The University of Minnesota, Morris football team had to battle the elements and their opponent at a rainy Big Cat Stadium Saturday where four turnovers sealed the Cougars' fate as they fell 28-7 to St. Scholastica.
Turnovers, as well as offensive struggles, plagued the Cougars all day, and a close game opened up late as a result. Six times UMM had drives that went less than 10 yards with three of those ending in a turnover, killing their chances before they could really even get started.
Yet in the second quarter, the Cougars had a drive that did click and scored with under a minute remaining in the first half to take a 7-7 score into the locker rooms. The score would stay that way for much of the third quarter until the Saints began to capitalize on the Cougar miscues.
St. Scholastica scored three consecutive touchdowns coming off a pair of interceptions and a turnover on downs to end the third quarter and start the fourth. The first of the run came with just two and a half minutes left in the third as they finished off a 12-play, 80-yard drive that began with an interception.
Less than five minutes later, another Cougar interception led to a six-play, 42-yard drive that put the Saints up 21-7.
The Cougar offense began to show life on the ensuing drive as a 28-yard pass from Derrick Foss to Robert Koranda moved them into Saint territory with over 12 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter.
On first down, a Todd Gramenz rush went for three yards, but the next three plays were all passes that fell incomplete, ending the threat. Following a missed connection between Foss and Devon Johnson, the Cougars turned the ball back over on downs.
Foss finished with just 4-of-18 passing, as UMM was only 4-of-20 as a team passing with three interceptions. Their usually strong rushing attack was held to 72 yards on 36 attempts. Coming off a week where he ran for 190 yards, Gramenz was held to 57 yards.
St. Scholastica controlled the clock for much of the day, gaining 176 yards on the ground and holding the ball for nearly 37 minutes.
The Cougars' scoring drive was an eight-play, 69-yard gem that was capped off by a catch on the edge of the end zone by Daniel Camacho.
With two losses now in conference play and just one UMAC game left - at Crown to end the season - the Cougars have made things difficult for themselves in the race for the 2010 UMAC title.
Next week they get a break from conference play, as well as a break from the elements, as they go indoors at Mall of America Field in Minneapolis to take on Macalester. Kickoff on Friday, Oct. 29 is set for 4 p.m.