University of Maine wide receiver Andre Miller, shown during training camp in August, caught eight passes for 136 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the Black Bears’ 33-20 win at New Hampshire on Saturday Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

DURHAM, N.H. — Senior wide receiver Andre Miller had missed the last two games for the University of Maine with a hamstring injury. There was no way, he said, he was going to miss Saturday’s game at New Hampshire.

Not with a winning season on the line, not with the Brice-Cowell Musket on the line. And he responded. Miller, a grad student from Old Town, caught eight passes for 136 yards and the go-ahead touchdown as the Black Bears rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat New Hampshire 33-20 at Wildcat Stadium.

That win ended Maine’s nine-game losing streak at New Hampshire, dating back to 2001, and enabled the Black Bears to finish with a 6-5 overall record, 4-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

“All the hard work and everything this team has been through, to cap it off like that is magical,” said Miller. “It means everything. I didn’t get to play when we played them here in 2019 (a 28-10 New Hampshire win) and I was thinking about that the whole time.

“I just wanted to leave my mark and get the musket back so we can keep it.”

Quarterback Joe Fagnano, playing in just his second game after missing seven starts with an ankle injury, was certainly happy to have Miller back. “He’s a difference-maker, obviously,” said Fagnano. “When he’s out there, he makes my job easier. He’s a big target, can do it all. The stats back it up.”

The two combined on two of Maine’s biggest plays of the game.

Trailing 13-0, Maine faced a third-and-19 at the New Hampshire 49. The two hooked up for a 20-yard completion on the right sideline. The next play, Freddie Brock broke loose for a 29-yard touchdown.

Then, with the game tied at 20 and Maine facing a second-and-6 from the Wildcats 30, Fagnano found Miller for a touchdown. Miller lined up in the right slot and cut across the field to  the left. No one picked him up. Fagnano hit him in stride at the 15 and he strolled in to give Maine a 27-20 lead with 7:42 left in the third quarter following Jonny Messina’s PAT kick.

“That was one of the easiest ones we’ve ever had,” said Fagnano. “He ran a good route, threw his hand up. I think he would have been pretty upset with me if I hadn’t thrown it to him.”

“I think they definitely busted the coverage,” said Miller. “I don’t know. Whoever was supposed to be back there wasn’t there. I threw my hand up and he made a good throw.”

MAINE WAS MISSING starting right guard Tyrie Francois, who suffered a foot injury last week in the 35-10 win over Massachusetts. He was replaced by Gunnar Ducos, from Harrison and Oxford Hills High. Also out were tight end Daniel Rymer, kick returner Trevin Ewing and special teammer Christian Thomas.

FORMER PORTLAND HIGH star Nathan Kapongo made his first collegiate start for New Hampshire at defensive tackle. He got significant playing time last week as well.

The Wildcats also have former Wells High standout Sean McCormack-Kuhman on their roster. He’s listed with six tackles in five games played. He played on special teams against Maine.

MAINE RUNNING BACK Freddie Brock was injured with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter and had to be carted off the field. He was leading Maine with 76 rushing yards at the time and had scored on a 29-yard touchdown run.

Earlier, with 12:25 left in the second quarter, New Hampshire linebacker Oleh Manzyk was taken off the field on a stretcher after he was injured making a tackle. His injury involved a 20-minute delay as he was secured to the stretcher.

New Hampshire head coach Sean McDonnell said Manzyk had pain in his neck but was able to move his extremities and was taken to a local hospital to make sure he “was going to be OK.” According to the New Hampshire medical staff, he was going to be released Saturday night.

Maine scored two plays after the lengthy delay, but McDonnell wasn’t sure how much it affected his team.

“I can’t tell that,” he said. “It was a long wait, yeah, but both teams had to wait.”

NICK CHARLTON had high praise for tight end Shawn Bowman afterward, and not for his 16-yard touchdown pass from Fagnano in the second quarter. Instead, it was for his fumble recovery in the fourth. Maine had just stopped the Wildcats on a fourth down play from the Maine 14 when Dorian Royal sacked quarterback Tommy Herrion for a 5-yard loss with Maine leading 33-20.

On first down, Elijah Barnwell ran left and fumbled. Bowman somehow scrambled down field and covered the ball to retain possession.R

“That was an unbelievable play by Shawn Bowman,” said Charlton. “I can’t wait to see it on film. It was tremendous effort and will to win when the ball was on the ground.”


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