A pair of fourth quarter touchdowns sealed the deal as the University of Minnesota, Morris football team overcame two separate fourth quarter deficits to post a 28-24 road win over Presentation Saturday.
The Cougars are not 4-4 overall and 4-3 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC).
Playing the UMAC's newest team, the Cougars found themselves trailing 24-21 late in the fourth quarter before quarterback Dan Garrigan completed the comeback. He gave the Cougars their first lead of the game with his eight-yard touchdown run with just 4:45 left, putting the Cougars up 28-24. The scoring run was the first of Garrigan's career, and capped off a six-play 55-yard drive that took just 2:22.
It was the second touchdown of the quarter for Garrigan, as he hit Devon Johnson on a 34-yard scoring strike at the 12:19 mark to pull the score even at 21-21, finishing off a nine-play, 80-yard drive that started after a failed Saint field-goal attempt.
Morris rode the arms of Garrigan and fellow quarterback Derrick Foss all game, as the two teamed up to throw for 271 yards, the Cougars' third best passing game of the year. It was also the third most passing yards allowed by Presentation this season, as they had given up an average of just 161 in their last three games.
Garrigan finished 6-of-10 for 93 yards and the one score, while Foss went 8-of-17 for 178 yards and two touchdowns.
Foss opened the scoring for the Cougars, hitting Brendon Foss at the 11:16 mark of the first quarter. The four-play, 46-yard drive was an answer to the Saints' opening score, as the two teams started the game with back-to-back touchdowns in the first four minutes. The Cougars, however, missed the point-after attempt, and were left trailing 7-6.
Presentation took the game's first drive 46 yards to go up 7-0, capitalizing on a 39-yard opening kick-off return.
The teams then traded scores in the second quarter, with Derrick Foss hitting Chris Peterson for a five-yard scoring strike, before hitting Brendon Foss for the two-point conversion to tie game at 14-all. Brendon Foss finished with eight grabs for 184 yards, going over 100 yards for the third time and setting a new career high while posting the second best mark in the UMAC this season.
The score stayed knotted up into and out of halftime, until Presentation went back up 21-14 midway through the third quarter.
The Cougars then mounted their fourth-quarter comeback on the backs of a defense which allowed just a field goal, while also gaining a turnover on downs and a fumble as the offense provided the winning points.
The defense was led by Caleb Forstrom who tallied a game- and career-high nine total tackles, including seven solo stops. The Cougars also had six total tackles for loss, including two each from Mitch Zimmer and Jordan Klaphake, with each also adding a sack to their day.
With the success through the air, not to be forgotten was the Cougar ground game, led by Leandro Dower who hit the 100-yard mark for the third straight game with 108, which included 68 in a single drive as the Cougars went down for their second score.
The win is the second straight for the Cougars, as they get back to the .500 mark on the season and go over the .500 mark in UMAC play. With St. Scholastica holding a two-game lead in the conference title race heading into the season's final weeks, the Cougars can still finish the season in second with wins in their final two games and a little help from the rest of the conference.
The Cougars will start that drive next weekend in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, taking on pre-season favorite Greenville on Oct. 29. It will be a 1 p.m. start against the Panthers, who have struggled to live up to expectations, sitting at 4-2 in the UMAC, after winning the last two league titles.