ORONO — Once again, New Hampshire.

With an FCS playoff berth on the line, New Hampshire regrouped in the second half to end the University of Maine’s season with a white-knuckle 24-21 victory at Alfond Stadium. Sophomore Morgan Ellman kicked a 22-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining to defeat the Black Bears.

Maine had tied the game at 21 with 5:02 remaining, but the Wildcats calmly moved downfield behind the running of Dalton Crossan and passing of Adam Riese, who entered the game in the first quarter when starter Trevor Knight was injured.

A 7-yard run by Crossan gave New Hampshire a first down at the Maine 6. The Black Bears held, but Ellman came in to kick the winning points.

Maine finished 6-5 overall, 5-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Black Bears began the season with a 24-21 loss to Connecticut on a field goal with 11 seconds left, ended their season with same score in similar fashion.

New Hampshire improved to 7-4, 6-2 in the CAA and will find out Sunday if it will play in the tournament.

Dan Collins kept Maine’s season alive with a miracle throw – and an equally implausible catch by Micah Wright. On fourth-and-8 from the UNH 27, he threw across the field to Wright at the right pylon. Wright was covered by Isiah Perkins, but somehow caught the ball and kept his feet inbounds. Brandon Briggs PAT kick tied the game at 21 with 5:02 left.

The Wildcats took the lead with a 74-yard, 16-play drive that began in the third quarter and ended in the fourth, scoring on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Riese to Neil O’Connor in the right corner of the end zone. Ellman’s third PAT of the game made it 21-14 with 12:22 remaining.

A nifty 35-yard touchdown run by Dalton Crossan tied the game at 14 with 5:31 left in the third. Crossan went up the middle then cut to the right, eluding four would-be Maine tacklers, en route to the touchdown. The PAT tied the game at 14.

The Black Bears led 14-7 after two quarters, making a huge goal-line stand in the final seconds. New Hampshire had moved to a first-and-goal at the Maine 7 with 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter. On third down, Riese hit Malik Love on a slant, but Love was tackled inside the 1.

On fourth down, Riese faked a handoff to Crossan and tried to run around left end, but Maine defensive end Dakota Tarbox was there to tackle him. Linebacker Taji Lowe came in to finish the tackle for a three-yard loss.

Maine’s defense dominated the first quarter, holding the Wildcats to just two yards of total offense. But the score was tied at 7 after one quarter because of a Dan Collins’ miscue.

The Black Bears had taken a 7-0 lead with 2:07 left in the first on a trick play, with Collins throwing a lateral to freshman Earnest Edwards, who ran to the right. Edwards then lofted a pass to Jared Osumah, who had got behind New Hampshire’s Perkins, in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Briggs, who made the team during an open tryout at the end of September, kicked the PAT.

The Black Bears forced a quick punt, but on Maine’s first play from its 32, Collins threw into a crowd and New Hampshire’s Pop Lacey intercepted the pass at the 44 and ran in for a touchdown. It was the Wildcats’ seventh defensive touchdown of the season, best in FCS. Ellman’s PAT tied it with 46 seconds left in the quarter. It stayed that way until Maine went 90 yards in 2:38, with Collins throwing a 49-yard touchdown pass to Wright for the score.

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