Playing at home has been good for the University of Minnesota Morris Cougar football team. UMM, which has six home games this season, went 3-1 at home at Big Cat Stadium in 2018 and are 11-7 over the last four seasons while playing at home.
"Big Cat has been a good home field for us over the past few years. The players have done a great job executing at Big Cat,” UMM head coach Marty Hoffmann said. “Our fans and students have also helped with the 3-1 record last year at home. I'm looking for that to continue with the 6 home game schedule this season. We need to continue making Big Cat a difficult place for visiting teams. Our fans make a difference."
The Cougars recruited, and landed, a lot of new talent, Hoffmann said.
“Bringing in 32 new guys was a big thing for us to really start to be able to establish some depth and competition,” Hoffmann said. “Everyone’s excited and there’s a lot of energy. I’ve been really pleased with our effort and how the guys are running around and having fun.”
Justin Masloski returns as a senior quarterback and two-year starter. He completed 46.6 percent of his passes last season for 1,599 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also ran for a team high 451 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
“Justin is poised to have a great senior year and will help lead the team as a 2019 captain,” Hoffmann said.
Marcos Luna was second on the team in tackles last season with 73. He also had four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries to go with 3.5 sacks.
“Marcos is a very disruptive player on defense. He has a nose for the ball and makes big plays,” Hoffmann said.
Joe Loija and Drew Shipley were also named 2019 captains. Loija led the Cougars in tackles with 84 last season. He also had three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Shipley was named Second Team All-UMAC last season as a special teams ace. He averaged 37.4 yards per punt with a long of 62 yards. Shipley also had 68 tackles, four pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries last season.a
The Cougars open the regular season against the University of Wisconsin River Falls at 6 p.m. Sept. 7, at Big Cat Stadium in Morris.
The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference released the preseason coaches poll Tuesday, Aug. 20 and UMM was picked to finish seventh out of nine UMAC teams.
2019 UMAC Football Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Martin Luther – 61 points (6 First Place Votes)
2. Northwestern – 54 points (2 First Place Votes)
3. MacMurray – 49 points
4. St. Scholastica – 47 points (1 First Place Votes)
5. Westminster – 35 points
6. Greenville – 29 points
7. Minnesota Morris – 22 points
8. Iowa Wesleyan – 17 points
9. Crown – 10 points
University of Minnesota Morris
Marty Hoffmann | 2nd Season |
3-5 UMAC, 3-7 | T-5th |
Top Returners Offense
Justin Masloski, Sr., QB | Offensive Player of the Week (11/12/18) | 2,050 total yards of offense, 1,599 passing yards, 13 touchdown passes |
Branden Carlson, So., WR | 482 receiving yards, six touchdown catches, 48.2 receiving yards per game |
Nathan Sheridan, Sr., WR |42 receptions, 373 receiving yards, two touchdown catches
Top Returners Defense/Special Teams
Drew Shipley, Sr., LB | 2018 Second Team All-Conference, Defensive Player of the Week & Special Teams Player of the Week (9/3/18) | 68 total tackles, five tackles for loss, one interception |
Cole Kvistero, Sr., DB |Nine total tackles, one pass deflection, one fumble recovery |
Carter Wattenhofer, Jr., DL | Defensive Player of the Week (9/24/18)| 51 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss |