ORONO — Maine cornerback Axel Ofori Jr. drew the toughest assignment Saturday against New Hampshire.

It was up to him to stop R.J. Harris, who entered with 74 catches, 1,158 yards and 13 TDs.

At halftime of New Hampshire’s 20-12 victory, Harris had one catch for a paltry 4 yards.

But twice in the third quarter, Harris made sensational catches along the sideline despite tight coverage from Ofori. Both came on third down to extend the Wildcats’ final scoring drive.

Ofori, playing his last game at Maine, felt he did a good job.

“I knew it was going to be tough but I’m up to the challenge,” Ofori said.

But what about those two catches?

“I’m picky on myself so I should have done something,” Ofori said as his coach, Jack Cosgrove, interrupted.

“Those are the NFL plays I’m referring to,” Cosgrove said in praise of Harris.

“To be great, you’ve got to make those plays,” Ofori said.

Harris had five catches for 62 yards. It was his second-worst statistical game of the season.

BLACK BEAR quarterback Drew Belcher landed heavily on his leg on the second-to-last offensive play of the game. He hobbled to the huddle but stayed in the game, throwing the clinching interception on the next play.

Did Cosgrove think about taking him out?

“We had no one to go to,” Cosgrove said. “I was the next guy in.”

Belcher, a true freshman making his fifth consecutive start in place of the injured Dan Collins, finished 8 of 19 for 68 yards in his worst outing.

He said his injured leg didn’t affect his final throw.

“It starts with me,” Belcher said. “A couple of times I have to give our receivers a chance to make the play and go through my reads a little quicker. I thought I was holding on to the ball too long. I’ve got to trust myself a little more and make quicker reads.”

Belcher was without his top wide receiver, Damarr Aultman, in the second half. Aultman was held without a catch in his final game and appeared to suffer a leg injury while fielding a second-half kickoff.

MAINE FINISHED an erratic season with a 5-6 record. In a weird statistical anomaly, it was actually in the Black Bears’ best interest to fall behind early. Maine was 1-6 in games when it scored first, including Saturday. It was 4-0 when its opponents scored first.


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