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Cougars lose football opener

The University of Minnesota,  Morris fell behind early against Hamline and despite a late rally the Cougars dropped the 2013 opener 41-33. Caleb McLaren threw for 331 yards and five touchdowns in his first college start. Brendon Foss had three touchdown catches.

Hamline struck first scoring on a nine-yard pass with 8:48 left in the first quarter. The Pipers added a touchdown early in the second quarter and then another midway through the second to take a 21-6 lead. McLaren found Antwar Ashley with 1:18 left in the first for a 28-yard TD putting UMM on the board. The extra point was blocked and then Hamline picked up another TD just before half taking a 28-6 lead into the break.

Through the first half the Cougars were held to just 114 yards and turned the ball over once. Hamline had 305 yards in the first half as the game had all the looks of a blowout.

In the third quarter Hamline extended their lead to 26 with 5:44 left in the quarter. McLaren connected with Foss for a seven-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 left in the quarter to put Morris back on the board. Hamline answered but they missed the extra point and the momentum swung to the Cougars. Minnesota Morris racked up 190 passing yards and scored three touchdowns in the next eight minutes. Foss caught a five-yard pass three minutes after the Hamline score to make it 41-20. After forcing a fumble, a three-play, 70-yard drive ended as Tyler Peterson caught a 73-yard pass from McLaren. With 2:55 left in the game Foss caught a two-yard pass to cut the lead to just eight at 41-33.

Morris had a chance to get the ball back as they had Hamline facing a third down but the Pipers rattled off a 13-yard run to clinch the win.

The Cougars outscored Hamline 27-7 in the final 16+ minutes of game play but it was not enough. Tyler Peterson had 150 receiving yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter alone. After a punt to start the second half the Cougars scored on their next four drives to end the game.

Defensively Cody Hickman led the team with 16 tackles including eight solos. Luke Evans had an interception and nine tackles. Chandler Erickson had eight tackles and a forced fumble. Andrew Marshall had the lone sack for the Cougars.