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Cougars open with big football victory

The University of Minnesota, Morris kicked off the 2009 season with a 49-0 romp over non-conference foe Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, N.D.

This Saturday the Cougars travel to Madison S.D. for a night game against Dakota State. The following week they host their home opener against Westminster College on Sept. 19.

Six Cougars scored touchdowns in the win and all three quarterbacks in the lineup led scoring drives. The defense's performance was just as impressive, holding the Lions to a negative 30 yards rushing for the game and just 85 yards of offense overall.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Cougars marched the field behind sophomore quarterback Ted Hoffman who snuck in from one yard out for the initial touchdown. After that, the rout was on.

With time running out in the second quarter, freshman quarterback Derrick Foss connected with tight end Brady Rose for an 18-yard scoring pass. The Cougars went into halftime leading 12-0.

The Cougars kept momentum in the third quarter. Freshman quarterback Daniel Garrigan found receiver Josh Hiltner in the end zone on a 22-yard pass. A minute and a half later, Hoffman and Rose connected for a second score, this time from 34 yards out.

For the remainder of the game, the Cougars slowed down, keeping the ball on the ground, but it did not slow down the scoring. Fullback Ernest Tucker scampered 55 yards for his first six of the year. Less than two minutes later, Robert Koranda rambled in from nine yards, followed by a 10-yard touchdown run from Jerrod Nohner. A team safety rounded out the scoring in the fourth quarter.

Offensive coordinator Matt Johnson had plenty of praise for his team, on both sides of the ball. Of the defense he said, "I don't care who you're playing. Shutouts are hard to come by. Our defense did an incredible job today."

Johnson also serves as quarterbacks coach and the game made it no easier to pick a starter, which he says, may not be necessary.

"Each of these guys played really well and led scoring drives. Maybe we just keep a three-headed monster at quarterback."

The Cougars racked up 452 yards in total offense with 273 coming on the ground. Tucker led all rushers with 155 yards on 12 carries. Koranda finished the game with 83 yards. Each quarterback had a completion percentage better than 60 percent.

On defense, senior captain and lineman Paul Carlson made a game-high six solo tackles, including a sack, one of four on the day for the Cougars. In all, 16 Cougars recorded tackles for UMM.