PORTLAND, Maine — The University of Delaware overcame an early 10-point deficit, then scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to earn a 31-17 Colonial Athletic Association football victory over the University of Maine at Fitzpatrick Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Black Bears (4-4, 3-4 CAA) outgained the Blue Hens (6-3, 4-2 CAA) 451 yards to 346, but the visitors converted 8 of 16 third-down situations and held UMaine to seven points over the final three quarters.
Tailback Josh Mack gained 175 yards on 23 carries to spearhead the UMaine rushing attack and caught six passes for 38 yards. Quarterback Chris Ferguson completed 20 of 37 passes for 218 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He was sacked twice.
Earnest Edwards (4 receptions, 80 yds.) and Jaleel Reed (4 rec., 44 yds.) paced the receiver corps.
Delaware was led by the 26-carry, 99-yard rushing effort of Kanie Kane. J.P. Caruso completed only six of 16 passes for 120 yards but threw for a score.
With the score knotted at 17-17, the Blue Hens seized the momentum early in the fourth quarter. UMaine’s Micah Wright fielded a Nick Pritchard punt at the 5-yard line, only to have the ball stripped by Nasir Adderley. Colby Reeder picked up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone for the go-ahead score at the 13:22 mark.
Frank Raggo’s PAT kick made it 24-17.
The Blue Hens forced a three-and-out, then went back on the offensive. Delaware drove 58 yards on 12 plays with Kane carrying nine times for 40 yards to set up Caruso’s 1-yard TD run with 4:07 to play.
UMaine grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first quarter when Brandon Briggs made a 29-yard field goal. The Black Bears extended their advantage to 10-0 when Ferguson hit Wright for a 12-yard TD hookup to close out an 11-play, 66-yard drive in the final minute of the period.
Delaware finally got on the scoreboard with 5:42 remaining in the half when Caruso found Brandon Whaley on a 10-yard TD pass to close out an 87-yard drive.
The Blue Hens quickly forced a UMaine punt and took over on their own 29 with 4:12 left in the half. Sparked by a 36-yard pass from Caruso to Gene Coleman II, Delaware capped the 10-play, 71-yard march with Kane’s 1-yard scoring run that gave the visitors a 14-10 halftime lead.
Raggo booted a 48-yard field goal early in the third period to made it 17-0, but the Black Bears countered by moving 80 yards on eight plays, including a 39-yard jaunt by Mack.
Portland native Joe Fitzpatrick (8 carries, 50 yards) scored on an 8-yard scamper to tie the game with 9:01 left in the third.
Deshawn Stevens headed the defensive effort for UMaine with 14 tackles and Jaron Grayer made 11 stops.
Troy Reed made a game-leading 17 tackles and Nassir Adderly registered 14 for Delaware.
The Black Bears return to action on Saturday when they play Massachusetts at Fenway Park in Boston. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.