VILLANOVA, Pa. – It turned out the University of Maine football team had to compete against multiple opponents besides Villanova on Saturday. There was rain, snow and sleet, and the Black Bears played through it all to take a 41-25 win.

Quarterback Warren Smith passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to lead the Black Bears before several hundred hardy souls at Villanova Stadium.

The gametime temperature was 35 degrees with a mixture of rain and sleet and wind gusts reaching 24 mph. Despite attempts to clear the field prior to kickoff, the field was still covered with snow as the game began.

“Just real happy to come here and get a win, especially under the (weather) conditions,” Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove said. “It was a real challenge. I commend the guys for going 60 minutes. It was an important win for us. It keeps us in first place.”

Smith completed 17 of 22 passes for 251 yards and rushed for 74 yards on 10 carries to give Maine (7-1, 5-0 CAA) a 5-0 start in conference play for the first time since 1989.

“Our quarterback threw the ball very well today,” Cosgrove said. “(He) continues to grow and impress and make plays for us. I thought he was very, very accurate for the most part and smart with his throws.”

The Bears held a 13-6 lead to start the second half and seized control of the game after Villanova kicker Mark Hamilton missed his second short-distance field-goal attempt of the game, hitting the left upright from 26 yards.

Maine took over on its own 20, and on the first play Smith used a play-action fake and found receiver Arthur Williams wide open for an 80-yard touchdown pass that gave the Bears a 20-6 lead.

“We just had a good play-action fake,” Smith said. “Arthur comes across the middle and there was a big opening. The linebackers really bit on the run. I didn’t throw it as hard as I can, just made sure he caught it because he was wide open.”

Smith then scored on a 29-yard run with 4:31 left in the third quarter to give Maine a commanding 28-6 lead after backup quarterback Chris Treister ran in a 2-point conversion.

Villanova (1-8, 0-6) tried to rally as QB Chris Polony hooked up with Dorian Wells on a 60-yard TD pass that cut the deficit to 28-12, but the Wildcats could get no closer as the teams alternated touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

The Bears had TD runs of 2 yards and 1 yard by Pushaun Brown and David Hood, respectively, while Polony threw two TD passes to Mikey Reynolds.

Maine’s victory sets up a first-place showdown with Towson on Saturday afternoon at Alfond Stadium.

After Maine’s opening drive stalled, the Black Bears defense capitalized on a Villanova turnover to set up the first score of the game.

Bears safety Trevor Coston intercepted a pass by Polony and returned it 25 yards to the Villa-nova 36. Two plays later, Smith hit a wide open Maurice McDonald with a 33-yard touchdown pass to give Maine a 7-0 lead with 9:24 left in the first quarter.

Villanova had a chance to get on the scoreboard on the next series, but Hamilton was wide left on a 22-yard chip shot. It was his first miss after making 14 straight field goals.

The Wildcats would eventually score with 4:08 left in the second quarter as Austin Medley ran it in from 5 yards out, but the point-after was blocked by Bears linebacker Troy Russell, preserving Maine’s lead at 7-6.

Smith finished the first half 11 of 15 passing for 102 yards, while McDonald had seven receptions for 92 yards.

“(The footing) wasn’t that bad for me,” Smith said. “They shoveled the hashes, so I tried to stay near the hashes.”