Joe Fagnano threw three touchdown passes to Old Town’s Andre Miller for the second straight game on Saturday afternoon as the University of Maine football team posted a 35-19 Colonial Athletic Association victory over Stony Brook in New York.
Fagnano also threw a 15-yard TD pass to Shawn Bowman late in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring for the 2-1 Black Bears.
“I thought we settled in and got things going [in the second half],” UMaine coach Nick Charlton said. “We took care of the ball better, we ran the ball better.”
Sophomore quarterback Fagnano completed 18 of 28 passes for 244 yards and the four TDs and ran for the other score to give him two straight games in which he has accounted for five TDs.
For the second straight week, Miller caught eight passes. Against Stony Brook, he accounted for 133 yards and all eight receptions in the second half. Bowman finished with five catches for 46 yards.
Fagnano (10 carries, 24 yards) sandwiched touchdown throws of 27 and 20 yards to Miller in the third quarter around a fumble recovery by UMaine’s Robby Riobe and enabled the Black Bears to build a 21-13 lead.
After Tyquell Fields passed 29 yards for a touchdown to Delante Hellams with 11:52 left in the game for the Seawolves (0-3), Richard Carr knocked down a potential game-tying, two-point conversion pass.
Leading 21-19, the Black Bears had a drive extended when Stony Brook linebacker Chris Campbell was ejected from the game for a 15-yard personal foul/targeting. He hit Fagnano in the head after the quarterback gained only two yards on a third-and-12 run.
UMaine cashed in with a 12-yard pass from Fagnano to Miller with 7:34 remaining after a holding call nullified Elijah Barnwell’s 2-yard TD run.
Fagnano had extended the drive with a 12-yard pass to Miller on third-and-12 and then fired a 35-yarder to Miller down to the Stony Brook 2-yard line.
On the ensuing drive, Jamehl Wiley and Khairi Manns teamed up to sack Fields for a five-yard loss. Benito Speight, who earlier had an interception wiped out by a holding penalty, eventually broke up a fourth-down pass with 4:28 left to secure the win.
Stony Brook failed to move the ball on its last possession and Fagnano found Bowman for a score with 51 seconds left.
Fields had opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run to cap a 15-play, 75-yard drive, but the extra-point kick missed.
UMaine took a 7-6 lead when Fagnano finished off a 12-play, 75-yard march with a three-yard run and Jonny Messina kicked the extra point.
The Seawolves answered immediately, regaining the lead on Ty Son Lawton’s one-yard run that polished off a seven-play, 70-yard drive.
Stony Brook took a 13-7 lead into the intermission after holding UMaine to 133 first-half yards and Miller without a catch.
UMaine took the second half kickoff and went 70 yards on nine plays to take a lead it would never relinquish. Miller hauled in Fagnano’s 27-yard pass for the TD.
Justin Sambu forced a Lawton fumble and Riobe recovered to launch a 10-play 65-yard march that swelled the lead to 21-13 on the 20-yard toss from Fagnano to Miller.
Charlton said the momentum swung in his team’s favor in the third period.
“We started coming up with some stops, started moving the ball and came up with a few explosives [big plays].”
He also praised defensive coaches Mike Ryan, Jared Keyte and Reggie Garrett for their ability to prepare a secondary that had a lot of new faces.
Freshman Freddie Brock rushed for 61 yards on nine carries to lead UMaine and sophomore Barnwell added 42 on 13 tries.
Wiley paced the defense with nine tackles. Deshawn Stevens, Adrian Otero and Riobe were involved in seven apiece.
Lawton rushed for 134 yards on 22 carries and Seba Nekhet had 97 more on 15 carries for Stony Brook, which rushed for 248 yards and 5.6 yards per carry. Hellams caught four passes for 68 yards but Fields completed only 11 of 25 throws for 108 yards.
Akeal Lalaind’s game-high 11 tackles and Augie Contressa’s eight stops sparked Stony Brook.
UMaine is off next weekend before hosting Villanova at noon on April 3.