Pioneers look to bounce back in Eau Claire

Pioneers look to bounce back in Eau Claire

The game: The University of Wisconsin-Platteville looks to bounce back from its first loss of the year when the Pioneers travel to UW-Eau Claire to face the Blugolds Saturday at 1 p.m. in Carson Park.

The records: UW-Platteville is 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while UW-Eau Claire is 1-5, 0-3.

The rankings: UW-Platteville is ranked ninth in the American Football Coaches Association poll and 10th in the latest rankings. UW-Eau Claire is unranked. (Note: AFCA poll was not updated as of Wednesday morning.)

The coaches: Mike Emendorfer is UW-Platteville's all-time winningest coach, compiling a 95-93 record in his 19th season. He has taken the Pioneers to their only two NCAA III playoff berths in school history, in 2013 and 2016. Emendorfer is the WIAC's active leader in victories. Dan Larson is in his second year of rebuilding the UW-Eau Claire program. The former Blugold all-conference player is the 16th head coach in school history and has a 3-13 mark.

The Pioneers: UW-Platteville has started the year with a 5-1 record, a remarkable accomplishment given the competition:

  • All three non-conference opponents sit atop their respective conferences
  • Every opponent is currently .500 or better
  • Three teams are, or have been, ranked in the top 25 in both the AFCA and d3football rankings
  • Take away the games against the Pioneers, and the cumulative record of the first six opponents is 22-6

The Pioneers slugged it out with third-ranked UW Oshkosh Saturday before falling 28-14. UW-Platteville was stopped three times in the red zone by the Titans in a defensive battle.

The Pioneers' defense held the Titans 17 points below their league-leading average and scored UW-Platteville's first touchdown, a 47-yard interception return by Luke Johnson. Chandler Crary's 17-tackle effort elevated him to fifth in the WIAC with 40 total tackles.

Mark Johnson, the WIAC's leading receiving with 50 catches and five touchdowns, scored the Pioneers' other TD on a three-yard run.

The Blugolds: UW-Eau Claire is in year two of its rebuilding phase under Coach Dan Larson. The Blugolds are 1-1 at Carson Park this season, with a 34-20 victory over Wisconsin Lutheran under their belts.

Scott Porter made his first start at quarterback in Saturday's 26-3 setback at UW-Stevens Point. J.T. DenHartog played in the first five contests and has thrown for 536 yards and two scores while running for 277 and five touchdowns.

Ross Curran spearheads the UWEC defense with 28 solo and 39 total tackles (eighth in WIAC), while teammate Drew Hurley is 12th in the league with 34 tackles.

Per Game Averages


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The Next Game:
UW-Platteville returns home to play UW-La Crosse on Oct. 28 at 1 p.m.

The WIAC: The WIAC weekly release is now available.


Preview by Paul Erickson, Director, UW-Platteville Communications, 608.342.1194,