It was quite a scene at Goerke Park this past Saturday night. In the fourth annual Pink Night, the Pointers wore pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness while hosting the University of Dubuque Spartans.
After a win against Rockford in the season opener, the Pointers were given a bye week, which allowed them two weeks to prepare for this matchup.
Dubuque came into the game with a record of 1-1.
Within the first minute of the game, University of Wisconsin– Stevens Point sophomore, defensive back Zach Vallafskey, intercepted the ball on Dubuque’s 35-yard line.
Senior quarterback Mitch Beau capped off the Pointers first possession of the game with a 13-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Matt Sosinsky.During Dubuque’s second possession of the game, UWSP junior defensive end Jon Pahl raised havoc against the Spartans.
After sacking Dubuque’s quarterback for a 16-yard loss, Pahl forced a fumble, recovered it, and took the football 18-yards to the end zone, putting the Pointers up 14-0.
The Pointers brought the score to 21-0 in the first quarter with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Beau to freshman wide receiver Andre Gooden.
It was a strong first quarter performance by the Pointers.
“Unreal. You couldn’t design it any better,” said UWSP Head Coach Tom Journell.
With the first quarter of the game dominated by the Pointers, they would soon learn that momentum was no longer in their favor.
The Pointers began the second quarter on the wrong foot, failing to convert on fourth down.
On a punt return, the Pointers muffed the punt and the Spartans recovered, leaving them with good field position. This led to Dubuque’s first touchdown of the game.
With a missed field goal and a fumble on the Pointers next two possessions, Dubuque again capitalized on the mistakes to make the game 14-21 at halftime.
At halftime, the game had already gone through a roller coaster of emotions, however, Journell advised his team to stick with a steady pace.
“They couldn’t stop us. We were the only ones that were stopping ourselves, but that happens. We talk about trying to stay at a steady level and you can’t be too high and you can’tbe too low. You try to be in the middle and that was a classic example of that,” Journell said.
The players realized that the game was still theirs to win.
“We just knew we had to do our job. Coaches told us that if we play our game, we’d be able to pull this one out,” Pahl said.
The Pointers went into the second half prepared to keep the steady pace on their side, and that is exactly what happened with their first possession.
UWSP marched the ball 78-yards down the field in nearly eight minutes to begin the third quarter. Topped off with a touchdown run by sophomore Adam Vesterfelt, the Pointers began to find their groove again.
The Spartans offense only took the field for two minutes in the third quarter and threw an interception to UWSP sophomore defensive back Mike Longmeyer on their second possession.
The Pointers finished the third quarter leading 28-14.
UWSP ended the first drive of the fourth quarter with a 33-yard field goal by sophomore Jesse Vervelde.
As if the emotions of the first half were not enough, the Spartans retaliated by scoring touchdowns on back to back possessions to bring them within three points of the Pointers.
After Dubuque failed to recover an onside kick, the Pointers finally put the game away with a final score of 31-28.
The game had many momentum shifts, but the Pointers prevailed and ended up with the win.
“It was a great win tonight. We’ve got a great team,” said Beau.
UWSP will have their hands full this Saturday as they prepare to take on fourth ranked North Central College in Naperville, Illinois at 1 p.m.
“We forget about the last week. We attack every practice hard and come out into the game prepared and ready to go,” said senior linebacker Cody Seibel.
That is the type of mentality that will be needed after coming off an emotional win. Preparing for the fourth ranked team in the nation certainly can be challenging.
“If you want to be a great team, you have to beat a great team. They ranked fourth in the nation and this is a great opportunity,” Journell said.
After the Pink Game, the team gathered for a photo as the Bill Schroeder Circle of Friends Foundation and the Ministry Breast Care Center was presented a check for $46,000. This money was raised through 2013 Eastbay and Team Schirl Pink Game.