In his second career start, sophomore quarterback Mitch Beau brought the Pointers back from a first half deficit to give the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point a 28-24 victory over conference rival UW-Eau Claire. The win places Point fifth in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings behind UW-Platteville.
The Pointers went into Saturday’s contest surrendering over 150 rushing yards per game, and Eau Claire’s running back tandem took advantage early. After back-to-back Beau interceptions, sophomore Joel Sweeney and senior Matt Olson scored on touchdown runs of 14 yards and 16 yards respectively to give Eau Claire an early 14-0 lead.
Point would answer the Bluegolds’ success by scoring a touchdown in the second quarter on a touchdown pass from Beau to junior wide receiver Marc Young. The score would cut the Eau Claire lead to seven points going into halftime.
Point came out strong and capped off a three-play opening drive with a 38-yard pass from Beau to junior wide receiver Theo Maglio to tie the game at 14.
The Pointers held the Bluegolds scoreless on their next drive, but failed to score as well and were forced to punt.
The punt pinned Eau Claire freshman wide receiver Clint Larsen on his own 17 yard line, but Larsen was able to evade defenders and return the punt for a touchdown. The return was the second longest in team history and gave the Bluegolds back the lead, 21-14.
Point then fumbled the ensuing kickoff which would be recovered by Eau Claire. Eau Claire failed to gain a first down but took advantage of their field position and booted a 32-yard field goal to increase their lead to 10.
The Pointers defense would come around, led by last week’s WIAC defensive player of the week Joe Mlesiva. Point shut out Eau Claire’s offense the rest of the game allowing for Beau and his offense to bring the Pointers back.
Beau ended the third quarter on a 47-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Keith Ingram, which cut the Bluegold lead to 24-21.
After scoreless drives by each team, Beau drove the Pointers down the field where they faced a fourth and one with 15 seconds left in the game. Rather than kick the tying field goal, Head Coach John Miech decided to go for it all. The aggressive call paid off as Beau would run in the ball for the game winning score.
The Pointers’ next game is a road test against the WIAC’s top squad, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.