ELON, N.C. — Nigel Beckford rushed for two touchdowns to help the University of Maine football team beat Elon 24-17 in a Colonial Athletic Association game Saturday.

The Black Bears, making their first trip to Elon to face the newest member of the CAA, won their third straight game to improve to 5-5, 4-3 in the conference. Elon falls to 1-10, 0-7.

Beckford rushed for 104 yards on 24 carries for Maine, which had 196 rushing yards in the game. Elon gained only 24 yards on the ground and turned the ball over three times.

“We got after their quarterback and running backs pretty well,” said Maine defensive end Trevor Bates, who had five tackles and a sack.

“We just knew we had to play with confidence. We wanted to get after their quarterback and get off the field as quickly as possible.”

Maine led 24-10 after Beckford scored his second touchdown of the game on a 29-yard screen pass from quarterback Drew Belcher, then had to hang on for the win.

The Phoenix had a chance to tie the game with 19 seconds left. They got within 24-17 when Mike Quinn completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kierre Brown with 11:35 left in the fourth quarter. That score was set up by Belcher’s second interception.

Elon got the ball back late in the game and had the ball at its own 46, but Quinn’s pass to Justin Osborne fell short and Maine was able to kill the clock.

“It’s a long football game, and you would like to have those two throws back, but when stuff like that happens you’ve just got to keep going,” said Belcher, who finished 18 for 27 for 191 yards and two touchdowns. “Every single team you play, it’s going to come down to making plays in the fourth quarter.”

Earlier in the fourth, Maine’s Alex Ofori picked off a Quinn pass at the Black Bears’ 31 as Elon was driving to try to tie the game.

“We were in man coverage and I just followed the receiver, I saw the tight end go to the other side, and I saw the ball come up and I got it,” Ofori said. “During that stretch in the fourth quarter, the coaches told us to calm down, and correct our mistakes, it wasn’t over.”

The Black Bears fell behind 7-0 when Adrian McClendon picked off a Belcher pass on the first drive of the game and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. The Black Bears tied the game on a 2-yard run by Beckford late in the first quarter took the lead when Damarr Aultman caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Belcher early in the second quarter.

“I thought Elon did a great job of defending us,” Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove said. “They did a good job pressuring our quarterback. I thought our defense hung in there, especially against a team that throws as well as they do.”

Maine is now 4-1 all-time against teams from the state of North Carolina, having beaten Appalachian State twice, and also Shaw University.

The Black Bears lost to Western Carolina.

The Black Bears end their season next Saturday when they host the No. 1 team in the country, New Hampshire.