University of Maine redshirt freshman quarterback Derek Robertson, pictured during a Sept. 11 game, passed for 223 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-16 win over William and Mary on Sunday. Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics

ORONO — The University of Maine’s football team jumped out to a 24-0 lead and withstood a late William and Mary rally thanks to an Adrian Otero interception with 2:30 remaining to beat the Tribe 27-16 at Alfond Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

UMaine snapped a two-game winning streak and improved to 2-4 overall while picking up its first Colonial Athletic Association win after three losses in front of a homecoming crowd of 6,356. 

William and Mary had its four-game winning streak snapped and is now 4-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

Late in the fourth quarter, William and Mary was on the verge of cutting into UMaine’s 11-point lead after a pass interference call set the Tribe up at the UMaine two-yard line. But on the next play, Darius Wilson’s pass found Otero, a linebacker in zone coverage, and that sealed the win. UMaine then ran out the clock.

“I was surprised they didn’t run the ball. They had two big runs just before that,”  said Otero, referring to a pair of 10-yard runs by Donavyn Lester. 

Sophomore running back Freddie Brock caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Derek Robertson and ran 22 yards for another in the first half and Devin Young caught a 35-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that bounced off William and Mary cornerback Ethan Yip’s back, making the score 24-0.

Wilson then capped a seven-play, 61-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run and Lester ran for the two-point conversion to make it 24-8. UMaine then managed a 14-play, 50-yard drive and Jonny Messina kicked an important 42-yard field goal to make it 27-8 with 11:50 remaining in the game.

William and Mary answered just 1:08 later when Wilson’s pass deflected off the hands of UMaine safety Shakur Smalls into the hands of Zach Burdick, who went 76 yards for the touchdown. 

Robertson completed 20-of-40 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns on the day. He also ran the ball three times for 25 yards. He completed 9-of-14 third-down passes and picked up eight first downs with them. Three of his runs also earned UMaine first downs on drives that produced 13 points. He was not sacked against a William and Mary defense that came into the game with 16 sacks on the season.

His two-yard sneak on a fourth-and-one extended the drive which led to Brock’s seven-yard run in the first period; his 16-yard scramble on third-and-10 later in the quarter enabled UMaine to keep the ball and Messina kicked his 21-yard field goal and his seven-yard run in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-seven helped set up Messina’s 42-yard field goal.

“Derek made plays today. A lot of guys made plays,” said UMaine head coach Nick Charlton. “We executed.”

UMaine converted 10 of its 19 third downs into first downs and all three of its fourth downs.

Devin Young caught six passes for 81 yards and Brock rushed for 86 yards on 15 carries and also caught four passes for 26 yards. Zavier Scott carried the ball 10 times for 51 yards as UMaine ran for a season-high 194 yards. The Black Bears had 43 rushing attempts and averaged 4.5 yards per carry.

“When you can have a running game like that, it takes a lot of pressure off the offense,” Robertson said.

For William and Mary, the freshman Wilson completed 8 of 16 passes for 133 yards and ran it six times for 33 yards. Lester finished with 112 yards on just 13 carries.

UMaine outgained the Tribe 417-388 including a 223-130 edge in the air. UMaine ran 83 plays to William and Mary’s 55 and had a decided edge in time of possession: 35:11 to 24:49.

Xavier Nurse’s eight tackles and Otero’s seven paced the UMaine defense. Malcolm Spencer had eight tackles for the Tribe and Tye Freeland, Kevin Jarrell and Ryan Poole had seven each. 

The Black Bears built a 17-0 halftime lead as the defense limited William and Mary to just 144 total yards and came up with a huge fourth down stop at its own 14-yard line with 3:17 left in the half. Facing a fourth-and-two and trailing 10-0, William and Mary’s Martin Lucas was tackled just short of the first down marker by Dorian Royal and Justin Sambu.

The UMaine offense seized the momentum and strung together a 16-play, 87-yard drive capped by Brock’s 22-yard touchdown scamper. That came after UMaine jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Brock’s seven-yard TD reception from Robertson, circling out of the backfield to get wide open on the right side.

It was the first time UMaine had held a team scoreless in a half since its CAA championship season in 2018 when it held Albany scoreless in the first half of a 28-9 victory on Oct. 27.

“Maine made the plays they needed to make to win the game and we fell short,” said William and Mary coach Mike London.

UMaine will visit Albany next Saturday at 1 p.m.. William and Mary hosts Towson at 3:30.