Sep 19, 2017

Game Preview: Bruins Host Blugolds On Homecoming Weekend

A Winning Tradition

 
  • One post-season appearance (1960 Crusader Bowl)
  • 20 All-NWC Athletes 
  • 6 NWC Student-Athlete of the Week Awards 
  • 2 D3Football.com Team of the Week (Justin Leatherman, 2014; Lenana Meekisho, 2015)
  • 1 D3Football.com All-West Region Team (Nolan Schuler, 2016)
  • 2 NSCA All-American (Justin Kruse, 2015; Dane Jensen, 2017)
  • 2 NFL Draft Picks 
 

By Alex Plusquellec

NEWBERG, Ore. --- A new week brings a new opponent to Newberg as the Bruins look to build on last weekend's victory over No. 21 Redlands in what was a defensive slugfest.

The Bruins welcome in Wisconsin-Eau Claire Saturday, Sept. 23, marking the first meeting between the two schools. Both the Bruins and the Blugolds sit at 1-1 on the season after the two teams notched wins after falling to ranked opponents in week one.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire kicked off its season with a tough matchup against then-No. 5 St. Thomas, falling 47-13. The Blugolds rebounded in week two against Wisconsin Lutheran, winning comfortably 34-20. Eau Claire enjoyed an extra week of preparation for the Bruins thanks to a bye last weekend.

Through two games the Bruins defense has held their opponents to an average of 122 yards on the ground, but the Blugolds will look to challenge the defensive front. Against Wisconsin Lutheran, Eau Claire relied heavily on their running attack, racking up 213 yards behind junior quarterback JT DenHartog's 91 yards on 16 carries and three scores.

DenHartog has proved to be a true dual threat and will test the Bruins through the air as well. After struggling in week one, DenHartog found a groove against Wisconsin Lutheran completing 18-of-31 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown. Through two games he has found nine different receivers.

Defensively the Blugolds three leading tacklers all come from the secondary, a unit that has averaged giving up 170 yards through two games. The Blugolds also allow 170 yards rushing, which may allow for Grant Schroeder and company to find big play opportunities.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire is in their second year under head coach Dan Larson. A UW-Eau Claire alum, Larson was a three-year starter for the Blugolds before beginning his coaching career at Marietta College in Ohio. Before returning to his alma mater, Larson spent time as the offensive coordinator at Macalester College as well as Div. II Minnesota-Duluth. Larson went 2-8 in his first year at the helm of the Blugolds.