Falcons lose more than just game to Stout
October 30, 2008
With a win over then 11th-ranked UW-Eau Claire, 27-19 on Oct. 18 and a loss to UW-Stout 29-19 on Oct. 25, the UW-River Falls football team is in fourth place in the WIAC standings.
After defeating Eau Claire, the Falcons were in a tie for second place in the conference behind UW-Whitewater, who was undefeated until its loss to UW-Stevens Point, but a poor rushing defense against Stout dropped them back in the middle of the standings.
In the game against Eau Claire, Joel Yogerst scored four touchdowns on five carries. His longest run resulted in a five-yard touchdown, the first touchdown for UWRF.
The score at the half was 7-6, in favor of UWRF.
Late in the third, Yogerst ran in his second score of the game from the one-yard line, but Eau Claire’s Cory Sartorelli ran in his second touchdown of the game from 11 yards out.
UWRF answered right back with Yogerst’s third touchdown of the game from the Eau Claire four.
The Blugolds answered back quickly as Sartorelli punched in his third score of the game, with a 26-yard touchdown run that capped off a four play, 62-yard scoring drive that took less than one minute.
With less than two minutes to play, Yogurst put the game away for good when he scored his fourth and final touchdown of the game, a three-yard run.
“I don’t care what our record is, it was just a big win for our kids and our program,” UWRF Head Coach John O’Grady said of the victory.
Matt Pollock led UWRF with 131 yards rushing with most of those yards setting up Yogerst’s touchdowns.
UWRF had 209 yards rushing for the game and O’Grady said he was happy with the ball control.
“We were able to run the ball against them and I was very proud of that,” he said. “ Matt Pollock had a great game and we controlled the ball all afternoon.”
Michael Zweifel caught five passes for 137 yards, averaging more than 27 yards per catch.
“Nothing he does surprises me anymore,” O’Grady said of Zweifel. “He finds ways to make big plays for us.”
A problem UWRF faced in its game against Stout was that Zweifel did not play a single down.
Zweifel, arguably the conference’s best wide receiver, injured his ribs and pulled a muscle during pregame warmups while turning for a ball and pulled a muscle.
“I tried going after warm-ups but couldn’t do it,” he said. “They have been sore for a couple of weeks, but I must have pulled something in my ribs. I turned for a ball during warm-ups and must have did it then.”
Zweifel stayed on the sidelines most of the first half, went in and got treatment, but was not physically able to play in the second.
“[I] tried to warm it up again after the half but couldn’t go,” he said.
O’Grady alluded to the importance of having Zweifel on the field.
“He’s been nursing his ribs now for a couple of weeks and, for some reason, was unable to go. Obviously it makes a huge difference in your offense when he’s not in there,” he said. “You lose some big play capabilities.”
Mike Woodward did a fine job stepping in for Zweifel as the big play threat for the Falcons. He had five catches for 109 yards, 40 of them coming on a fade route down in the third quarter down the right sidelines. He fought off a Blue Devil defender and ran in the final 20 yards untouched. His touchdown brought UWRF within 10 points.
“Mike [Woodward] played a great game today,” O’Grady said. “I think he plays even better when he’s a compliment to Zweifel.”
Before the game, O’Grady said Stout’s rushing offense is similar to Whitewater’s, who torched the Falcons on the ground a few weeks ago. It was like déjà vu against Stout.
Freshman Craig Warminski had four touchdowns. His longest came late in the third quarter and he broke several tackles which resulted in a 49-yard score.
“They did what they should’ve done against us,” he said. “Just line up and run the ball right at us. They wore us out and we weren’t tackling in the third and fourth quarters.”
UWRF got touchdowns from quarterback Storm Harmon, who ran in a draw from 22 yards and from Yogerst who punched one in late in the fourth from two yards out. It was Yogerst’s eighth rushing score of the season, which leads the Falcons.
Harmon had 194 yards passing making him the Falcons career yards passing leader with 3,615, passing Jerry Trooien, who had 3,528 in the 1967-69 seasons.
However, the Stout defense sacked Harmon five times and forced him to fumble twice.
“They put pressure on us, but we expected it,” he said. “It really hurt us not to have Michael [Zweifel] in the lineup to take that pressure off.”
With the loss, UWRF falls to 3-4 and will play at UW-Platteville on Nov. 1, who is 2-5.