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Blugolds, Blue Devils ready for non-conference season openers at home

Eau Claire, Menomonie (WQOW) — The wait is finally over, both the UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout football teams open their seasons on Saturday. The Blugolds will host Loras in non-conference at Carson Park, while the Blue Devils will welcome in third-ranked Saint John’s.

For the second straight season UW-Eau Claire will open with Loras, a team that they handled 45-13 in 2018. The Blugolds are coming off an off-season of change though, as Wesley Beschorner makes his debut as head coach. And although he wasn’t around to see last season’s victory in week one, Beschorner knows that’s the same intensity his team needs to bring.

“What we did, the Blugolds did, last year I wasn’t a part of that, but just seeing what they came out with a lot of excitement, a lot of pride and passion, and played really hard,” says Beschorner. “So that’s something that we want to emulate when we’re playing. Do your job, stay in your lane, do the little things right, and be detail orientated. I think if we do that, we’re going to give ourselves the best chance to win. Are we always going to win? No, but that’s the plan. We want to always win, but your going to put your best foot forward and give your best chance to win.”

UW-Stout will be challenged right away at home, taking on the third-ranked team in the country. Last year the Blue Devils were shut-out 27-0 to the Johnnies, but they have a lot of confidence heading into 2019. They’re coming off the programs best two-year stretch since 2011, and aren’t scared to open with a nationally ranked team.

“I like it, give yourself a test right away. I don’t think it scares our players, third-ranked,” says head coach Clayt Birmingham. “We play a lot of ranked teams in our conference. We can play with anybody if we just come out and do our things, and be consistent and execute.”

“Our goal is always to knock off one of the top-five teams in the nation,” senior safety Jed Schlegel says. “I believe Whitewater is probably up there, Saint Johns is up there, so if we knock off one or both of them it’s looking good for us.

The Blugolds host Loras Saturday afternoon at 1:10, while the Blue Devils kick-off with Saint John’s at 1:00 p.m.

Collin Talbert

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