ORONO, Maine – University of Maine quarterback Dan Collins threw three touchdowns for over 40 yards Saturday afternoon, leading the Black Bears to a 20-16 win over the No. 17/19 University at Albany football team. With the loss, the Great Danes fell to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in conference play, while Maine improved to 3-3 on the season and 2-1 in the CAA.
· Sophomore quarterback Neven Sussman led UAlbany with 187 passing yards, completing 10-of-26 passes with one interception. He also led the squad with 75 rushing yards.
· Jordan Crockett served as the top receiver with four receptions totaling 36 yards. Tight end Anthony Manzo-Lewis logged three catches, recording 66 yards including a team-long 45-yard reception.
· In the ground game, running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks ran the ball 16 times, accruing 41 rushing yards and a touchdown.
· Kicker Ethan Stark made two of three field goal attempts in the contest from 27 and 39 yards out.
· Punter Jon Martin pinned the Black Bears inside the 20 four times, punting seven times with an average of 42.0 yards per punt.
· After Mason Grey picked off a pass on Maine’s opening drive, Ethan Stark’s 27-yard field goal with 10:00 on the clock in the first quarter gave the Great Danes a quick 3-0 advantage.
· The Black Bears answered back immediately, piecing together a seven-play 86-yard drive capped by Dan Collins’ 49-yard pass to Micah Wright. The touchdown gave Maine a 7-3 advantage with 6:49 remaining in the first quarter.
· With 9:10 left in the second quarter, Maine took a 13-3 lead on Earnest Edwards’ 40-yard touchdown reception from Collins. The Black Bears’ run on the two-point conversion failed, leaving the margin at 10 points.
· Starting on Maine’s 19-yard line, a high snap over the head of Collins sailed into the end zone, handing the Great Danes two points and the ball. With the safety, UAlbany cut the margin to eight, 13-5, with 7:09 remaining in the half.
· On their next possession, Stark cut the deficit to five, 13-8, with a 39-yard field goal with 3:43 left in the second quarter.
· After blocking UAlbany’s 29-yard field goal attempt, Collins connected a 51-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Dunn who won the jump ball on the goal line. With the point-after, Maine held a 20-8 advantage with 9:59 remaining in the third.
· With 10:16 left in the contest, the Great Danes cut the deficit to four, 20-16, on Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks’ one-yard rush that capped UAlbany’s four-play 68-yard drive. Sussman connected a game-long 45-yard pass to tight end Anthony Manzo-Lewis to start the drive. Sussman closed the play with a pass to Jordan Crockett, completing the two-point conversion.
HOW IT ENDED
· With 7:22 to go in the fourth, DaeSean Timmons stripped the ball from Maine and Abner Loganrecovered the fumble. However, UAlbany wasn’t able to capitalize and the Black Bears forced a three-and-out. In the same respect, UAlbany made a stop on defense. On their subsequent drive, Sussman connected a 36-yard pass to Dione Alston with less than four minutes to go. Unfortunately, Maine’s Sterling Sheffield recorded a sack for a loss of 10 yards, securing the win for Maine.
COACH GATTTUSO ON THE GAME: “They gave us an opportunity to win the game in the second half but we weren’t able to finish the drives. You give credit to your opponent. I thought we struggled in both phases very badly in the first half. They took advantage, made some good plays, and put us behind. We had opportunities and didn’t capitalize. Kicking field goals instead of touchdowns is the difference in the game. We certainly need to play better than we did today in order to have a chance to win.”
COACH GATTUSO ON MAINE’S LONG PASSES: “They have a very good receiving corps and they’re going to make plays, and I can live with it. But I think the one after the half was the one that really hurt, because you know we’re there. It should have been an interception but it goes through his hands and the other guy catches it. Talk about a swing of momentum in the second half — totally different ballgame at that point. It was a jump ball – they made a play and we didn’t.”
NEVEN SUSSMAN ON UALBANY’S OFFENSE: “I think today we just weren’t clicking on all cylinders like we need to and it showed. I know that we are capable of doing a lot better and we will going forward.”
NEVEN SUSSMAN ON MAINE’S DEFENSE: “The CAA is a great league top to bottom and defensively it’s the same. They are a great CAA defense and they showed it today.”
The Great Danes travel to take on Villanova Saturday, Oct. 22 at 3:30 p.m.