TOWSON, Md. — Maine defensive back Manny Patterson ran toward the bleachers behind his bench and leaped toward a group of Black Bear fans Saturday.

Patterson, whose high school is about 15 miles away, had around 40 family and friends at the game.

And what a game they saw.

Maine survived a last-minute drive by Towson quarterback Tom Flacco – the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco – and posted a rare November victory, upsetting the Tigers 35-28 in a Colonial Athletic Association showdown.

“That’s a CAA game right there,” said Maine Coach Joe Harasymiak. “Our defense has been our backbone all year. Today they got challenged by the best offense we have seen all year. We knew we were going to be in a fight even when we were up 21-7. Very proud of the guys to come on the road and get a big-time win. We made more plays than they did.”

With James Madison also losing, the Black Bears now share the CAA lead with Delaware at 5-1 with two games remaining. Towson also had been tied for the top.

That may have seemed improbable in the summer, when Maine was picked to finish eighth in the CAA and had won just one of six November games in the first two seasons under Harasymiak.

That’s nothing but noise to quarterback Chris Ferguson, who led Maine on a winning drive after Towson rallied from a 28-10 deficit to tie it in the fourth quarter.

“Last year was last year. We folded (late). We didn’t win those games,” Ferguson said. “The whole offseason, going into August, was about changing our culture. It was about winning in November. We don’t worry about that stuff (in the past). We worry about the next play, the next game. That’s what we did today.”

Ferguson struggled in the second half but ended up 16 of 32 for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

The winning touchdown came on a 6-yard run with 6:29 left by Ramon Jefferson that broke a 28-28 tie. He finished with 121 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 14 carries.

“The winning score was good for me,” Jefferson said. “I think that was a representation of the team. I felt the team pushing behind me” and into the end zone.

Towson had one last chance to tie but Sterling Sheffield (six tackles) and Jamehl Wiley (three tackles) stopped running back Shane Simpson inside the Maine 5 on fourth down with 1:21 left.

“We were just ready,” Sheffield said. “Every guy on the field, when I looked in their eyes, they had fire in their eyes. We were ready. We knew it was on us. We knew we had to make the stop. It was great.”

The Black Bears are now 2-5 in November under Harasymiak. Maine was 0-3 in November last season and the only victory in the month in the previous two seasons came in 2016 at Stony Brook.

“A lot of those guys were on those teams. They’ve learned the hard way,” Harasymiak said.

Flacco, who entered the game having thrown for 2,201 yards in eight games, was 21 of 36 with two touchdowns, two interceptions and 211 yards.

Maine (6-3) plays Nov. 10 at Richmond, then will be home against Elon in the regular-season finale Nov. 17.

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