ORONO – The merciless power of the Colonial Athletic Association steam rolled into Maine on Saturday.

Sixth-ranked Villanova picked apart the University of Maine on its raw, blustery homecoming and handed the Black Bears their fifth loss, 48-18.

The loss unofficially ended any chance of a postseason berth for Maine (2-5, 1-3 CAA).

The defending national champions put a fork in the Black Bears by halftime, running to a 27-3 lead with a dominating quick-strike offense.

Twice, quarterback Chris Whitney found receivers wide open in the middle of the field for long touchdown receptions.

The Wildcats amassed 559 yards and converted 10 of 14 third downs. Whitney passed for 322 yards and three touchdowns, getting all the time in the world to throw from his offensive line.

“We played an outstanding football team,” said Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove. “I thought they played very well, and we didn’t do the things we needed to do, obviously, to beat a team of that level of talent.”

Maine got in trouble early, going down 14-0 by the end of the first quarter.

Whitney drove his team 97 yards on 12 plays and ran it in from the 1 for the first touchdown.

Defensive back Martel Moody picked off Maine quarterback Warren Smith on the next series, and the turnover proved costly for the Black Bears.

The Wildcats went 82 yards on five plays, ending with Whitney’s 63-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Angelo Babbaro with 49 seconds to play in the first quarter.

“We had some drives where we moved and executed,” said Smith. “I missed a couple throws. We didn’t catch every football. We have to execute. When it comes down to it you have to make plays. Our record and the scoreboard shows that right now we’re not.”

Brian Harvey kicked a 28-yard field goal to make it 14-3, but the Wildcats scored again when Whitney threw a 73-yard pass to Dorian Wells with 4:10 to go in the half. The point after was no good.

“The first half is where the thing got away from us,” said Cosgrove. “We flat out blew a couple of coverages, where they got those two big plays. That’s where the game got away.”

Despite 25 yards in penalties on its final drive of the half, Villanova still managed to score when Whitney found Norman White in the end zone to make it 27-3 with 20 seconds to play in the half.

“Our O-line played unbelievably,” said Whitney. “It gave me so much time to throw. On a couple of third downs I was sitting back there forever.

“We knew their front seven was good and we’d have to throw the ball to beat them.”

Maine scored in the third quarter, a 66-yard drive that included a 20-yard completion by Chris Treister on a fake punt. Smith found Session wide open for the score and hit Jeff Falvey for the 2-point conversion to make it 27-11.

But the Wildcats quickly regained momentum.

Babbaro scored on a 28-yard rush later in the third to make it 34-11.

In the fourth, Whitney rushed for another score and threw a 14-yard touchdown completion to Mikey Reynolds to make it 48-11 with 8:33 to go.

Treister spearheaded a fourth-quarter scoring drive, going 73 yards in 3:20 and finishing with an 18-yard pass to Pushaun Brown to make it 48-18.

NOTES: Maine linebacker Mark Masterson returned to the lineup, but fellow linebacker Levi Ervin did not. … Two Maine defensive backs, Dom Cusano (ankle sprain) and Trevor Coston, were helped off the field by game’s end.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]