LA CROSSE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville football team was edged late in the fourth quarter and fell 28-35 to the UW-La Crosse Eagles on the road in Roger Harring Stadium.
Junior Brett Geisz made his Pioneer starting debut with an impressive day completing 28 of 34 attempts for 318 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Geisz also led the rushing game with 21 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Senior wide receiver Tim Jansen tallied up the Pioneers' receiving yards with 10 receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown. Geisz also found freshman Ke'Von Johnson for 12 completions for 101 yards and a Pioneer touchdown.
On defense, junior Tyler Reinhardt led the charge with two interceptions on the day against UW-La Crosse's Ben Schramski who finished 12 of 24 attempts for 212 yards and two interceptions. Junior Travis Hofslien stacked up a team high seven tackles with sophomore Erik Siedenburg right behind with six.
UW-La Crosse took a quick and early 14-0 lead with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Schramski to Jake Simuncak on the third pass of the day, quickly followed by a blocked Pioneer punt that was returned to the end zone with 13:35 left in the first quarter.
Shaking off the two quick fire plays, the Pioneers cut the deficit in half with a 14 play, 72-yard drive that concluded with Geisz finding Johnson for an 11-yard touchdown with 5:23 remaining in the quarter. The Eagles extended their lead once more with a 32-yard reception when Schramski connected with Cole Spieker to set UW-La Crosse up 21-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Pioneers made it a seven-point game and went 85 yards in a 14-play drive with sophomore Donald Allender on the receiving end from Geisz for a 13-yard touchdown with 6:35 left in the half. Reinhardt forced his first turnover of the day when he picked off Schramski at the Eagle's own 48-yardline and just three plays later Geisz ran into the end zone to tie the game and send the teams into the half tied 21-21.
It was deja vue all over for the Eagles at the start of the second half when Reinhardt intercepted Schramski again at UW-La Crosse's own 42-yard line with 11:36 left in the third quarter. The very next play, Geisz found Jansen down field for a 42-yard touchdown and the Pioneers took the lead for the first time of the day 28-21.
After the Eagles tied it up 28-28 with a 1-yard pass to Spieker, the Pioneers looked to take the lead for the second time of the day on 4th and 7. Samuel Herkert lined up and missed a 25-yard attempt and turned the ball over to the Eagles with 8:49 left in the game. Later, a pair of Zachary Zillmer sacks against Geisz forced the Pioneers' Connor Foley to punt on 4th and 17 with 4:41 remaining. This time, the Eagles were successful and took a 35-28 lead with a Schramski 7-yard touchdown pass with 2:57 remaining in the game.
UW-La Crosse's 53 yard kickoff was returned 48 yards by Johnson to the Eagles' 40-yardline. Geisz was sacked twice more to force the Pioneers back to 4th and 21 from their own 49-yardline. The Pioneers' hard fought comeback from the Eagles' early lead came to an end when Noah Schoeber intercepted Geisz with just 1:35 remaining in the game.
Overall, the Pioneers totaled 422 yards with 318 passing and 104 rushing compared to the Eagles' 317 yards with 212 passing and 105 rushing. UW-Platteville went 10 of 17 on third-down while holding the time of possession 39:25 over the UW-La Crosse's 20:35.
The Pioneers drop to 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) while the Eagles improve to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the league.
The Pioneers hit the road again next week when they travel to UW-Stout on Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. in Don and Nona Williams Stadium.