It was another blood bath for the University of Maine (5-3) Black Bears football team, who won 35-28 over William and Mary (3-5) on Saturday afternoon, their fifth consecutive victory within 7 points. This game brings William and Mary to 1-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), while Maine moves to 4-1 in the CAA.
Fourth-year quarterback Dan Collins and the offense sprinted up the field on the second possession of the game as they marched 94 yards on five plays in just as little as 1:42. Collins found second-year receiver Micah Wright on a 26-yard dart to cap off the beautiful drive and put Maine on top 7-0.
Later in the first quarter, first-year running back Josh Mack took a shovel pass from Collins and darted 43 yards to get Maine in great field position. It led to a 1-yard touchdown run by third-year running back Zaire Williams. Maine’s kicker unfortunately missed the kick, so the Black Bears led 13-0 heading into the second quarter.
William and Mary cut into the deficit when fourth-year quarterback Steve Cluley found third-year wide receiver DeVonte Dedmon on an 18-yard score with 14:23 remaining in the first half.
Mack then answered the call by doing what he’s done all season and plugged in his fifth touchdown of the season from 4 yards out. Maine had to make up for the missed field goal and went for the two-point conversion in which they ended up converting to regain a 14-point lead at 21-7 with 8:00 remaining in the first half.
Three minutes later, the Black Bears struck yet again as Collins found one his new favorite targets in first-year wide receiver Earnest Edwards with 5:22 remaining in the first half and the game looked all but a over.
However, William and Mary would not go down without a fight. Fourth-year running back Kendell Anderson scampered for a 23-yard run that kept them in the game with 2:49 remaining in the half.
It was the Black Bears in front 28-14 heading into the first half, but William and Mary came out of the gates hot in the second half. It was Anderson again on his second house call of the game, this time from 23 yards out. Maine’s lead was decimated to just seven points.
Luckily for Maine, they have Wright on their team. Wright made a highlight real punt return for his second score of the game from 67 yards out where his explosiveness was on full display and he couldn’t be tamed by the William and Mary special teams. Wright’s touchdown proved to be the game-winning score of the contest and ultimately helped secure the victory. Yet again, Maine regained a 14-point lead.
Cluley marched William and Mary down the field in the end of the third quarter to the Maine 4-yard line before he called his own number and scrambled into the endzone for a rushing touchdown. The lead was back down to seven points heading into the fourth quarter.
There was no scoring the rest of the way and the Black Bears squeaked away 35-28 for their fifth win in a row.
The Maine defense was phenomenal all game long as they forced three turnovers, making that eight in the past two games. Second-year linebacker Sterling Sheffield had eight tackles and a forced fumble. Third-year defensive back Jason Matovu recorded a game-high nine tackles.
Maine looks to keep the momentum alive when they return back home Saturday, Nov. 5 for a contest against Villanova. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Alfond Stadium. William and Mary will go on to play Stonybrook on Saturday, Nov. 5 in Stony Brook, N.Y. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.