TOWSON, Md. – Two years ago, Maine linebacker Mark Masterson scored a touchdown by returning an interception 79 yards against Northeastern. He went 3 yards more than that Saturday at Towson. He didn’t score, but the return helped pave the way for a 28-18 victory for Maine in a penalty-marred Colonial Athletic Association football game.

“We had not been getting a lot of turnovers compared to last year,” Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove said.

With Maine trailing 7-6, Masterson interception a pass at his own 16 on a deflected ball and returned it all the way to the Towson 2 with 13:22 left in the third quarter.

Michael Cole, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman, tipped the pass from Towson quarterback Bart Blanchard to set up the interception. On the next play, Pushaun Brown ran 2 yards for a touchdown, and the PAT by Brian Harvey gave the Black Bears a 13-7 lead.

Maine (4-6, 3-4 CAA) got the ball back late in the third quarter, and quarterback Chris Treister, in his first start of the season, ran in from the 1 to give the Bears a 19-7 lead.

Treister said he hurt his right hand on the play before the score when his finger hit the helmet of a Towson player, and his right index finger was wrapped after the game. Warren Smith came in for the 2-point conversion, but his pass was intercepted.

Treister started twice last year. He took over Saturday for Smith, who threw three interceptions in a loss against UMass on Nov. 6. Treister completed 9 of 17 passes Saturday before coming out after his injury.

“I was real excited. I have been here before,” Treister said. “We were inconsistent on offense, but we did what we had to to get a victory.”

A 36-yard field goal by Nick Wallace of Towson cut the lead to 19-10 with 13 minutes remaining.

Towson recovered a fumble by Smith with 6:17 left. But on the next play, Blanchard was picked off by Trevor Coston, who went 35 yards down the sideline for a TD to extend the Black Bears’ lead to 26-10.

“We made big plays in the second half defensively,” Cosgrove said.

Towson’s Tremayne Dameron ran for a touchdown with 2:18 left, and a two-point conversion pulled the Tigers to within 26-18. But Maine got a safety with 1:20 left when the Towson offense was called for holding in the end zone.

Brown gained 101 yards on 21 carries for the Black Bears and now has 1,010 yards in his career. Linebacker Vinson Givans led the defense with 13 tackles, and linebacker Donte Dennis had 10.

Harvey gave Maine a 3-0 lead with a 21-yard field goal in the second quarter. But Towson (1-9, 0-7) engineered an 81-yard drive midway through the quarter, and a 5-yard run by Dameron put the Tigers ahead 7-3.

Harvey’s second field goal made it 7-6 with 5:04 remaining in the first half. Towson’s Wallace missed a 39-yard field goal attempt with 47 seconds left in the half.

“We were tested. You guys responded defensively,” Cosgrove told his team after the game.