ORONO — Chris Ferguson threw for five touchdowns and Josh Mack rushed over 200 yards as the University of Maine defeated Rhode Island 51-27 Saturday afternoon at Alfond Stadium.

Maine scored 41 consecutive points in a span that started in the second quarter and extended into the fourth. Micah Wright also had a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown in that stretch, as the Black Bears rallied from a 21-10 deficit to lead 51-21 into the fourth.

The victory snapped a two-game losing skid for Maine, which is now 2-3 overall, 1-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Rhode Island, which has lost 11 consecutive games to the Black Bears, dropped to 1-5 overall. 0-3 in the CAA.

Ferguson, who had thrown six interceptions and no touchdown passes in the last two games, was 18 of 28 for 214 yards. Mack rushed for 248 yards on 30 carries. Jaleel Reed caught five passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns.

Maine broke it open in the third quarter, with four touchdowns to expand a 23-21 halftime lead to 51-21 entering the fourth.

Josh Mack opened it with a 16-yard run, then Ferguson threw touchdown passes to Reed (8 yards), Earnest Edwards (19) and to Reed again (42, on a flea-flicker with Joe Fitzpatrick funneling the ball back to Ferguson).

Micah Wright gave Maine its 23-21 halftime lead with a stunning 77-yard punt return for a touchdown. With Maine down 21-17, he caught Satchel Denton’s punt at the Maine 23, sidestepped two Rhode Island tacklers and burst up the middle. Denton was the last one with a chance at him, but Wright ran past him at the Rams’ 30 and raced into the end zone for his second career punt return touchdown. Brandon Briggs missed the PAT but Maine led, 23-21.

It was an offensive first half, with Rhode Island gaining 263 yards and Maine 189.

Chris Ferguson was 12 of 18 in the first half with two touchdowns, to Reed for 54 yards and Jared Osumah for 5. Briggs also kicked a 21-yard field goal.

Rhode Island got a 16-yard touchdown run from T.J. Anderson on its opening drive. Tyler Harris threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marven Beauvais and JaJuan Lawson threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Parker, who caught a touchdown pass in his eighth consecutive game.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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