The War on I-94 trophy will return to Menomonie as UW-Stout soundly defeated UW-Eau Claire, 55-7, Saturday at Carson Park.
The win is Stout’s third consecutive win over the Blugolds, and the 55 points is also the most points Stout has scored against Eau Claire in the 100-year rivalry that dates back to 1917 when Stout won, 49-0.
Running back Keyshawn Carpenter and quarterback Jay Alston each scored twice running the ball. Carpenter had a career-night carrying the ball, running 11 times for 97 yards and the two scores. Alston, who also connected on 10-of-21 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns, finished the night running for 77 yards on six carries, which included a 48-yard TD run with about two minutes remaining in the first half.
Stout (5-2, 3-2 WIAC) got on the board first when Alston hit Kevion McDonald for a 52-yard pass play at 12:59, and took a 14-0 lead on Carpenter’s first score of the night, a three yard scamper at 7:57 of the first stanza.
Eau Claire (1-7, 0-5 WIAC) would get what would prove to be their only score of the night when quarterback JT DenHartog scored from three yards out at 4:42 of the first.
Stout quickly countered. Alston hit Akema Collins for a pair of 27-yard pass plays, taking the ball to the Eau Claire 18. Carpenter scored his second TD of the night, going up the middle for an 18-yard score and a 20-7 Stout lead at 12:48 of the second.
Michael Pierson took advantage of a Blugold miscue. Eau Claire’s Darious Jones pulled in a pass, but coughed up the ball when hit by Luke Wilz. Pierson snatched up the ball and streaked 15 yards for his first collegiate touchdown at 10:54. The Blue Devils held Eau Claire on four downs and took over on the Eau Claire 48. On the next play, Alston broke loose and scored from 48 yards out with 2:04 left in the first half and Stout took a 34-7 lead into the intermission.
The Blue Devil defense stopped Eau Claire on fourth down on the Blugolds’ first drive of the half and turned that into more points moments later. From the Eau Claire 26, Carpenter ran to the 12 and Alston carried the ball in on the next play as Stout led 41-7 at 12:08 of the third period.
Stout stopped Eau Claire on fourth down on their next drive at the Stout 33. Alston ran for 26 yards on first down, Carpenter ran for three yards and Alston connected for 28 yards with Josh Malone to the Eau Claire 10. Three plays later, Alston four Collins for a score and Stout led 48-7 with 4:23 left in third period.
Stout would score once more when Lucian Coutier rumbled 47 yards to paydirt at 9:32 of the fourth.
Eau Claire put up a productive drive, getting to the Stout 4 late in the game. DenHartog was tagged with a four-yard loss on third down, then was sacked for an 11-yard loss by Jason Dilly and Logan Peterson to the Stout 19 with 21 seconds left on the clock.
Stout rolled up 433 yards of total offense, their second 400-plus game of the season and a season-high. Stout rushed for 222 yards and gained 211 yards through the air. Stout scored on all four of their trips into the red zone.
Carpenter (97 yards) and Alston (77 yards) led Stout on the ground, with Coutier finishing with 47 yards. Collins pulled in four passes for 86 yards and McDonald had 76 yards on three receptions.
The Blugolds were held to 250 total yards by the WIAC’s top defense. DenHartog rushed 22 times for 65 yards and completed 23-of-35 passes for 151 yards. He was sacked twice. The Blugolds were held to 99 rushing yards.
The Stout defense stopped Eau Claire on fourth down five of seven times. Eau Claire was able to convert on third down only four of 18 times.
Wilz finished the night with nine tackles, eight solo, and the fumble forced. Jared Allen came off the bench to record a career-best seven tackles, five solo, including a tackle for loss. Pierson had six tackles and two pass breakups, bringing his season total to 12, matching his career-best from 2015, and the most since Eric Moe recorded 14 in 2003.
Stout will be at UW-La Crosse, Saturday, Nov. 4 for a 1 p.m. start. The Blue Devils will close the regular season, Saturday, Nov. 11, when they host UW-Oshkosh.