The University of Maine football team scored 28 points in the first 10 minutes, 18 seconds on Saturday and went on to post a 31-17 Colonial Athletic Association victory over Elon University in North Carolina.
UMaine (5-5 overall, 3-3 CAA) kept its Football Championship Subdivision playoff hopes alive with its third straight win.
Elon fell to 4-6 (3-4 CAA).
Freshman quarterback Joe Fagnano completed 20 of 29 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns.
He threw a 60-yard pass to Devin Young to open the scoring and Ori Jean-Charles recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff forced by Johnathan Smith-Cobb, which eventually set up Joe Fitzpatrtick’s 3-yard TD run.
“That turnover on the kickoff was big. It got us off to a really good start,” UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said.
The Black Bears expanded the lead on Fagnano’s 88-yard scoring pass to Earnest Edwards, then Edwards capped the 28-point flurry with his fourth TD pass of the season to Jaquan Blair from 2 yards out.
Charlton said his team’s fast start was “really good to see.
“The players were very complementary. Unfortunately, I didn’t love how we finished the game. We got off to a really hot start but we need to sustain it longer. We could have ended the game a little earlier,” he added. “They’re a very good team and they’re very well-coached. They weren’t going to lay down for us. We need to play better.”
But he also called it a “really good win.”
Fagnano’s TD passes to Young and Edwards gives him eight TD passes of at least 43 yards over the last five games, including three of 87 or more yards and five of 64 or more yards.
“Joe does a nice job with his eyes downfield,” Charlton said. “He has options to go to. Earnest made a huge play.”
Edwards’ TD pass to Blair was the fifth of his career.
“Earnest is a special player. We run a couple of those gadget plays every game,” Charlton said, noting that he has the players who can pull them off.
UMaine didn’t score again until Kenny Doak kicked an 18-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to make it 31-10.
Brelynd Cyphers scored on a 12-yard run for Elon in the third period, and Davis Cheek threw a 6-yard TD pass to De’Sean McNair in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
The UMaine defense racked up six sacks and held the Phoenix to 73 rushing yards on 23 carries.
“The defense played at a very, very high level for most of the game,” Charlton said. “They were on the field a little too long [in the second half].”
He said Fagnano played “very well but he needed to be better in the run game. We left some things out there. We’re asking a lot of him but he is mature beyond his years. He can play better and I can coach better.”
Emmauel Reed rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries for the Black Bears, and Fitzpatrick added 41 on 14 carries.
Blair had a game-high seven catches for 55 yards. Edwards had five for 153 yards, and Young had five more for 87 yards.
Edwards moved past Rameek Wright into second place on UMaine’s all-time receiving yards list with 2,523.
Linebacker Adrian Otero paced the UMaine defense with a game-high 11 tackles. End Kayon Whitaker had five, including three for lost yards and two sacks.
Cheek completed 18 of 37 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown for Elon. McNair caught four passes for 50 yards, and Chandler Brayboy, Kortez Weeks and Matt Foster each had three receptions for 60, 20 and 18 yards, respectively.
Cole Coleman and Daniel Reid-Bennett each had nine tackles for Elon, and Reid-Bennett also had an interception. Tre’Von Jones had eight tackles.
UMaine will entertain CAA cellar-dweller Rhode Island (2-8, 0-6) at noon Saturday. It will be Seniors Day.
Elon will visit Towson (6-4, 3-3) for a 2 p.m. contest.