ORONO — After a mediocre first half, the University of Maine football team figured things out on both sides of the ball in the second half Saturday against Long Island University.

The result was a 24-13 win for the Black Bears in front of a sellout Homecoming crowd of 8,588 fans.

It was the largest crowd at Alfond Stadium since the 2018 Homecoming game drew 9,248 to see the Black Bears defeat Albany. Maine improved to 2-5 with the nonconference win over the Sharks. Long Island dropped to 1-5.

“We really played well in the second half,” Maine Coach Jordan Stevens said. “A lot of good things all around. A good team win.”

The Sharks controlled the fast half, gaining 265 yards to Maine’s 135. The Black Bears had to adjust to Long Island’s speed, Stevens said, and they did in the second half. Maine had a 204-92 edge in yards over the final two quarters.

“It was really just us settling down as a defense in the second half,” said Maine cornerback Kahzir “Buggs” Brown, whose fourth-quarter interception helped the Black Bears clinch the win. “We get too locked in, we mess up. We had to dial it back, trust out techniques, trust our coaching. You know, going back to the fundamentals and just going out there and playing football. React instead of thinking.”


Brown’s pick came with 6:23 left, shortly after Cody Williams made a 30-yard field goal to push Maine’s lead to 24-13. Brown jumped in front of the intended receiver and returned the ball 12 yards to midfield.

“They kept running the same route a lot. They ran switch curls, and I was waiting on it all game. I got a good break on the ball and was able to make a play,” Brown said.

Offensively, the Black Bears were able to mix up the pass and run in the second half. With starting running back Tristen Kenan out because of an injury, Tavion Banks – who returned from a shoulder injury last week – finished with 21 carries for 73 yards. Wideout Joe Gillette had eight catches for 102 yards – his second straight 100-yard game.

Maine took the lead for good on the opening series of the second half when Jamie Lanson caught a 2-yard pass from Derek Robertson for a 14-10 lead. The methodical drive went 85 yards in 14 plays and chewed nearly seven minutes off the clock.

The Black Bears were ahead 14-13 when they scored again on the first play of the fourth quarter, a 51-yard pass from Robertson to Trevin Ewing down the left sideline.

“That’s a play we worked on all week in practice. (Ewing) ran a great route and made a great play,” said Robertson, who was 20 of 32 for 235 yards and three touchdowns.


The game began ominously for the Black Bears. Long Island scored on its third play, a 71-yard catch by Michael Love from Ethan Greenwood.

The Sharks looked poised to increase the lead later in the first quarter, but Maine defensive back Damon Matthews forced the ball from Chris Howell’s hands before he could cross the goal line. The ball hit the pylon at the front of the end zone, giving Maine a touchback at the 20.

The Black Bears took advantage, moving 80 yards in 14 plays to tie the game on Montigo Moss’ 13-yard catch with 1:14 left in the first quarter.

“I thought we’ve done well all year with taking advantage of turnovers and scoring,” Stevens said.

Down 10-7 late in the second quarter, Maine wasted a scoring opportunity when a 32-yard field goal attempt by Williams was wide right. Matthews then came up with another big play, blocking a 34-yard field goal try by LIU’s Michael Coney just before halftime.

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