ORONO — Play for the tie? Nope.

Instead, the University of Maine went for the win – and got it in a most improbable fashion.

Sophomore kicker Kenny Doak kicked a 52-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Black Bears to a stunning 13-10 victory over Villanova Saturday evening at Alfond Stadium. Maine got the ball at its 17-yard line with 1:39 remaining and calmly moved downfield to set up Doak’s winning kick, which barely made it over the crossbar.

“It’s a great feeling to win a game like that,” said Maine Coach Joe Harasymiak.

The victory ended Maine’s two-game losing skid and lifted the 25th-ranked Black Bears to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association heading into next weekend’s showdown with hot Rhode Island. Villanova, ranked 19th in the nation, dropped to 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the CAA.

With both starting quarterbacks – Maine’s Chris Ferguson and Villanova’s Zach Bednarczyk – out with shoulder injuries, this was a defensive struggle. Maine held Villanova to just 181 yards of total offense and had four sacks and two interceptions. The Wildcats also had two interceptions as well as a fumble recovery.

And it certainly appeared to be heading to overtime when the Black Bears stopped Villanova at its 41 on the Wildcats last drive. But Harasymiak was not going to let Villanova get another chance at the ball if he could help it.

“We didn’t want to be conservative,” he said. “We wanted to be aggressive.”

Villanova Coach Mark Ferrante wasn’t surprised.

“I know Joe a little bit and I didn’t think he was going to play for overtime,” he said. “You play for the win … especially when the game is tied.”

The winning drive began innocently enough with a 3-yard run by Joe Fitzpatrick, who led Maine with 66 rushing yards and scored a touchdown in the third quarter. Then Isaiah Robinson, in for Ferguson, found Fitzpatrick for a 6-yard gain. Fitzpatrick ran for 10 yards on third-and-1.

After an incompletion, Robinson found Jaquan Blair for 20 yards to the Villanova 44.

A second-down pass to Micah Wright gained eight yards, and Maine called its second timeout with 27 seconds left.

Fitzpatrick then gained a yard running right – and setting the ball in the middle of the field.

Harasymiak called timeout with three seconds left and sent out Doak, who had hit one field goal from 30 yards (in the second quarter) but had another one from 40 blocked (in the fourth).

“As he went out there he told me he was going to make it,” said Harasymiak.

Doak’s kick was indeed true. And it had just enough distance, though he had to wait to the officials to signal it was good.

“I hit it really well,” said Doak. “It stayed straight so I was just waiting for the refs to put their hands up, hoping it went in.”

It did, a career-best for Doak. It also tied the school record, set in 1975 by Jack Leggett in a game against Delaware.

“It definitely (feels good),” said Doak. “I can’t say enough about my coaches, my family’s support and my teammates. Everyone is behind my back.”

Maine’s defense, which gave up 396 yards of total offense a week ago in a 35-14 loss to Yale, responded this week.

The Black Bears made several big plays, especially at the end of the first half when Villanova had a first down at the Maine 18. Taji Lowe forced a 3-yard loss on a screen pass, then Sterling Sheffield made an 11-yard sack. Villanova would end up missing a 46-yard field goal.

“That’s who we are,” said sophomore linebacker DeShawn Stevens, who led Maine with eight tackles and had two sacks. “The Black Hole. The entire week it was about getting back to who we are, our identity.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.