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UWRF football: Falcons snap 4-game skid

UW-River Falls wide receiver Jared Monson (7) runs away from UW-Stout's Jed Schlegel for a 63-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of the Falcons' 21-19 homecoming win over UW-Stout Saturday, Oct. 13, at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
UW-River Falls freshman running back Sam Altena of New Richmond (26) leaps over a block by left guard Jared Hunter on his way to a 17-yard gain in the first half of the Falcons' 21-19 homecoming win over UW-Stout Saturday, Oct. 13, at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

It's always good to snap a four-game losing streak. It's even better to do it on homecoming.

That's what the UW-River Falls football team did last week as Ben Beckman threw a pair of touchdown passes and Sam Altena, Anthony Silva and Tyler Blum combined for 210 rushing yards in a 21-19 homecoming victory over UW-Stout.

The win snapped UWRF's four-game losing streak and moved them to 2-4 overall, 1-2 in WIAC play, while Stout slipped to 3-3 and 1-2.

Beckman, fresh off earning WIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors following a 405-yard passing game in a loss at UW-Platteville a week earlier, completed 16-of-27 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the win over Stout.

Beckman found Trenton Monson along the sideline on the Falcons' third possession of the game and Monson outran the Blue Devil defense for a 63-yard catch-and-run that gave the Falcons a 7-3 lead. Stout had gotten on the board first with a 51-yard field goal by Drew Pearson.

Punter Owen Schommer of Prescott pinned the Blue Devils at their one yard line at the beginning of the second quarter, but UW-Stout bounced back with a 99-yard drive that only took about three minutes, ending with a 4-yard pass from Sean Borgerding to Levy Hammer to give the Blue Devils their last lead of the game at 10-7.

A key stop by the UWRF defense on 4th and 1 with about five minutes remaining in the first half sparked a 70-yard drive for the Falcons. Blum accounted for 33 of those yards, including a 13-yard run where he bounced off a Stout defender for a touchdown to put UWRF ahead 14-10.

Pearson cut the lead to one after a 31-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, but Beckman found former Wildcat Alex Herink for 15 yards and ran for 15 more before finding Brett Wadman from 24 yards out for Wadman's first career touchdown to make it a 21-13 game.

The Blue Devils responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive ending with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Borgerding to Parker Fossum late in the third quarter, but Borgerding was stripped of the ball on the two-point try and Mitch Dienger recovered to preserve the Falcons' two-point lead.

The Falcons came up with their biggest stop of the day on 4th-and-6 with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Beckman then faked a handoff and ran for a 28-yard gain on third down to seal the Falcons' third homecoming victory in four years.

Altena came up just short of 100 rushing yards with 97 yards on 22 carries while Silva had 65 yards on 12 attempts and Blum added 52 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Monson was UWRF's leading receiver with six catches for 102 yards and a score.

Antoin Kealoha was the leading tackler for UWRF with 10, while Dienger and Max Praschak were close behind with nine.

Next up for the Falcons is a road game at conference-leading UW-Whitewater (5-0, 3-0) this Saturday, Oct. 20.

Bob Burrows

Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.

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