BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Defensive back Jordan Swann played last fall at UConn, a Football Bowl Subdivision school. When he decided to transfer in the spring, friends from high school convinced him to go to the University of Maine.

Two games into his career with a smaller Football Championship Subdivision program, Swann came through with a clutch play to preserve a stunning upset victory for the Black Bears.

Western Kentucky lined up for a tying field-goal attempt in the final minute Saturday night, but Swann broke off the edge and blocked the kick to secure Maine’s 31-28 win against the FBS Hilltoppers of Conference USA.

“They talked about what we have going and for him to make a play, it’s unbelievable,” said Maine Coach Joe Harasymiak.

What does Maine have going? A 2-0 start with the program’s first win over rival New Hampshire since 2010 and its first victory over an FBS school since 2013.

Maine trailed by three touchdowns after five minutes Saturday night, then scored 31 consecutive points before holding off Western Kentucky’s late effort.

The win for Maine (2-0) is its third against an FBS program, following victories at Mississippi State in 2004 and UMass in 2013.

“This is a step where we want to go,” Harasymiak said. “Hadn’t beaten New Hampshire in eight years, hadn’t beaten an FBS team since 2013. We’re preaching the right stuff and these kids are believing, and our culture is so strong that no matter what comes up, we’re going to fight back.”

The victory gives the Black Bears – ranked No. 22 in one national FCS poll and No. 25 in the other – momentum heading into a bye week before traveling to face a second FBS team, Central Michigan, on Sept. 22.

“Our goal every week is to go 1-0 against FBS or FCS, in conference or out of conference,” said quarterback Chris Ferguson. “It’s always awesome to get a win against a bigger program, too.

“We have a good schedule I think. We’re obviously on the road a lot and this is a fun atmosphere against a great team and a great game. Getting that bye week, we need that for our guys and get ready for Central Michigan.”

Two touchdowns in the second quarter helped Maine cut Western Kentucky’s lead to seven points by halftime.

Sterling Sheffield, who led Maine with 12 tackles, led a defense that totaled six sacks and seven tackles for loss against the Hilltoppers (0-2). The senior linebacker had a strip-sack in the third quarter that led to Deshawn Stevens’ 50-yard fumble return for a touchdown, making it 21-21.

Maine took the lead for good by making Western Kentucky pay for attempting a fourth-and-1 at its 15, forcing a stop and scoring on the next play.

One week after Maine limited New Hampshire to minus-7 yards on 32 carries, it held Western Kentucky to 42 yards on 31 carries.

“Every single guy on the defense has a chip on their shoulder,” Sheffield said. “Not being good enough to be recruited by an FBS school, not getting enough offers, to come out here and play like that against an FBS school and show our worth is what every person in that locker room strives to do.”

The first five minutes couldn’t have gone worse for the Black Bears.

Maine gave up a touchdown on the first play when Lucky Jackson burned safety Jeff DeVaughn down the right sideline for a 66-yard reception.

Then it took Maine’s offense four plays to help dig a bigger deficit. Ferguson’s deflected pass fell right into the hands of defensive back Devon Key, who returned the interception 45 yards for a touchdown, putting Western Kentucky up by two scores less than two minutes into the game.

Another connection from Drew Eckles to Jackson made it 21-0 after one quarter.

Then the Black Bears held Western Kentucky to 12 straight scoreless drives. Ferguson threw two second-quarter touchdown passes – a 50-yard swing pass to running back Ramon Jefferson and a 32-yard strike to wide receiver Micah Wright.

After Stevens’ fumble return tied the game, Ferguson went to Wright again on a 15-yard TD pass to give Maine the lead with 5:16 left in the third quarter.

Maine made it 31-21 on Kenny Doak’s field goal midway through the fourth.

Ferguson completed 11 of 28 passes for 185 yards. Joe Fitzpatrick added 82 yards rushing and Jefferson finished with 12 attempts for 60 yards.

“Being down 21-0, (Ferguson) came to me and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to win this game,’ ” Sheffield said. “I believed him the whole time. It’s great. We’ll be able to enjoy it for a few days, and come back and play another FBS opponent in Central Michigan.”

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