ORONO – Football fans attending the University of Maine’s second date of the season at Alfond Stadium were treated to postgame fireworks.
It seemed rather redundant.
Particularly after the pyrotechnics put forth by the Black Bears, who scored four first-quarter touchdowns — including two on defense — and routed visiting Delaware 62-28 before 6,304 late Saturday afternoon.
The Black Bears (5-1) and Blue Hens (4-2) came in with identical records and national rankings of 23rd and 24th, respectively, among Football Championship Subdivision programs. A blowout seemed highly unlikely.
“We didn’t expect it to go this way,” said Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove. “We really didn’t. We thought it would be a fourth-quarter deal, but we had a great start.”
Indeed, Maine converted on its first two possessions and then tacked on touchdowns on a fumbled kickoff return and an interception to lead 27-2 barely 10 minutes into the game.
“We did a lot of the things (Saturday) that cause you to lose,” said Delaware Coach Dave Brock. “That by no means takes any credit away from Maine. Maine whipped us. Put a period on the end of it.”
The victory marks the midpoint of the 12-game regular season for Maine, whose 2-0 record in Colonial Athletic Association action joins that of Towson and Villanova in a three-way tie for first.
The Black Bears scored nine touchdowns against Delaware, and kicker Sean Decloux was 8-for-9 on PAT attempts, with the lone miss a blocked kick returned 90 yards for Delaware’s first two points.
Tailback Nigel Jones ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught four passes, including a 33-yard screen for another touchdown.
Quarterback Marcus Wasilewski completed 18 of 27 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. The other two came on a 24-yard post pattern to Damarr Aultman to cap Maine’s opening drive and a 10-yard over-the-shoulder catch by Isaiah Jones that marked the second of three third-quarter scores to dash any Delaware hopes of a comeback.
“That’s the biggest challenge,” said Wasilewski, of the early success leading to a sense of relaxation. “I think we lost that (urgency) in the second quarter and came out in the second half and did a better job of it.”
The Black Bears rolled up 337 yards on the ground. John Ebeling (86 yards on nine carries, including two touchdowns) moved from slot receiver to quarterback after making five catches of his own, good for 97 yards.
Isaiah Jones (82 yards on six carries), Sacoy Malone (44 yards on eight) and Wasilewski (18 on two) also contributed to Maine’s running attack.
“Going into the week, we game-planned that I would have some QB runs,” Ebeling said. “Our O line did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage.”
The only two turnovers resulted in Maine touchdowns. Cabrinni Goncalves jarred the ball loose during a Delaware kickoff return, and Sherrod Baltimore scooped it and scampered 20 yards to give Maine a 20-2 lead following the unusual blocked PAT return.
Not three minutes later, safety Michael Mangiarelli returned an interception 43 yards to make it 27-2.
Delaware pulled within three touchdowns at halftime, trailing 34-15, but Maine scored on its first four possessions of the second half to salt the game away.
The Black Bears sacked Delaware quarterback Trent Hurley four times.
“It was just a great defensive effort,” said Westbrook native Trevor Bates, credited with 11/2 sacks..
And next, a Saturday without football. Unfortunate timing, in the view of Cosgrove.
“We just want to keep playing,” he said, “when you’re playing like this.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: