LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) -

The season didn't go as planned for UW-La Crosse. Neither did the game against rival UW-Eau Claire.

"It was a classic WIAC slugfest," Eagles senior quarterback Andy Sires said. "It was back and forth."

With Trent Cummings recovering from a ribs injury, Sires made his final collegiate start. The Houston, Minn. native, who was benched in favor of Cummings earlier this season, savored the moment.

"[I was] happy that today was my chance and I was able to close out my career," he said. "There ain't a better place to be than here in La Crosse."

Sires threw for 142 yards and a touchdown, as the Eagles took a 21-17 lead in the third quarter. However, Blugolds quarterback Joel Newman hit Nate Piel for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth.

"Their team has really talented players," UW-L Head Coach Joel Dettwiler said.

The Eagles' loss is somewhat symbolic of their season. After starting the year 0-5, La Crosse won three straight, beating Stout, Stevens Point and River Falls. However, they ended the year with two losses: at Platteville and home against Eau Claire.

"We have great kids," Dettwiler said. "We went to 0-5, that's a pretty dark place. But the kids really fought hard, so that's probably what I'm going to take from this year, is the ability to have the character to rise up from a bad situation. We could worry about the beginning of the season but I think what's most important is where we've ended up."

"I know I'm better because I came here," Sires said. "Both on the field, off the field, and as a person, and I think the coaches made me the best I can be."

UW-La Crosse finishes the season with a 3-7 record (3-4 WIAC).