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Cougar football takes practice live

The University of Minnesota, Morris football team got their first taste of game action on Aug. 20 with a "Live Practice" at Big Cat Stadium.

The team practiced for about an hour out on the turf, running about 40 plays. The first series pitted the top offense against the first defense and ended with a one-yard plunge from sophomore running back Leandro Dower into the end zone for the day's first score.

Led by the running of Dower and some crisp passing from junior quarterback Daniel Garrigan, the offense was able to steadily move the ball down the field. The highlight of the drive was a tackle-breaking 25-yard run from Dower to move the ball into the red zone.

The drive was nearly ended just outside the end zone though, as Bryce Molden had a potential pick-six slip through his outstretched hands inside the five-yard line.

On the next drive, the defense was able to force the offense into a three-and-out, resetting the ball. The defense was swarming, stuffing the running game with big hits in the backfield.  

"We were flying around and working as a team," senior defensive back Chase Abfalter said of the defense. "We need to work on our tackling, but overall, I feel like we did good."

Other highlights included a diving 15-yard reception by Brendon Foss and a 50-yard pass-catch-and-run from Derrick Foss to Brandon Mork. Mork also had a nice catch in traffic on the day, bringing in the ball with defenders draped all over him. William Paine also tip-toed the sideline for a touchdown catch from Ted Hoffman.

Dower had a second run of 25 yards on the day, but a blocking penalty downfield negated the play.

"The day was great," Dower said. "All thanks to the line, I can't do anything my line. O-line came out here working hard, all going for the same thing."

The home opener is Saturday against visiting MacMurray with kickoff at 1 p.m. in Big Cat Stadium.