Unfortunately for the Eagles, history didn't repeat itself.
Last season, UW-La Crosse upset then-6th ranked North Central on the road, the Cardinals first home loss since 2007. Saturday, the 6th ranked Cardinals returned the favor. North Central beat the Eagles 41-24, handing UW-L its second loss in as many games to begin the season.
"We're not where we want to be," said senior quarterback Andy Sires, who went 14-25, throwing for 145 yards and two touchdowns. "No one comes into the season saying, oh, if we go 0-2 the first two games, we'll be OK."
UW-La Crosse scored on its first possession to take an early 7-0 lead, as Sires hit Chris Stackhouse in the corner of the end zone. The Cardinals responded with 14 unanswered points.
"At the end of the first half, we looked like a circus out there," said UW-L Head Coach Joel Dettwiler.
Down 21-10 in the third quarter, UW-L's Andrew Walsh recovered a North Central fumble and took it 53 yards for the score to make it 21-17. However, the Cardinals pulled away after that. North Central quarterback Spencer Stanek finished the game 26-35, 330 yards and a touchdown.
"Without being to philosophical, we need to figure out, why are we not able to make plays? Why is it acceptable to not make a play out there? And it isn't like it's every play, and it's not entirely [the players] fault," Dettwiler said. "I'll shoulder the blame as much as [the players] because I think we got out-coached. Their offense was no-huddle today and I think they did some things to us scheme-wise that we didn't adjust to very well."
UW-La Crosse heads to Div. II Missouri S&T next Saturday, then hosts UW-Whitewater after a bye-week.
"I'm not going to hit the mercy button because we're 0-2," Dettwiler said. "Does it look bleak? Yeah, for sure. But we've got eight games to play."
"The first two games don't make or break your season," Sires said.