ALBANY — The University of Maine secondary, maligned most of the season, played like it had something to prove Saturday.

The breakdowns vanished and the secondary played as a unit in helping Maine to a 39-7 triumph over Albany before a sellout crowd of 8,500.

The win was the first on the road this year for the Black Bears (2-3, 2-1 CAA), who spoiled Homecoming for the Great Danes (2-4, 1-2) and avenged last season’s 20-7 loss in Orono.

“I was proud of the guys, especially after last week when we got our butts kicked (at Richmond),” said Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove.

“We had a great attitude all week in practice and mentally we were ready.”

The defense held Albany to 22 yards in the first quarter as the Black Bears built a 20-0 lead.

“We wanted to keep giving them three-and-outs every time,” defensive end Mike Kozlakowski said. “That’s the mindset we had every time we stepped on the field.”

Cosgrove never believed his secondary was as bad as its recent outings, especially giving up 319 passing yards at Richmond. Extra time on the practice field and film room was mandatory this week.

“It wasn’t like they weren’t working hard before, but sometimes these guys were victimized by some back shoulder throws,” Cosgrove said. ”We had to push them in practice and they showed they had confidence … in themselves.”

Cornerback Najee Goode was in on seven tackles and had two huge pass deflections.

“We knew we needed to come back stronger,” Goode said. “Our confidence is high right now but we know we still have a lot of work to do.”

Quarterback Dan Collins had his best road game this season and the Black Bears produced their highest point total. He hit on nine of his first 10 passes and shredded Albany with big plays.

Collins hooked up with Jordan Dunn on 11 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Micah Wright and Jaleel Reed also caught TD passes, and Collins and Nigel Beckford each ran for a score.

“The blocking was great,” Collins said. “We did a great job of playing together.”

Collins had one interception.

Albany’s top running back, Elliot Croskey, was held to 14 yards. The Black Bears limited the Great Danes to 172 yards and amassed 469.

Maine took Albany out of its running game early by building a big lead, forcing passes.

Kozlakowski led the Black Bears with two sacks and numerous pressures.

“(He) did a nice job of pressuring the quarterback,” Cosgrove said.

Patrick Ricard added 21/2 sacks.

The Black Bears broke the game open with a 29-yard field goal by Sean Decloux and a Wright 33-yard touchdown catch from backup quarterback Drew Belcher to make it 32-7.

Belcher added a second touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

The Black Bears bottled up quarterback D.J. Crook and the offense throughout the game.

After Cosgrove elected to defer on the opening kick, Albany failed to move the ball. Following a punt, the Black Bears had the ball on the Albany 43.

Six plays later, Collins connected with Dunn on a 13-yard fade pass to the left corner of the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 9:53 left in the first quarter. Collins then scored on a 1-yard run with 7:10 left for a 13-0 lead.

The key was a 51-yard pass to Wright to the 3.

“Micah’s got great hands,” Collins said. “We saw on film how their safeties would move on play action and went with it.”

Maine made it 20-0 with 4:43 to go in the quarter when Beckford plunged over from the 1. After Albany made it it 20-7, Maine added an 18-yard field goal by Decloux with three seconds left in the half.

“I wanted to go for the touchdown,” said Cosgrove, “but the guys on the phone said to be smart and take the points.”

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