KINGSTON, R.I. — The University of Maine football team took another step toward an NCAA playoff berth Saturday afternoon, grinding out a 37-7 Colonial Athletic Association football victory over Rhode Island at Meade Stadium.
Coach Jack Cogrove’s Black Bears won for the sixth straight time, improving to 8-3 overall, 5-2 in conference play. The win sets up Saturday’s noon clash against traditional rival New Hampshire at Alfond Stadium in Orono.
UMaine again prevailed behind its efficient rushing attack, which racked up 274 yards. Redshirt freshman fullback Jared Turcotte of Lewiston spearheaded the charge, carrying 20 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns.
Freshman tailback Pushaun Brown contributed 96 yards on 16 carries with one TD running behind a surging offensive line led by seniors Ryan Canary and Chris Arnao.
Rhode Island (2-9, 0-7 CAA) came out firing and grabbed a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter. However, UMaine responded by scoring 16 points during a span of three minutes, 42 seconds to regain the momentum.
Turcotte’s 3-yard scoring run capped a 66-yard drive at 6:14 of the second quarter to help the Bears get even. Only 19 seconds later, end Jordan Stevens of Temple dropped URI quarterback Derek Cassidy in the end zone for a safety after a high shotgun snap.
On UMaine’s next possession, QB Mike Brusko threw a 12-yard TD pass to Tyrell Jones that gave the Bears a 16-7 lead with 2:32 left in the half.
Turcotte added touchdown runs of 25 and 1 yard for the Bears and Brown added a 29-yard scamper in the fourth quarter to provide more breathing room.
End Jovan Belcher sparked the UMaine defense with eight tackles, including three for a loss of yardage. Safety Lamir Whetstone provided six tackles and a fumble recovery.
Cassidy paced the Rams, completing 18 of 31 passes for 128 yards. He was not intercepted, but was sacked three times.