If they kept records for the number of records set in a single football game, Saturday’s contest between UW-River Falls and UW-La Crosse may have topped them all.
Falcon quarterback Ben Beckman set a pair of school records with 494 passing yards and 547 yards of total offense, and wide receiver Alex Herink of Hudson set a new school mark of 266 receiving yards and came one catch short of the WIAC record for most receptions in a game with 17.
And the Falcons lost.
As good as Beckman was, La Crosse quarterback Evan Lewandowski was even better. Lewandoski threw for a WIAC record 591 yards and nine touchdowns as the Eagles defeated the Falcons 63-49 in a homecoming shootout at UWRF’s David Smith Stadium.
Lewandoski’s nine touchdown passes ties an NCAA Division III single-game record and his five TD passes in the second quarter tied a Division III single-quarter record. The nine touchdown passes also topped the WIAC single-game record of eight set by former Green Bay Packer draft choice Kirk Baumgartner of UW-Stevens Point in 1989.
The 1,293 total yards by the Falcons and Eagles shattered the old UWRF record of 1,047 set by the Falcons and UW-Stout in 2015. The 112 total points broke the old school record of 109 in a UWRF victory over UW-Eau Claire in 2000. And the 49 points is the most scored by the Falcons in a loss, topping the 47 points scored in a three overtime loss to La Crosse in 2009.
The offensive explosion seemed unlikely after a scoreless first quarter, but neither offense could be stopped in the final three quarters.
Lewandoski threw five touchdown passes in the second quarter while UWRF tried to keep pace with Tyler Blum and Luke Fugate scoring on runs of 6 and 2 yards, respectively, sandwiched around a 39-yard touchdown strike from Beckman to Alex Traxler. Still, the Falcons never drew any closer than a touchdown and trailed 35-21 at the break.
The track meet continued in the third quarter with Lewandoski throwing three more scores. The lone Falcon points in the quarter came on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Beckman to Herink and La Crosse led 56-28 with one quarter to play.
Herink caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Beckman to start the fourth quarter and Beckman ran one over from 13 yards out but Lewandoski’s ninth touchdown pass extended La Crosse’s lead to 63-42 with just under seven minutes remaining. Beckman’s fourth touchdown pass of the day, a 14-yard strike to Traxler, made the final 63-49.
La Crosse finished with 682 total yards to UWRF’s 611. In addition to passing for 493 yards Beckman added 54 on the ground to finish with 547 yards of total offense, breaking the old school mark of 501 set by former Wildcat Scott Kusilek in 2014. Kusilek also held the old school record of 405 passing yards set in 2012.
The loss was the fifth straight for the Falcons and leaves them with a record of 1-5 overall, 0-3 in the WIAC, heading into a home game against third-ranked UW-Whitewater this Saturday, Oct. 26, at 1 p.m.