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Cougars score early, often in 59-13 win over Lions

The University of Minnesota, Morris football team put a cap on the home season in a big way Thursday night, winning 59-13 over Trinity Bible at Big Cat Stadium.

The win snaps the Cougars out from their recent two-game losing skid. The 59 points scored and 13 points allowed each represent season bests for the Cougars.

The game began with a 79-yard kick return for a touchdown by two-time Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, Daniel Camacho. By halftime the Cougars led 28-7.

As the Cougar offense clicked for seven touchdowns and eight total scores, the defense was equally as impressive collecting four take-aways, three turnovers on downs, and eight forced punts as part of their best effort of the season. At one point in the first half, the Cougars forced the Lions into six consecutive punts, with just one of those drives making it past 10 yards.

Things were balanced for the Cougars all night. The first five touchdowns were scored by five different players, including the first of the season from Robert Koranda and Nate Holleman. Koranda scored the first of his two touchdowns late in the first half, while Holleman opened the scoring back up in the third quarter with his 13-yard touchdown reception.

After Trinity Bible scored to make it 35-13 early in third quarter, the Cougars closed the night with four more scores. In all eight different players factored into the scoring, and even more impressive 10 different players recorded a reception and six different players carried the ball at least one time.

On the defensive side, seven different players had six or more tackles, led by Mitch Zimmer and Zach Miller who each had nine. Zimmer added three tackles for a loss, part of 11 total stops behind the line of scrimmage for the UMM defense.

Playing in their final game at Big Cat Stadium, the Cougars' seniors were honored before kickoff to start the night, and stepped up to lead the way to the win. Senior Josh Ledin came up with one of the Cougars' three interceptions, while fellow senior Nate Lund recovered a fumble and tacked on a pair of pass break-ups to his final box score.

Behind Miller and Zimmer, senior Adam Gertken had eight total tackles, including a tackle for loss.

Now at 5-4, the Cougars will travel to St. Bonifacious to take on Crown in the season finale. The Cougars and Storm boast identical 4-2 league records, with their match-up on Nov. 13 being for a solo spot at second in the league standings.

Other seniors playing their last game at Big Cat Stadium were Wyatt Nolan, Matt Privatsky, John Russow, Matt Vogel, and James Watkins.