"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

UMM football taking 2-1 mark to Duluth

Sun-splashed day at Big Cat: Quarterback Derrick Foss, #12 from Hancock, takes a shotgun snap on the day of Cougar Fest. UMM won 28-3. (Photos by B.W.)
Lineman Matt Anderson from Hibbing stops a MacMurray ballcarrier during the Cougars' opener win.
Leandro Dower, #34, carries the ball for UMM in the 28-3 win that marked the start of the season. Dower is a product of North High School.

The UMM football team has been involved in some high-scoring action thus far in the 2011 season. The Cougars have a road game set for week #4, a game they'll enter with a 2-1 record (2-0 in league).
They'll make the trip to Duluth Saturday (9/24). There they'll vie with St. Scholastica. The winner will own first place in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC).
The Cougars are coming off the only loss they've been dealt to date. This was one of those high-scoring affairs. The outcome was a 42-20 loss to Wisconsin Lutheran at Big Cat Stadium. Prior to that the Cougars won twice, over Martin Luther 44-40 on September 10, and over MacMurray 28-3 on September 3.
The opener vs. MacMurray was for Cougar Fest. Big Cat Stadium was bathed in sunshine. The fan turnout was substantial as yours truly (B.W.) could appreciate from the east sideline.
UMM's defense slammed the door almost completely. The offense rolled for nearly 400 yards with 290 coming on the ground. Todd Gramenz and Leandro Dower each carried for over 100 yards.
The Highlanders of MacMurray were held to 80 rushing yards among 133 total.
It was Dower who began UMM's scoring for the new season in exciting fashion, breaking loose off-tackle for a 45-yard run. Gramenz would score two TDs.
The passing game was showcased for the Cougars' final score: Derrick Foss, whose prep football was in Stevens County with Hancock, passed to William Paine for six.
UMM arrived at 28 points on the afternoon and could feel satisfaction. MacMurray - is the school named after Fred? - was forced to punt eight times.
The Cougars' wildest game to date was against Martin Luther in New Ulm. Their defense wasn't exactly stiff on this day as they gave up 40 points. But their own point-scoring was prolific to say the least. The deciding score came on a 15-yard pass reception by Danny Kernan with 3:22 remaining.
University of Minnesota-Morris finished the afternoon with 44 points and the win.
Gramenz scored twice with his second putting the Cougars up 38-34. But neither team would sit comfortably with an ample point total on this afternoon. The offensive units worked fast and furiously.
Brandon Foss, like Derrick a former Hancock Owl, was a busy and successful receiver, doing his part to help the UMM offense keep pace and eventually prevail. Brandon had four catches all for touchdowns and amassed 153 receiving yards.
UMM's offense covered 422 total yards.
Derrick Foss shared the passing work with Tallahassee, FL, product Daniel Garrigan. Foss completed six of 13 attempts for 139 yards and two scores. Garrigan's numbers were six of 12 for 175 yards and three scores. Kernan finished with three catches for 78 yards.
Linebacker Tanner Gramm, yet another product of Hancock, helped lead the Cougar 'D'. So did fellow linebacker Cody Hickman, a former Morris Area Tiger. Mitch Zimmer who operates from "the trenches" - he's a lineman - produced eleven tackles.
The Cougars returned to Big Cat this past Saturday, 9/17, hoping to stay unbeaten, but it wasn't to be against Wisconsin Lutheran. UMM got another lesson in how the defense is going to have to bear down more. The Cougars gave up 569 yards of total offense in the 42-20 setback.
Of that total, 402 were amassed by the foe in the forgettable first half.
There were third down woes on offense as UMM converted a mere three of 14. Also woeful from UMM's standpoint was the foe's 8.4 yards-per-play average.
The University of Minnesota-Morris 2011 Homecoming game is set for October 1 when Northwestern will be the foe at 1 p.m. Big Cat Stadium is sure to be packed for the festive event.

Meanwhile at the main 'U'. . .
Now it's seizures "plural."
I recently wrote a post less upbeat than most about coach Jerry Kill's health issues and how they figure in with U of M Gopher football. My post sought to look beyond the wave of human sympathy felt in the wake of his severe seizure suffered at TCF Bank Stadium in the New Mexico State game.
I argued that human sympathy was a given. I felt the central questions went beyond that, to whether Kill's hiring had truly been a sound move given the background.
Was Tim Brewster such a disaster that we have to gush about what follows? There seems to be an impulse to do that. Beating Miami of Ohio doesn't make everything right.
Now we learn coach Kill has had multiple seizures over a period of days. We are talking about 20 or so seizures over six days, in Kill's own estimation.
How can this not be a distraction? He was removed on a stretcher in the New Mexico State game. We feel sympathy but this is not the kind of episode fans want to think about when they take their seats for fall football.
Kill spent five days in the hospital. Doctors are working on adjusting his medication.
Let's look at a wider picture: The sports media have changed. In a previous time the big city scribes would have taken an approach more like mine. I suspect the pressure on the newspaper business makes these writers far less inclined to pursue angles that might be deemed negative or depressing.
This stance will be tested if the Gophers start being taken to the woodshed by Big 10 teams. First, though, "our beloved rodents" have a possible creampuff on the slate in the form of NDSU - at least there was a time when NDSU would have been considered a creampuff - and this game is set for Saturday, 9/24, at TCF Bank Stadium.
Brewster's Gophers lost to the Bison. I still remember the radio announcer describing an NDSU runningback "outrunning the Gophers secondary" for a touchdown. Cue the "Twilight Zone" music.
Kill said Tuesday he's "OK but tired." He'll be going up against Big 10 coaches who aren't encumbered.
Only if the Gophers surpass expectations can the talk about Kill's health stay relatively in the background.
We'll see.

And, let's take a look at St. Cloud State. . .
I could have rolled my eyes watching the evening news out of the Twin Cities Tuesday night. The more some things change, the more they stay the same.
St. Cloud State University has been trying to turn over a new leaf. So determined is SCSU President Earl H. Potter III to put a dagger in the school's less admirable side - the image of frivolity - Homecoming is cancelled there.
But Potter's wishes are being defied and thwarted in that central Minnesota city. I could have seen this coming: a faux Homecoming.
I thought students might loosely and informally organize this. But now, of all things, it's the "downtown bars" exercising the defiance. Don't those business owners know how important St. Cloud State is for the city's economy? If Potter feels strongly about tweaking the school's image, why can't they be respectful and cooperate?
I almost sensed a smirk in the news anchor's face as she reported this, as if she were thinking "there's no hope for St. Cloud State."
The guilty party here is the St. Cloud Hospitality Association. We're in euphemism country here. We all like "hospitality," right? But the "unofficial Homecoming" being put forward by this group is just an attempt to keep tradition going, a tradition with dubious PR ramifications for the school.
St. Cloud State has replaced its defunct Homecoming with four "Celebrate! St. Cloud State" events. I wish them well with that. Really I just wish everyone there could get on the same page.
Thumbs-down on the bars.
The new "faux" Homecoming is set for October 8 when the SCSU football team will host Mankato State at 1 p.m. I haven't attended an SCSU football game since 2006 when I found the single game ticket price to be ridiculous.
My alma mater can't seem to shake its fun-loving reputation. It will be a long slog and perhaps futile.
Our UMM has no such PR issues, not that we've never had PR issues.
"Go Cougars" and "go Gophers" for this coming Saturday!
As for the Vikings, they're appropriately at the end of this post, and I think we can suggest now they're in the running in the Andrew Luck derby. Lots of luck.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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