ORONO, Maine — Sophomore Kenny Doak, the University of Maine’s first full-scholarship kicker, has had some struggles in his young career.
But all was forgotten Saturday evening.
Doak tied a school record with a wind-aided, 52-yard field goal as time expired to give the 25th-ranked Black Bears a thrilling 13-10 Colonial Athletic Association victory over No. 19 Villanova at Morse Field in Alfond Stadium.
UMaine (3-2, 2-0 CAA) had lost the previous four meetings against the Wildcats (3-3, 0-3 CAA), including the last four at Morse Field.
Doak, whose previous long field goal was a 38-yarder, matched Jack Leggett’s 52-yard kick against Delaware in 1975.
“I was really confident,” said Doak, who had a 40-yard attempt blocked earlier in the fourth quarter. He had converted a 30-yarder to tie the game 3-3 in the second period.
“Everybody around me, the players and the coaches, have been a great support staff for me. I wanted to get it done for the team.
“I hit it really well. It went straight and I waited for the referees to put their arms up in the air,” added Doak.
Doak is 7-for-12 in field goals at UMaine, 4-for-7 this season. He is 17-for-22 in extra points.
“He told me he was going to make it just before he went out,” said UMaine head coach Joe Harasymiak.
“He has been through some hard times and we’ve been there with him. He has shown perseverance. I’m really happy for him and the team.”
The game-winning drive began at the UMaine 17-yard line.
Joe Fitzpatrick’s 10-yard run on a third-and-1 extended the drive and redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Robinson threw a 20-yard pass to Jaquan Blair to the V 44 with 45 seconds left.
“Quan does a great job finding me when I roll out of the pocket,” said Robinson. “He’s very quarterback-friendly with his routes.”
Robinson connected on an 8-yarder to Micah Wright and Fitzpatrick ran for a yard to set up the field goal.
“They made more plays than we did. They were able to get the ball within (field goal) range and (Doak) made a heck of a kick,” said Villanova coach Mark Ferrante.
The Black Bears had taken a 10-3 lead by marching 75 yards on 14 plays with the second-half kickoff. Fitzpatrick finished it off with a 2-yard run.
But Julian Williams recovered an Earnest Edwards fumble at the UM 16 later in the period and Aaron Forbes (12 carries, 48 yards) eventually scored on a 2-yard run to tie it.
Robinson, playing in place of the injured Chris Ferguson, completed 16 of 30 passes for 146 yards. He was intercepted twice.
The hard-running Fitzpatrick ran for 66 yards on 15 carries and wide receiver Edwards, who lined up in the backfield on several plays, carried the ball nine times for 52 yards. He also caught five passes for 18 yards.
“Every day I tell Coach (Harasymiak) that I’m a running back, not just a receiver,” grinned Edwards. “It was in the game plan this week and it worked out.”
Villanova QB Jack Schetelich, playing in place of injured Zach Bednarczyk, completed 12 of 25 yards for 93 yards. He threw two interceptions and was sacked four times.
UMaine’s defense held the Wildcats to 181 total yards and only 88 rushing yards. UMaine had 308 total yards, including 143 on the ground.
“We couldn’t sustain a running game,” said Ferrante. “When you are held to less than 200 yards of total offense, you probably aren’t going to be able to put enough points on the board (to win).”
“We had to get back to who we were, get back to our identity … swarming to the ball and being aggressive,” said Stevens, who was in on a team-high eight tackles including wo sacks. He also forced a fumble.
Linebacker Sterling Sheffield was involved in seven tackles with a sack and safety Jeffrey DeVaughn and cornerback Katley Joseph were each in on six tackles. Manny Patterson and Richard Carr each made interceptions.
Villanova scored on its first possession, covering 47 yards on 13 plays, when Drew Kresge kicked a 35-yard field goal.
UMaine’s scoring drive began later in the quarter at its own 3-yard line following a 57-yard punt by Nathan Fondacaro. On a third-and-10 at the Villanova 37, a Robinson pass was tipped in the air and Blair outwrestled two defensive backs to haul it in at the 13.
Doak eventually kicked his 30-yarder to tie it.
Late in the half, three plays after Carr’s interception, Keeling Hunter intercepted a Robinson pass at midfield with 56 seconds remaining.
Villanova reached the UM 15 but Sheffield overpowered a blocker and sacked Schetelich for a 12-yard loss and Kresge’s 46-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left with 10 seconds left.
Linebacker Drew Wiley was in on a game-high nine tackles for Villanova. Williams also made an interception.