"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, November 10, 2011

UMM achieves winning mark in UMAC play

Derrick Foss puts up a pass in the October 1 game at Big Cat Stadium. (Photo by B.W.)

The UMM Cougars' November 5 game at Big Cat Stadium was a "crowning achievement." It was the finale for 2011 and it had Crown College, the Storm, as the opponent. A win would put the Cougars at .500 for the season (overall).
The home fans enjoyed a 21-14 win. It ended in a dramatic way with UMM mounting a goal line stand.
Crown got a last-gasp chance to at least tie the score due to a turnover. A fumble was recovered by the Storm's Adam Helvie, allowing the Storm's offense to go to work with two minutes left - ample time.
The UMM fans who were gathered on this windy day endured stress as the Storm executed 15 plays - wow! - aiming to exploit that turnover. They came within a hair's breadth. The official put the ball down at the one yard line.
En route the Storm had to convert on two fourth downs, one of them requiring ten yards to get the first. Crown had a 14-yard gain to overcome fourth and ten. Was this an irresistible force?
Finally, with the ball at the one, we'd all find out if Crown's clawing away would be rewarded with the score. A whole series of downs awaited. Crown spiked the ball on first down. Bryce Molden of the Cougars broke up a pass on second down. The clock shows two seconds left.
Crown's fortunes would ride with Amos Schmidt, tailback, who was handed the football. Caleb Forstrom and Shane Johnson made the stop. It was logical for Schmidt to get the ball - maybe too logical? He had carried the ball 24 times previously for 104 yards. Keying on him made sense.
Forstrom and Johnson made sure there'd be no overtime or sudden loss. It was a climactic and exciting way for the 13 UMM seniors to see their career come to a close. UMM finishes the 2011 season above .500 in the UMAC.
Crown led first in this game and then UMM answered with a Garrett Mensing four-yard scoring scamper. Dan Garrigan, the signal-caller coping with the wind factor, passed to Brendon Foss on the conversion. So UMM is up 8-7.
Later, Foss was on the receiving end for six points on a 14-yard hookup from Garrigan. The Cougars led 15-7 at halftime.
Foss finished the day with four catches for 39 yards, and his eleven TD catches on the season left him one shy of the season record.
Garrigan was efficient passing, completing six of his nine attempts for 62 yards vs. the wind.
Leandro Dower, who is a regular cog in UMM's offense, had the unfortunate fumble that allowed Crown to make its last-ditch bid. Dower scored on a 62-yard run early in the third quarter. It was his sixth TD of the season. On the day he eclipsed 100 yards again, the fifth time this season he has done so.
He charged forward with the football 22 times. He's sort of a barometer of UMM success, as the team went 4-1 on the days he rushed for a hundred-plus.
Forstrom came to the fore with UMM's defense, posting a career-best 12 tackles (six solos). Cody Hickman came through with a career best 19 tackles. Hickman's season total: 106. Forstrom's: 77.
UMM's final league record: 5-4.

Win on 10/22
Part of that surge was the 28-24 win over Presentation on October 22. Battling in Aberdeen, SD, the Cougars were down 24-21 late and needing some clutch success.
Florida product Garrigan carried the ball into the end zone from the eight. Now UMM had its first lead of the game. The time remaining: 4:45. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Garrigan connected with Hibbing product Devon Johnson on a 34-yard TD pass, completing an 80-yard drive.
Garrigan and Derrick Foss shared the quarterbacking duties. Together they passed for a hefty 271 yards. Garrigan completed six of ten attempts and Foss posted eight of 17 numbers. The Foss brothers of Hancock - Derrick and Brendon - combined to produce UMM's first touchdown in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Derrick pass to Chris Peterson (from Fertile, MN) for a five-yard touchdown. The Foss brothers showed their chemistry again on the two-point conversion, getting the score tied 14-all. Brendon Foss finished the day with eight catches for 184 yards.
Forstrom showed punch in the UMM defense, accumulating nine tackles (seven solos).
Dower was formidable carrying the football, posting his third straight game over 100 yards. He rushed for 68 yards in one drive.

10/15 home success
The October 15 assignment for UMM was to play Eureka here. Playing their most complete game of the year, the Cougars built a 28-0 lead at halftime and went on to win 40-7.
The Red Devils were no match for the Cougars. Minneapolis product Dower broke loose for a 48-yard touchdown run to get UMM going. The momentum picked up in the second quarter, decisively, as UMM scored 22 points in the quarter. The Cougars struck for six on three straight drives.
Derrick Foss plunged into the end zone from the two. Derrick passed to Brendon for 16 yards and a score. Garrett Mensing found lots of daylight on a 40-yard scoring run. Indeed there were lots of chances for the UMM crowd to cheer in robust fashion, cheers that for sure could be heard back at the campus mall.
Dower rushed for 134 yards on the day. Mensing's rushing yardage totalled 104.
Derrick Foss rolled up 177 passing yards. Brendon Foss had five pass receptions for 91 yards and a score.
The Cougar 'D' was stubborn, allowing a mere 76 rushing yards. Red Devil quarterback Sam Durley was held to 16-of-40 passing numbers plus an interception. Hickman did much to thwart the Red Devils, posting ten tackles (four solos) and forcing a fumble.
Six different Cougars scored including Danny Kernan whose pass-catching was showcased on a 50-yard TD in the third quarter. Derrick put the ball up on that crowd-pleaser.
Dustin Spohn scored on a nine-yard run late in the fourth.

Dome appearance on 10/29
The Cougars had the privilege of playing in the Metrodome, Minneapolis, on October 29, but were humbled at the hands of Greenville. UMM stayed in this one for a while, getting the score tied 7-7 but in the end it was Greenville winning 59-14.
Dower had his streak of 100-yard rushing games stopped, as on this day his total was 58. He made his presence felt with scoring runs.
Freshman Hickman had a tackle for loss of 12 yards and six solo stops. He posted a career-best 17 tackles. Shane Johnson had two interceptions.
UMM fans can tuck away lots of special memories from the 2011 campaign which had cooperative weather (best that can be expected, even with some wind) for the home games.
Click on the link below to read about the Cougars' games #4 through #6 in the 2011 season:

Click on the link below to read about the Cougars' first three games of 2011:

Yours truly has enjoyed putting together summary material and taking some photos throughout the exciting 2011 fall.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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