HAMILTON, N.Y. — Earnest Edwards scored three touchdowns – two of them on kickoff returns – as the University of Maine defeated Colgate 35-21 in a nonconference football game Saturday at Andy Kerr Stadium.

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Black Bears (2-2), who sacked Colgate quarterbacks eight times and established their running game for the first time since the opener. The Red Raiders dropped to 0-4.

Edwards returned a kickoff 100 yards to start the second half after helping Maine build a 21-7 lead just before intermission. With 49 seconds left in the second quarter he scored on a 40-yard pass from Chris Ferguson.

Later in the third, Edwards returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to help Maine expand its lead to 35-14 after Kenny Doak’s PAT. In all he had 198 yards on kick returns and 60 receiving yards on two catches.

Edwards, a senior, has six career kickoff returns for touchdowns – a school record. He also did it twice in a game against Elon last season.

The Black Bears, who averaged just 60 rushing yards in losses to Georgia Southern and Towson the past two weeks, rushed for 152 yards Saturday. Joe Fitzpatrick became the first Maine back to rush for 100 yards this season, gaining 102 on 16 carries. Emmanuel Reed had 62 yards on 15 carries. Each scored a touchdown.


The Maine defense, which came into the game with one sack in its first three games, recorded eight – its most since a nine-sack game at Delaware in 2012. Max Roberts had 2.5 sacks, two during one series in the third quarter. Kayon Whitaker added two sacks, Jamehl Wiley had 1.5 sacks, Alejandro Oregon got a solo sack, and Taji Lowe and Adrian Otero had a half-sack apiece.

Maine dominated Colgate in the first half, with a 228-103 advantage in total yards. The Black Bears scored on their first offensive series a 13-play, 76-yard drive capped by Fitzpatrick’s 1-yard touchdown run with 2:00 left in the first quarter. Maine converted all three of its third-down plays in the drive.

Maine expanded its lead to 14-0 midway through the second when Reed scored on a 5-yard rush and Doak converted the PAT. Colgate cut the lead to 14-7 after intercepting Ferguson deep in Maine territory. Jake Froschauer threw a 28-yard TD pass to Nick Diaco with 1:13 left in the half to cap a three-play drive.

Ferguson, who came into the game leading Football Championship Subdivision quarterbacks in passing yardage (370 per game), completed 8 of 19 passes for 165 yards.

Alex Mathews and Nick Draught rushed for second-half touchdowns for Colgate, which had a 320-317 advantage in yardage after pulling off big gains in the second half.

Maine returns to Colonial Athletic Association action next Saturday at Villanova. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m.

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