NEWARK, Del. – The University of Maine’s attempt to topple second-ranked Delaware was booby-trapped nearly from the start Saturday, leaving the Black Bears impressed with their opponent but filled with regret.

A fumble and a roughing penalty on a missed field goal led to the Blue Hens’ two first-half touchdowns, and that was enough of a foundation for Delaware to complete a 26-7 victory in a Colonial Athletic Association game before a crowd of 19,523 that included Vice President Joe Biden, a Delaware alumnus.

Maine fell to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the conference; Delaware improved to 6-0, 3-0.

“We needed a great start,” said Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove, who hoped to build on the momentum from last week’s overtime win over nationally ranked New Hampshire. “They got the momentum off of two scores. We just continue to make mistakes that are our own doing.

“It’s hard. Delaware’s an outstanding football team. To come to a place like this and get down early was not in the plan. But that’s what happened.”

Maine already trailed 26-0 when it scored on Warren Smith’s 2-yard pass to tight end Justin Perillo with 4:44 left in the third quarter. Perillo was playing not far from his Wilmington, Del., home.

Any chance of a comeback likely ended when, on Maine’s next series, Jared Turcotte was stripped of the ball after gaining first-down yardage on a pass from Smith, and Delaware recovered at its 24-yard line.

But the two earlier mistakes were costliest for the Black Bears. On the first play of Maine’s second series, Tyrell Jones caught Smith’s pass on the left side of the field at the Delaware 12. But safety Anthony Bratton jarred the ball loose as he tackled Jones, and linebacker Paul Worrilow picked up the bouncing football and ran 11 yards for a touchdown.

On Delaware’s subsequent series, Mike Perry’s 41-yard field goal was off the mark, but Maine was called for roughing the kicker and Delaware was given a second chance.

Two plays later, quarterback Pat Devlin, a senior transfer from Penn State and an NFL prospect, passed 10 yards to freshman tailback Andrew Pierce for the touchdown.

“We made too many mistakes against a good team,” Maine linebacker Donte Dennis said.

Delaware had its own first-half problems, having one field goal blocked by Omar Jacobs and settling for two other field goals by Perry. But Maine had a scoring chance of its own nullified when Smith’s pass on third-and-9 from the Delaware 18 glanced off Derek Session’s chest and was intercepted by cornerback Tyrone Grant at the 5.

Grant’s 47-yard return and a personal foul by Maine put Delaware at the Black Bears’ 33 and in position for its last field goal, which gave the Hens a 19-0 halftime lead.

“Something like that, when a bounce like that happens, it does take the wind out of you,” Smith said. “I thought we came out good in the second half. On the first drive we had, we went right down the field. We nickeled and dimed and threw the ball well and ran the ball well.

“But (the end of the first half) was kind of a killer. We were trying to get some points before halftime and they ended up getting three points out of it.”

Instead of being behind 16-7, Maine was down 19-0.

“Those things are happening way too often in our end of the world,” said Cosgrove, whose team’s three turnovers ran its total to 12 for the season. “We’ve never been a team that turns the ball over as much as we have this year.”

An 11-play, 69-yard march on the first drive of the second half allowed Delaware to take command, 26-0. It ended with Pierce’s 3-yard scoring run.

“That’s who they are,” Cosgrove said. “They’re a big, physical football team and they answer the bell well.”

Delaware outgained the Black Bears 430-237.

Turcotte, third in the conference with 90.2 rushing yards per game, had 55 on 11 carries. Smith was 19 of 29 for 156 yards.

Devlin completed 20 of 36 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown, but he had about a half-dozen passes dropped, including a sure touchdown by wide-open Tommy Crosby in the second quarter. Devlin was sacked twice.

“The quarterback had too much time,” Dennis said. “An offense like that, you can’t give a quarterback too much time.”

Pierce, the CAA’s leading rusher with 130.6 yards per game, gained 96 yards on 16 carries.

“We have a lot of work to do to fix the problems we create,” said Cosgrove.