By Colin Marklowitz —
Everything seemed to be going University of Wisconsin–Stout’s way, as the Blue Devils held a 19-7 advantage through three quarters of their season opening matchup against Dakota Wesleyan University on Saturday, Sept. 6. But an offensive explosion in the fourth by the Wesleyan Tigers quickly dashed UW–Stout’s chances, as the Blue Devils fell 23-19.
UW–Stout took a 12-0 lead into halftime, as freshman Tyler Pahl from Hortonville, Wis. connected on field goals of 28 and 34 yards and sophomore running back Adolfo Pacheco from South Elgin, Ill. rumbled for the score from three-yards out.
A 75-yard touchdown to start the third by Tiger’s Francois Barnaud brought Wesleyan right back into the game. Later in the period, Blue Devil’s senior quarterback Hank Kujak of Blair, Wis. found junior tight end Ben Hall, from North Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the end zone to make it a 19-7 game.
At the start of the fourth though, the tide began to swing against the Blue Devils. At around the 12 minute mark, Kujak stumbled and went down in the end zone, resulting in a safety and two points for Wesleyan, making the score 19-9. Kujak sustained a leg injury on the play and did not return to the game.
His replacement, sophomore Aaron Koerner from Colby, Wis., struggled in his first collegiate action at quarterback, going just 1-3 for 15 yards with a pair of interceptions.
A 57-yard touchdown run by Barnaud cut the gap to just three, 19-16, before Dillon Turner found pay dirt from 11-yards out with just 2:18 left in the game to give Dakota Wesleyan a 23-19 advantage.
The Blue Devils defense recorded six sacks on the afternoon, including two by Luke Bakkum, a senior from Oconomowoc, Wis. Pacheco had 57 yards on 22 carries and senior receiver Cody Rosemeyer from Gilman, Wis. had five receptions for 92 yards.
The Blue Devils will return home for a matchup against Loras College Saturday, Sept. 13. Kick-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.