The University of Maine’s 2019 football season is over.
For the second time in four years, the University of New Hampshire ended the University of Maine’s football season.
UNH dashed the Black Bears’ hopes for a second straight Football Championship Subdivision playoff run on Saturday afternoon, limiting the Black Bears to three points over the final 57-plus minutes en route to a 28-10 Colonial Athletic Association victory at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire.
UMaine entered the game averaging 31.1 points per game, including 38 per game over their previous five contests.
New Hampshire (6-5 overall, 5-3 CAA) closed out its season by winning the Brice-Cowell Musket, the trophy that goes to the winner of the annual game between the two teams.
UMaine, which advanced to the FCS national semifinals last season, had its four-game winning streak snapped and wound up 6-6 overall, 4-4 in conference play.
UMaine has not beaten UNH in Durham since 2001.
In 2016, the Wildcats earned themselves a playoff berth and ruined UMaine’s postseason aspirations with a 24-21 victory in Orono on Morgan Ellman’s 21-yard field goal with seven seconds left.
In 2013, UNH upset UMaine 41-27 in Orono in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
“Obviously, we’re very disappointed,” UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said. “We didn’t play very well across the board, especially on offense.
“We had plenty of opportunities but didn’t capitalize on them. We didn’t come up with plays at the big moments and they did,” he added.
Freshman quarterback Max Brosmer completed 24 of 34 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns despite sustaining an injury that sidelined him for a spell in the second quarter.
The UNH defense limited UMaine to a 2-for-11 showing on third down and forced three turnovers, two of which resulted in touchdowns. The Wildcats also registered five sacks.
Trailing 14-7 in the fourth quarter, UMaine started two fourth-quarter drives with great field position at the UNH 39-yard line and the UMaine 47.
But the Black Bears could only muster Kenny Doak’s 45-yard field goal with 7:55 left that cut the deficit to 14-10.
UNH then expanded the lead to 21-10 with an game-clinching, seven-play, 92-yard drive capped by Brosmer’s 4-yard pass to Gunner Gibson with 1:48 remaining.
Brosmer’s 36-yard pass to Malik Love (11 receptions, 115 yds.) moved the ball to the UNH-44 on the first play of the drive and Dylan Laube rattled off a 34-yard run on second-and-13 play down to the UM 25.
The UNH defense fittingly concluded the scoring when UMaine freshman quarterback Joe Fagnano (18-for-31 passing, 183 yards) was sacked by Josh Kania on the Black Bears’ next possession. He fumbled the ball into the hands of senior cornerback Prince Smith, who returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
“They outplayed us at the end of the game,” said UMaine senior linebacker Taji Lowe, who made nine tackles. “They finished the game strong.”
UNH opened the scoring by capitalizing on a Devin Young fumble recovered by Pop Bush. The Wildcats marched 35 yards in three plays with Brosmer hooking up with Laube on a 35-yard TD pass.
UMaine answered on the next possession, going 62 yards on five plays with Fagnano tossing a 16-yard TD pass to Earnest Edwards.
Edwards made four catches for 60 yards and became UMaine’s career receiving yards leader with 2,625. He also was UMaine’s top rusher with 44 yards on four carries.
UNH took the lead for good in the second quarter as Evan Gray finished off an 11-play, 72-yard drive with a 4-yard run. A UMaine offside penalty on a fourth-and-2 play extended the drive.
“UNH tackled well and covered well,” Charlton said. “They took away our long shots down the field. They didn’t give up the big play.”
UMaine’s longest pass play was a 22-yard reception by Jaquan Blair (8 catches, 91 yds.).
Laube carried the ball nine times for 61 yards and Gray added 54 yards on 14 carries. Laube also caught to passes for 45 yards.
Junior safety Evan Horn made a career-high 11 tackles, including two sacks, for UNH and he also forced a fumble. Linebacker Michael Balsamo was involved in eight tackles.
Senior safety Josh Huffman posted eight tackles, senior defensive end Kayon Whitaker was involved in six tackles (three for lost yardage) and forced a fumble. Cornerback Shaquille St-Lot made an interception and a fumble recovery.