ORONO, Maine — Backup quarterback Michael Paulus came on in the fourth quarter and engineered two scoring drives in the last 10 minutes to help eighth-ranked William & Mary pull out a 24-21 Colonial Athletic Association football victory over the University of Maine at Alfond Stadium.
Paulus, a junior transfer from the University of North Carolina, completed nine of 16 passes for 104 yards and the winning score with 20.3 seconds left.
The Tribe (3-1, 1-1 CAA) took advantage of penalties woes by the Black Bears (1-3, 0-1 CAA), who repeatedly hurt themselves on offense by incurring penalties.
William & Mary scored 21 of its 24 points in the fourth quarter, including a 50-yard interception return for a TD by Dante Cook.
UMaine was without junior tailback Jared Turcotte of Lewiston, who left the team to be with his wife, Allysha, who apparently was close to giving birth to their first child.
Pushaun Brown stepped in and rushed for 104 yards on 30 carries and scored two touchdowns. However, the Bears were flagged 11 times for 134 yards in penalties, which consistently bogged down their second-half offensive efforts.
Quarterback Warren Smith went 29-for-40 with 257 yards, one TD and an interception. Tight end Derek Buttles made seven receptions for 64 yards.
UMaine relinquished the lead with 6:46 left on Cook’s interception return, but caught a break when W&M punt returner B.W. Webb was crashed into by a blocking teammate and fumbled. The Bears’ Derrick Johnson recovered at the 20.
The hosts scored four plays later on a 2-yard toss from Smith to wideout Des Randall. Brian Harvey’s PAT kick made it 21-17 with 2:46 to play.
The Tribe answered back, going 70 yards on 11 plays. Paulus completed one third-down pass and turned in a 10-yard run to set up a 21-yard scoring pass in the end zone to Chase Hill with 20.3 seconds left.
The Bears outgained the Tribe 365 yards to 280.
Linebackers Vinson Givans and Donte Dennis paced the Maine defense with eight tackles each. Freshman Mike Mangiarelli made an interception.
UMaine returns to action Saturday with a 6 p.m. CAA home game against border rival New Hampshire.