KINGSTON, R.I. -- The University of Maine football team (3-5, 2-3 Colonial Athletic Association) battled back from a five-point deficit late as Jerickson Fedrick's (Salem, N.H.) first career touchdown from 10-yards out with 5:18 left in the half proved to be the game-winner, giving the Black Bears a 20-14 win over at Rhode Island (0-8, 0-4 CAA) on Saturday afternoon.
Nigel Beckford (Bridgeport, Conn.) rushed for a career high 107-yards with a touchdown while freshman quarterback Drew Belcher (Reading, Mass.) added 84-yards on the ground while going 15-for-25 with 151 yards through the air.
Senior Damarr Aultman (Wheatley Heights, N.Y.) hauled in a game-high seven catches for 87-yards. Aultman's seven catches move him into ninth all-time in career receptions (148) while his 87-yards receiving place him tenth all-time (1,964).
As a whole, the Black Bears outgained Rhode Island 362-264, its most total yards all season, while carrying the ball for a season-best 211-yards.
Defensively, the Black Bears limited Rhode Island to 264-yards while Zachary Hume (Lancaster, Mass.) paced the attack with seven tackles. Trevor Bates (Westbrook, Maine) had the big play for the 'Black Hole' as he pulled down an interception while adding four stops.
After forcing a Maine punt on the Black Bears' first drive, the Rams began on their own 20-yard line. Harold Cooper moved the ball into Maine territory with a 40-yard rush on third and 13. The Rams again went to Cooper, this time for a 20-yard pass and catch off a wheel route to move the ball down to the Maine 28. Rhode Island capped its first drive with a three-yard rushing score from quarterback James Caparell with 5:40 gone in the opening quarter.
Belcher and the Maine offense were able to move the ball 46-yards in 12 plays on its second possession. Maine's freshman quarterback hit Arthur Williams (Springfield, Mass.) for 13-yards out over the 50-yard line. Belcher went to Jeremy Salmon (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) on third down as he lowered his shoulder, breaking a tackle for 10-yards to move the chains before Sean Decloux (Ottawa, Ontario) hit a 38-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 7-3.
Following a Rhode Island punt which rolled down to the Maine 12-yard line, the Black Bears again took over with a lot of field in front of them. However, Belcher was able to propel Maine down the field, using his legs for 14-yards and his arm for a 15-yard dump off to Williams. Back-to-back rushes from Belcher and Beckford moved Maine into the red-zone before the Black Bears completed a 16-play, 79-yard drive with a 26-yard field goal from Decloux midway through the second quarter.
Maine's defense came up big late in the second half as Mulumba Tshimanga was able to knock down a fake field goal pass attempt, keep the Rams off the board as Maine went to the locker room trailing 7-6 after one half of play.
Maine controlled play in the opening half, holding the ball for 21:29 on offense and running 40 plays to Rhode Island's 21.
The Rams came out of the half and started big as Myles Holmes took the opening kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown to give Rhode Island a 14-6 edge just 15-seconds into third quarter.
Maine's black hole defense came up with the play the Black Bears had been looking for as Bates was able to jump up and pull down an interception, returning it down to the Rhode Island 12-yard line. A face-mask on the Rams moved the ball to the six before Beckford bounced in for Maine's first third quarter score of the year. The Black Bears failed on a two-point conversion as they cut the lead to 14-12 with 2:57 left in the quarter.
Entering the fourth quarter, Maine's offense went to work behind Belcher as the freshman quarterback hit Aultman on back-to-back passes down the Rhode Island 32-yard line. A big 22-yard gain on the ground from Belcher moved Maine inside the opposing 5-yard line. However, facing 4th and 1 from the Rams' one-yard line, Decloux came on to try an 18-yard field goal. However, the kick would be missed wide left as Rhode Island maintained a 14-12 left with just over nine minutes left in the half.
Belcher again came up big late as, facing a 3rd and 16, he hit Aultman down the right sideline for 46-yards to the Rams' 20-yard line. Maine kept plugging away late until Fedrick broke one tackle before crossing the goal line. A two-point conversion from Belcher to Salmon put Maine up 20-14 with 5:18 left.
Maine's defense was able to hold its own late as John McCabe (Winslow, Maine) pressured Caparell on fourth down, forcing a bad throw and turning the ball back over to the Black Bears, sealing the 20-14 victory.