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Cougars Fall in Home Opener to Carleton

MORRIS, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Morris football team fell behind early to Carleton College on Saturday and could never make up the gap, falling to the Knights by a score of 50-13 in the home opener to the 2021 season for the Cougars.

Carleton wasted little time in jumping out on top as Minnesota Morris received the opening kickoff but then fumbled on its first play from scrimmage. Taking over on the Cougar 28, the Knights scored in three plays to take a 6-0 lead with just over a minute elapsed. Mondo Calderon kept the deficit at six as he blocked the first of two extra points on the day.

The Cougars looked better the rest of the quarter, but the team was losing the field position battle and Carleton was able to convert that edge into a field goal later in the first quarter to go up, 9-0. Before the first quarter ended, Marcus Reeb was intercepted near midfield and the Knights would score on a seven-yard touchdown run from Beau Nelson to make it 16-0.

Carleton opened the second quarter with touchdowns on its first two possessions to increase the lead to 30-0. Minnesota Morris then broke through with its opening touchdown as Reeb hit Branden Carlson for a 45-yard score. Alex Happ converted the point after to make it 30-7. The Knights answered back in the final minute before halftime with a 12-yard touchdown pass, though Calderon again blocked the extra point, making the score 36-7 at the break.

After rushing for a touchdown in the second quarter, Carleton’s Oryon Hamlin pounded two more in from near the goal line to extend Carleton’s lead to 50-7 in the third quarter.

In the final minutes of the game, Minnesota Morris was able to tack on one final score. A big 43-yard completion from Cody Stone to Garrett Elison put the Cougars in business in the Carleton red zone. The drive had stalled and UMN Morris brought on the field goal unit, but a blocked kick was recovered by Carlson and then converted into a first down on the return. Given new life inside the Carleton 10, the Cougars scored on a two-yard pass from Stone to Cameron Whitney.

Reeb ended the day 14-of-27 for 121 yards and a touchdown through the air, as well as 14 carries for 71 yards on the ground. Stone went 4-of-7 for 64 yards and a score. Carlson led the receiving corps with five receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. The defense was paced by the 12 tackles of Ryan Bouley (five solo) and Hunter Infanger (four solo), as well as eight solo tackles from Tayven Penninger.

Minnesota Morris stays at home for another non-conference game next week, hosting Hamline University on Sept. 18 at 1 p.m.

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