RIVER FALLS -- The UW-River Falls football team had all the momentum going into halftime of its home opener against No. 10 Bethel University Saturday, Sept. 14. Unfortunately the Royals didn’t take long to steal it back.
After falling behind 7-0, the Falcons scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter on a pair of long touchdown passes from Ben Beckman -- the first from 37-yards out to Hudson native Alex Herink to cap a 99-yard drive following a goal-line stand by the defense, and the second a 30-yard strike to Brett Wadman to give UWRF a 13-7 lead.
Bethel got a 35-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half to make it a 13-10 game before Royal quarterback Jaren Roste connected with wide receiver Drew Larson for three touchdowns in the third quarter.
Roste found Larson for a 29-yard touchdown on the opening possession of the half to give the Royals a 17-13 lead, but UWRF came right back with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Beckman to Alex Traxler to put the Falcons back on top, 20-17.
A 52-yard bomb from Roste to Larson with 5:25 left in the third gave Bethel the lead for good, 24-20, and Roste and Larson hooked up again from 33-yards out three minutes later to widen the gap to 31-20.
Roste broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to make the final 38-10.
Beckman completed 16 of 40 passes for 258 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also carried the ball nine times for 46 yards while Luke Fugate led the Falcons in rushing with 61 yards on nine attempts, including a 46-yard run to get UWRF out of the shadow of its own goal post on their 99-yard, second quarter scoring drive.
Traxler finished with six catches for 100 yards to lead the Falcon receiving corp while Herink had three catches for 68 yards and Wadman caught three balls for 44.
Somerset High School graduate and former Wisconsin Badger linebacker Max Praschak led the Falcon defense with 13 total tackles, including six solo, while defensive back Calvin Rosen made nine stops.
UWRF, now 1-1, will hit the road for three straight games beginning Saturday, Sept. 21, at Waldorf (Iowa) University. They’ll open WIAC play Saturday, Oct. 5, at UW-Stevens Point and visit UW-Eau Claire Saturday, Oct. 12, before hosting UW-La Crosse for homecoming Saturday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m.