WEST LONG BRANCH , N.J. – Eight days after stumbling in every way imaginable on offense in a season-opening loss, the Maine Black Bears rebounded Saturday by producing multiple big plays in a 31-23 victory over Monmouth University at Kessler Field.

Take the second quarter, for instance. After Monmouth grabbed its only lead at 10-7, Jared Turcotte, who went on to run for 144 yards and three scores, took a handoff on fourth-and-1 and bounced it outside for a 51-yard touchdown burst.

Or the third quarter, when quarterback Warren Smith, benched at halftime against Albany, connected with Derek Sessions on a 49-yard completion down field, setting up a 22-yard TD run by Sessions on the next play to give the Black Bears a 21-10 cushion.

“We just executed poorly last week,” said Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove. “It’s been kind of a strange two-year cycle here. In ’08 we led the conference in rushing, last year we led it in passing, and last week we were as bad in both areas as I’ve ever seen our football team.”

In all, Maine rolled up 433 yards of offense against the Hawks. Smith threw for 194 yards, completing 17 of his 26 attempts.

“That all comes with a good run game,” said Smith. “We played well up front and had a good surge all day.

“That helps us open the passing game, and we showed it. … We want to be a balanced attack.”

The defense came up with a number of key stops at critical junctures, limiting Monmouth to just a field goal on its final two possessions with the game hanging in the balance.

The special teams did their part, as well. When Monmouth cut the lead to the 24-20 midway through the fourth quarter, Steven Barker returned the ensuing kickoff 64 yards to the Hawks’ 17-yard line, with Turcotte scoring three plays later to make it 31-20.

The Black Bears got their first points of the season on a 70-yard, first-quarter drive.

Purshaun Brown’s 20-yard gain advanced the ball to the Monmouth 5-yard line, before Turcotte went the final 2 yards to make it 7-0 with 3:31 left in the first quarter.

After producing just 21 yards of offense in the first quarter, Monmouth finally got untracked as the second quarter got under way, driving 37 yards to set up a 32-yard field goal by freshman Eric Spillane.

Gaining confidence on both sides of the ball, the Hawks’ defense produced a three-and-out, before the offense, with good field position at their own 44, went right back to work.

Quarterback Kyle Frazier capped the drive by scrambling 16 yards for a touchdown to give the Hawks a 10-7 lead with 5:13 left in the first half.

With Maine leading 14-10 with just over a minute left in the second quarter, Monmouth had a fourth-and-inches from the Black Bears’ 3-yard line.

The Hawks bypassed a short field goal and line up in a wildcat formation, with running back L.J. Caprio taking the snap.

But Caprio could not handle the ball, and the play resulted in an 8-yard loss.