ALBANY, New York — With the University of Maine leading 12-10 late in the fourth quarter, the University at Albany began marching and drove to the Maine 13-yard line.
However, a big third-down sack from Deshawn Stevens and a false start penalty backed the Great Danes up to the 27 where Ethan Stark’s 44-yard field goal try failed wide left. The Black Bears took over and held on, defeating the Great Danes 12-10 for their second straight Colonial Athletic Association victory and their third straight over UAlbany.
“The problem with the penalty isn’t the distance difference,” UAlbany coach Greg Gattuso said in a timesunion.com report. “The problem with the penalty is it throws the kicker out of his rhythm. That’s why people try to use timeouts and different things. … It’s hard on the kid, and it’s a shame. It doesn’t excuse the miss, but it’s a darned shame that we couldn’t put that through and put the pressure on them.”
Brandon Briggs’ pair of 37-yard field goals and a 34-yard touchdown reception by Micah Wright proved to be all the scoring UMaine (3-3, 2-3 CAA) would need. Josh Mack added 181 total yards of offense, including his fifth 100-plus yard rushing performance (108) of the season.
Chris Ferguson finished 19-for-30 with 263 yards and a touchdown and his leading target, Jared Osumah, totaled five receptions for 65 yards.
In total, the Black Bears outgained UAlbany 358-262.
The UMaine defense, which held UAlbany (3-4, 1-3) to just 71 total yards in the first half, forced nine UAlbany punts and limited the Great Danes to 99 rushing yards. Jeff DeVaughn, Charles Mitchell and Kayon Whitaker each tallied seven tackles to lead the way while Whitaker added a pair of sacks. The Black Bears held UAlbany to 1 of 12 on third-down conversions.
With neither team able to get the offense rolling early, it was the defense that came up with the first score. The Black Bears took over at their own 12 but a Mack fumble on first down allowed the Great Danes’ Antoine White to scoop up the ball and score for a 7-0 lead with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
The Black Bears answered on the ensuing drive. Ferguson hit Mack for a 35-yard catch and run down to the UAlbany 29. Maine was able to advance to the UAlbany 27 before Brandon Briggs came on and hit a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
Whitaker’s fourth sack in his last three games forced a UAlbany punt and the Maine offense capitalized. Ferguson found Jaleel Reed for 15 yards on first down before hitting Wright for a 34-yard score but Briggs missed the extra point and the Bears led with 11:09 left in the opening half.
Stark’s 36-yard field goal gave the Great Danes a 10-9 lead with 2:08 left in the third quarter, set up by Karl Mofor’s 58-yard run.
Maine responded with a 10-play, 57-yard drive, concluding with Briggs’ second field goal of the game, this time from 37 yards for a 12-10 Maine lead with 14:02 left in regulation.
Maine punter Derek Deoul was able to pin UAlbany on its own two-yard line 8:20 left in the fourth quarter but pass completions of 42 and 41 yards, sandwiched around an offensive pass interference penalty, put the ball at the Maine 13.
Stevens then came through with his third-down sack and a false start penalty led to Stark’s missed 44-yard field goal.
Maine is back in action at 12:30 p.m. Saturday when it hosts William & Mary.