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Falcons come up short last week, play Homecoming against Oshkosh Saturday

Bob Burrows photo.

The UW-River Falls football team turned the ball over on downs four times in the fourth quarter and lost another ball on a fumble in a 20-9 nonconference loss to UW-Stout Saturday night at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field.

The game was the first night game for the Falcons at Ramer Field since 2006.

UWRF had its opportunities late in the game but were unable to sustain a drive. The Falcons had the ball inside the Stout 20-yard line twice in the fourth quarter but were unable to come away with any points. UWRF's only scoring of the second half came on a safety on a blocked punt after the Falcons had turned the ball over on downs at the Blue Devil 4 yard-line.

The Falcon defense had a good night, creating three turnovers including interceptions by Alex Adams and Caleb Mandoza. Brandon Boe fell on a loose ball in the second quarter which led the Falcons' first scoring drive.

Following the fumble recovery, the Falcons took just three plays to find the end zone. John Schimenz scored on a 13-yard run up the middle for his first touchdown since 2010 to give the Falcons a 7-3 lead.

Trailing 13-7 in the fourth quarter, the Falcons marched deep into Stout territory before a failed fourth-and-three attempt handed the ball over on downs, killing the Falcon threat at the 16-yard-line.

A quick stop by the defense allowed the momentum to swing back in the Falcons' favor. However, it was short-lived as Blue Devils took the ball back on the very next play on a fumble by Falcon quarterback Ryan Kusilek. Two plays later Stout scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass to increase its lead to 20-7.

The Falcons had a few more chances, as Robbie Flom took the ensuing kickoff into Stout territory with a career-long 45 yard return. Kusilek drove the Falcons inside the Blue Devil 30 before a pair of incomplete passes stalled another drive.

Linebacker Jacob Mandoza picked off a screen pass on the following drive to keep the Falcons hopes alive. Kusilek led the hurry-up offense and carried the Falcons inside the five-yard-line before being stopped on four straight plays to end another threat in the red zone.

The UWRF defense forced Stout to punt from its own 11 and sophomore Jordan Christianson came off the end to block the punt, which rolled through the back of the end zone for a safety that made the score 20-9 with 4:05 remaining in the game.

The Falcons took the free kick at their own 39 but managed just six yards before turning the ball over on downs and Stout ran out the clock for the victory.

Kusilek was 22-for-40 passing on the day for 193 yards. Nathan Brandt was on the receiving end of eight of those passes for 79 yards, including a 36-yarder in the third quarter. Schimenz was the Falcons' leading rusher with 26 yards in four carries.

Mandoza led the Falcon defense with 11 tackles, a sack, and 1.5 stops behind the line. Adams, Lincoln Bjorklund, and David Scaro had eight stops apiece in the loss while Nate Smits contributed six.

The Blue Devils dominated time of possession in the game, controlling the ball for 38 minutes, 16 seconds compared to 21:44 for UWRF. The Falcons were just 2-of-13 on third down and 0-of-4 on fourth down.

The loss drops the Falcons to 0-3 as they lost their 13th consecutive game at Ramer Field. UWRF will be back at home this Saturday, Sept. 29, for the annual Homecoming game against UW-Oshkosh at 2 p.m.

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