Cougars fall to top-ranked offense on Dome Day
In the annual Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Metrodome Classic Saturday, the University of Minnesota, Morris team football couldn't keep up with Greenville's top-ranked offense.
The loss snaps the Cougars' two-game winning streak and drops them to .500 in conference play with one game left in the season. The Cougars are now 4-5 overall and 4-4 in the UMAC.
The Cougars will close out the season this weekend at home in Big Stadium looking for their fifth win for the second straight season. A win would give the Cougars back-to-back five-win campaigns for the first time since the 2003 and 2004 seasons, as well as their second consecutive winning season in UMAC play.
When Morris hosts Crown on Nov. 4, it will be the two team's first meeting since the 2009 season, as last year's match-up was cancelled due to a blizzard on the final Saturday of the season. Kickoff on Saturday in Big Cat Stadium is set for 1 p.m.
The Cougars got within seven late in the first half, but that would be as close as it got as Greenville closed the game with 38 straight points for a 59-14 win.
After the Panthers opened the scoring with an eight-play, 82-yard drive, the Cougars came right back with a 13-play jaunt of their own to tie the game at 7-7, and it appeared that the shootout was on.
Short drives on the Cougars' next two possessions, however, led to the Panthers leading 21-7 late in the second quarter. Leandro Dower then ran in his second touchdown of the day to pull the Cougars back within one score with under four minutes to play before the break.
The Cougars were unable to hold the Panthers off the board in the final minutes however, as they went up 28-14 with under two minutes left, taking a two-score lead into the locker rooms.
The two-time defending UMAC Champions looked every bit the part, piling up 425 rushing yards on their way to 531 yards of total offense. Greenville scored 31 unanswered points in the second, capping the Cougars' rough day with a 56-yard fumble return touchdown for their final score with just 1:38 left to play.
After three straight games with better than 330 yards of offense, the Cougars were held to just 220. Their passing game that put up 271 yards in last week's win, was held to just 104 yards, while their rushing game was pinned in for 116 yards.
Dower saw his streak of three straight games over 100 yards rushing come to an end with 58, but he did find the endzone twice for the first time in his career.
Cody Hickman had a career day as the freshman continues to lead the defense, finishing with a career-high 17 total tackles, including one tackle for a loss of 12 yards and six solo stops. Caleb Forstrom and Ross Kigner each had 12 tackles, with Tanner Gramm posting 2.5, half of the Cougars' nine tackles for loss, their second best mark of the year.
Mitch Zimmer also added a sack for the second straight game, moving into the team lead on the season.
Shane Johnson picked off a pair of Greenville passes, with the second halting a seven-minute Panther drive that was knocking on the door of the redzone in the third quarter