ORONO, Maine — Quarterback R.J. Toman passed for 127 yards and two touchdowns, both in the second half, on Saturday afternoon, lifting the University of New Hampshire to a 28-24 Colonial Athletic Association football victory over the University of Maine at wintry Alfond Stadium.
The Wildcats (9-2, 6-2 CAA) overcame a snow-covered Morse Field and cold, windy conditions to upend the Black Bears and almost assure themselves a spot in the 16-team NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Coach Jack Cosgrove’s Maine team (8-4, 5-3 CAA) had its six-game winning streak halted, but still may have an outside shot at earning a postseason berth.
New Hampshire’s quick-strike offense did just that on a couple of occasions, but it was a methodical 11-play, 79-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference. The Wildcats took the lead when Mike Boyle (3 receptions, 55 yards, 2 touchdowns) took a short screen pass near the right sideline, eluded two potential tacklers and tiptoed into the end zone with 3 minutes, 27 seconds remaining.
Maine had two more possessions in the final 3½ minutes, but Terrence Klein intercepted quarterback Mike Brusko twice as New Hampshire sealed the victory in front of 5,719 frozen fans.
Toman (6-for-12) also threw a 29-yard scoring pass to Boyle in the third quarter that gave the Wildcats a 21-17 lead. Chad Kackert rushed for 89 yards, including first-half touchdowns of 46 and 18 yards.
Brusko paced Maine with 65 rushing yards, including a 1-yard scoring dive, and 98 yards passing on 6-for-15 accuracy.
Linebacker Matt Parent paced New Hampshire with 12 tackles, while linebackers Sean Wasson and Andrew Downey led the Maine defense with 17 and 12 tackles, respectively.
Pushaun Brown’s 3-yard touchdown run and Jordan Waxman’s 30-yard field goal had given the Black Bears a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter, but New Hampshire regained the upper hand on Kackert’s 18-yard run early in the second quarter.