Last weekend, University of Maine football head coach Jack Cosgrove said he expected his players to respond to their loss the way opponent Boston College had.
“I would suspect that we would react how BC reacted this weekend, coming in ready to play a football game and hungry for a win,” Cosgrove said. “That’s what I expect from our guys next week.”
At Bryant University on Saturday, Cosgrove’s team responded with a vengeance, steamrolling a Bulldogs team that is in its first year of Division I eligibility by a final score of 51-7.
The Black Bears had a monster day on the ground, rushing for 352 yards. Two UMaine running backs broke the 100-yard rushing mark, with junior Rickey Stevens and sophomore David Hood gaining 168 yards on 17 carries and 102 yards on 14 carries, respectively. Stevens averaged 9.9 yards per carry, while Hood scored two touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Derrick Johnson lead the Black Bears with three catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, while senior wide receiver Maurice McDonald pulled in five passes for 50 yards.
UMaine scored a touchdown on their first possession of the day, when junior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski ran one in from six yards out to give the Black Bears a 7-0 lead. There was not one pass attempted on this drive, as Hood did the majority of the work. The Black Bears’ first pass attempt was not made until 3:42 to play in the first quarter.
On Bryant’s ensuing possession, junior quarterback Mike Westerhaus had his pass picked off by UMaine sophomore defensive back Khar Al-Mateen, and it was returned 77 yards for a touchdown. This gave UMaine a 14-0 lead.
UMaine’s first drive of the second quarter was once again dominated by the running game. After a 29-yard punt by Bryant, UMaine received the ball on the Bulldogs’ 35-yard line. Stevens, Hood and Wasilewski combined to run for all 35 yards to the end zone, the last two yards run by Hood to give him his first touchdown run of the day. The touchdown run extended the Black Bear lead to 21-0.
On their next possession, Stevens busted open for a 46-yard run on the drive, helping set up Hood’s second touchdown run of the day. Hood scored from 1 yard out to put UMaine up 28-0.
After UMaine senior kicker Bryan Harvey put one through the uprights from 23 yards out to give the Black Bears a 31-0 halftime lead, UMaine wasted no time extending its lead after half time. Wasilewski completed a pass to Johnson on the first play of the third quarter, and Johnson ran 75 yards to score a touchdown, extending the UMaine lead 38-0.
On UMaine’s next drive, Hood fumbled the ball on the Black Bear 35-yard line, giving Bryant a chance to get on the scoreboard. However, junior defensive back Kendall James intercepted a ball thrown by Bryant senior running back Jordan Brown and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. This return put the Black Bears up 45-0.
Later in the quarter, UMaine redshirt freshman Isaiah Jones ran one in from 30 yards out to finish off UMaine’s scoring, putting the Black Bears up 51-0 with 7:50 left to play in the third quarter.
Bryant scored its only points with 6:27 left to play in the fourth quarter, when Westerhaus scored on a one yard run, to make the score 51-7.
Westerhaus finished the game with 84 yards passing, completing 11 out of 25 passes. Bryant’s leading rusher was Brown, gaining 63 yards on 17 carries.
Wasilewski passed for 229 yards and a touchdown, completing 14 of his 20 pass attempts for the Black Bears.
The win improves UMaine’s record to 1-1, while Bryant drops to 0-3. UMaine wraps up its out of conference schedule with their home opener against Albany on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at Alfond Stadium.