On Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, the William & Mary Tribe football team faced off against the University of Maine. The Black Bears controlled most of the game and were able to hold off a late game comeback from the Tribe to win their second game of the year 27-16.
“I’d like to make it a little easier than that at the end there, but we really needed a win,” said head coach Nick Charlton after the game. “It really was a great week of practice. Sunday was a very difficult day for this program. We had some very serious conversations about this program and what we needed to do. And I think [the players] took that and ran with that.”
Coming into the game, the Tribe had the all time series lead in head to head matchups between the two schools by one win. UMaine would be looking to tie the series on Saturday. Before this game, the Tribe was on a four game win streak coming off of a 31-24 victory over the University of Albany.
After being forced to punt on their first drive, UMaine responded when third-year defensive lineman Josh Lezin forced a fumble, which was recovered by fifth-year defensive back Fofie Bazzie. This would set up an 11 play 63-yard drive that would set up a 7-yard touchdown pass from second-year quarterback Derek Robertson to second-year running back Freddie Brock.
After forcing the Tribe to punt the ball again, UMaine took it back down the field highlighted by a 16-yard keeper for Robertson and a 23-yard pass from Robertson to fifth-year receiver Andre Miller to set up a 21-yard field goal from fifth-year kicker Jonny Messina.
The next series for the Tribe ended in another turnover as first-year quarterback Darius Wilson’s pass went in and out of his receivers hands and was intercepted by first-year defensive back Kahzir Brown. Even though UMaine got the turnover, they were not able to do anything with it and were forced to punt the ball back to the Tribe.
On the next drive, UMaine forced the Tribe to punt again but the punt was muffed and the Tribe recovered the punt. The Tribe’s offense was able to move the ball all the way to the 33-yard line, where they fell short and UMaine got the ball back.
Right after that, UMaine was able to methodically move the ball downfield again. The drive took 16 plays and Brock scored his second touchdown on a 22-yards rush. The Tribe got the ball back but missed a field goal right before halftime with the Black Bears leading 17-0.
After halftime, the Tribe were forced to punt again, leading to an amazing touchdown catch from Robertson to fourth-year receiver Devin Young, who was held onto but somehow was able to catch the ball on the tip and get into the endzone.
After the score from Young, the Tribe started to get things going when Wilson scored on a quarterback keeper, shortly after Messina kicked a 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give UMaine a commanding 27-8 lead. Wilson was able to cut the deficit to 11 for the Tribe when he found fourth-year receiver Zach Burdick wide open on the very next drive for a 76-yard bomb.
After forcing UMaine to punt again, the Tribe drove all the way down the field in ten minutes, but a bad decision by Wilson led to an easy interception by fourth-year linebacker Adrian Otero in the endzone.
“I was surprised they didn’t run the ball. They had two big runs just before that, I just did my job and the ball was just right there,” Otero said after the game.
UMaine got the ball back and they were able to run out the clock, ending the game before the Tribe got another chance to score.
Robertson finished the game passing for 223 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. Brock had 15 carries for 88 yards and one touchdown, while also catching four passes for 26 yards and another touchdown. Young led the team in receiving with six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Second-year linebacker Xavier Nurse led the defense with eight total tackles. UMaine’s defense did not record a single sack, which has been an issue for the defense for multiple weeks now. Otero and Brown both intercepted Wilson.
Wilson finished the day going 8-16 for 133 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Third-year running back Donavyn Lester led the team in rushing with 13 carries for 112 yards. Wilson also had six carries for 44 yards and a touchdown. Zack Burdick led the team with two receptions for 82 yards and notably made that 76-yard touchdown reception.
UMaine improved to 2-4 with this win and will travel next week to the University of Albany in New York.