BOSTON — Junior quarterback Andrew Ford threw four touchdown passes, three to Andy Isabella, to lead the University of Massachusetts to a 44-31 victory over the University of Maine Saturday night before 12,794 at Fenway Park.

Ford threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter to lead the Minutemen to a 21-7 lead. Then he broke a third-quarter tie with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Isabella. The Massachusetts defense then got into it as Lee Moses returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown that would give the Minutemen a 37-24 lead heading into the fourth.

The loss was Maine’s second in a row, dropping the Black Bears to 4-5 overall. Massachusetts improved to 3-7.

Ford completed 21-of-39 passes for 355 yards and the four touchdowns. Marquis Young rushed for 126 yards and scored a clinching 33-yard touchdown run with 1:57 remaining.

Josh Mack led Maine with 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Chris Ferguson threw for 232 yards but was only 16-for-41 with two interceptions.

The Black Bears were hurt by penalties (12 for 124 yards) and an inability to convert on third down. They were 1-for-13 on third down.

Down 37-24, Maine got back in it when Mack bust up the middle for a 37-yard touchdown run, deking Minuteman safety Tyler Hayes at the 25. Brandon Briggs PAT made it 37-31. The touchdown was set up by a 48-yard pass from Ferguson to tight end Drew Belcher. The Minutemen regained control late in the third quarter. First Ford threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game – and third to Isabella – with 2:42 left in the quarter to give the Minutemen a 31-24 lead over the Black Bears. Then Lee Moses intercepted a Ferguson pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. Dakota Tarbox blocked the PAT, but UMass led 37-24 with 1:08 left in the third.

Maine tied it at 24 on the opening drive of the third quarter, going 80 yards in 11 plays. Mack rushed in from the 1 for the touchdown, then Ferguson passed to Belcher for the two-point conversion.

The first half ended with Massachusetts leading Maine 24-16 as Ford threw for three touchdowns, of 33, 69 and 12 yards. He had a tremendous first quarter when he was 10-of-15 for 210 yards and the three touchdowns, but Maine’s pass rush got to him for three sacks in the second to slow him down.

It was 24-7 after Logan Laurent kicked a 41-yard field goal with 10:20 left in the first half. Then Maine scrapped back.

Ferguson scored on a 9-yard broken play with 8:00 left in the first half. On second-and-3 from the Massachusetts 9, he saved a high snap but was unable to hand the ball off to Josh Mack. Instead, he followed Mack around right end for the score.

Then with 3:28 left in the second quarter, the Black Bears scored a safety to bring it within 24-16. Connor Walsh came from behind to trip up Ford, who was rolling to his left, for a sack and the safety.

Maine’s first score of the game came on a 95-yard kick-off return by Earnest Edwards, which tied the game at 7 just 13 seconds after the Minutemen had scored.

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