4th and 3 that was returned into UW-Eau Claire territory.
UW-Oshkosh would strike on the very next play on a touchdown pass from Brett Kasper to Cody Moon to make it 13-0 with 1:47 left in the quarter after a failed point after attempt.
The ensuing kick-off was fumbled by Knapp and was returned for a touchdown by Matt Rucynski to make it a quick 20-0 UW-Oshkosh lead with 1:38 left in the first.
The Blugolds started with good field position again on another good return from Knapp to start the second quarter.
On third down, quarterback JT DenHartog (So. – Hopkins, MN) threw deep intended for tight end Nathan Claflin (Jr. – De Pere, WI) when the ball deflected off Claflin's hands right into the arms of Knapp as the senior receiver took it all the way to the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown on an incredible display of effort.
Knapp's highlight-reel play was good for his eighth touchdown of the year to make it 20-6 with 13:30 left in the half.
The Blugolds were looking to make if a one possession game driving late in the half before DenHartog was intercepted on third down with 1:35 left.
The Titans took advantage of the turnover and found the end zone just before the end of the first half on a three-yard touchdown run from Hecker with 22 seconds left to give UW-Oshkosh a 27-6 lead into the locker room.
After the Blugolds' defense forced a Titans' punt that pinned UW-Eau Claire deep on their first possession of the half, the exchange from DenHartog to running back Gerald Childs (Jr. – Milwaukee, WI) on the first play of the drive from the one-yard line was mishandled and was recovered by the Titans in the end zone.
The defensive score made it a 34-6 lead for the Titans with 12:12 left in the third quarter.
UW-Oshkosh added another touchdown on their next possession on an 83-yard touchdown run from Hecker to make it 41-6 with 8:49 left in the third quarter.
After the Titans tacked on another touchdown, the Blugolds found the end zone with eight minutes left in the game on a one-yard touchdown run from DenHartog to make it 48-13.
UW-Eau Claire was able to move the ball on their following possessions, but were unable to cut into the Titans' lead any further.
Knapp will finish the season with a team leading 37 receptions for 642 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Blugolds will finish their 2016 season with a 2-8 record as they look forward to Dan Larson's second year as head coach with high hopes.
Follow the action for all sports this season on Blugold Game Day.