For Immediate Release
Sept. 25, 2010
Minnesota-Morris Holds Off Eureka, 47-29
EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College junior strong safety Mike Minehan (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./McKendree) recorded a career-high 24 tackles and racked up 186 return yards, but Upper Midwest Athletic Conference leader Minnesota-Morris used a 19-point third quarter surge to spoil the Red Devils’ homecoming game with a 47-29 UMAC victory, Saturday afternoon at McKinzie Field.
The Cougars (3-1, 3-0 UMAC) delivered the first score of the game on a broken play midway through the first quarter. Facing fourth down at the Eureka 31-yard line, sophomore quarterback Derrick Foss scrambled away from pressure to his left before firing a pass along the Minesota-Morris sideline. Minehan deflected the pass, allowing junior running back Todd Gramez to snag the deflection and run into the end zone untouched for a 31-yard score and a 7-0 lead with 8:26 remaining in the opening quarter.
Eureka (0-4, 0-1 UMAC) needed only one play from scrimmage to tie the game. Sophomore quarterback Sam Durley (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S.) found junior wide receiver Wes Schmidgall (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S./Culver-Stockton) with a skinny post over the middle, allowing Schmidgall to outrun the Minnesota-Morris secondary to the end zone for a 65-yard strike to tie the game at 7-7.
After trading four possessions midway through the second quarter, the Cougars were poised to regain the lead after a 33-yard pass from backup quarterback Daniel Garrigan to John Russow set up first-and-goal at the Eureka 2-yard line. After back-to-back run plays proved unsuccessful, the Cougars called timeout to set up their third down play from the 6-yard line. On the ensuing play, Minehan breezed through the line untouched to sack Garrigan, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Eureka sophomore lineman Craig Wilson (Flanagan, Ill./Flanagan H.S.) at the 13-yard line to end the threat.
Following the dramatic defensive stand, the visitors forced Eureka to go three-and-out on the ensuing series and regained a 14-7 lead following a quarterback sneak from Foss on third-and-goal with 4:53 left before halftime. The 1-yard plunge capped a six-play, 48-yard drive. The Cougars made it 21-7 on their next possession when Foss found Daniel Camacho wide open in the corner of the end zone for a 22-yard catch-and-throw with 1:20 left in the half.
Minehan returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards, giving the Red Devils excellent field position before halftime. A 32-yard strike from Durley to senior wideout Dillon Reed (Illiopolis, Ill./Sangamon Valley H.S.) followed by an 18-yard completion to junior tight end Alex Hess (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) pushed the Red Devils all the way to the Minnesota-Morris 4-yard line. After a defensive pass interference call and an inside handoff to Hess was stopped at the 1-yard line, sophomore kicker Travis Huber (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.) calmly converted a 22-yard field goal at the gun, his first of the season and seventh of his career, to make the halftime score 21-10 in favor of the visitors.
Eureka closed the gap again on its first possession of the second half when freshman running back Zach Burwell (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) scored his first career touchdown on a 6-yard run, capping a six-play, 47-yard drive to bring the Red Devils within a possession at 21-17. The Red Devils almost forced a three-and-out on the Cougars’ ensuing series, but Foss found John Russow for a 52-yard completion on third-and-12 to extend the possession. Two plays later, Foss found Russow again with a 32-yard touchdown throw and the Cougars were in front, 27-17.
The Red Devils were unable to pick up a first down on their next two possessions, allowing Minnesota-Morris to build a 40-17 lead behind a 13-yard touchdown pass from Foss to brother Brendon Foss and a 68-yard touchdown run by Gramenz with 5:23 left in the third quarter.
Eureka backup quarterback Jordan Krone (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S./Greenville) ignited the Red Devils’ next scoring drive, completing four passes on the series for 61 yards before scoring on a 1-yard plunge to make the score 40-23 with 13:09 left in regulation.
Following a Minnesota-Morris three-and-out, Krone found Schmidgall with a 45-yard completion on the first play of the drive to set the stage for freshman running back Corey Dawson (Farmington, Ill./Farmington H.S.), who scored his first career touchdown on a 20-yard run around the outside to make the score 40-29 with 10:55 left.
The late surge proved to be too little, too late for the Red Devils, as the Cougars put the game away with an eight-play, 72-yard scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter. Gramenz scored his third touchdown of the game on a 24-yard run with 6:29 left, pushing the Cougars in front 47-29.
Durley and Krone combined to throw for 312 yards, the best passing performance by the Red Devils since a 505-yard effort against Crown on Nov. 7, 2009. Durley threw for a career-high 196 yards, while Krone’s 116 yards were also a career-best. Schmidgall made six catches for 156 yards, while Reed snagged six balls for 103 yards to give Eureka two 100-yard receivers in the same game for the first time since a 63-44 win at MacMurray on Oct. 24, 2009. The 156-yard day for Schmidgall was the sixth-highest total for a UMAC player this season.
On the defensive side, 10 of Minehan’s 24 tackles were solo stops, including the sack of Garrigan in the second quarter. Freshman linebacker Jacob Carls (El Paso, Ill./El Paso-Gridley H.S.) made 14 total tackles, while sophomore defensive end Seth Zehr (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) gave the Red Devils three players in double-digit tackles with 11.
The Red Devils will have a bye week next Saturday, the first in-season off-week for a Eureka football team since the 2005 season. Eureka will return to action at UMAC foe Westminster on Saturday, Oct. 9. Kickoff in Fulton, Mo. is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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