ORONO — Generations have come and gone since the Maine football team tangled with Yale.

But two things haven’t changed: The Black Bears can’t beat the Ivy League program, and football teams that don’t take advantage of prime field position are bound to regret it.

Yale (4-1) made its first trip to Orono on Saturday a victorious one, dominating the second half to upend Maine 21-10 before a Homecoming crowd announced at 7,351 at Alfond Stadium. The teams were meeting for the first time in 78 years; Yale is now 8-0-1 against the Black Bears.

For Maine (2-4), a lifeless offense proved costly. Seven times the Black Bears started drives outside their 40, three in Yale territory. They got just three points to show for it.

“I don’t think we did a good job communicating. We’ve got to get all 11 guys doing the right thing for a play to work, and it just wasn’t happening,” said quarterback Dan Collins, who finished 19 of 49 for 199 yards with two interceptions. “I didn’t play well, obviously.”

Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove said he stuck with Collins because he didn’t think it would be fair to backup Drew Belcher to throw him into a game on a cold, wet afternoon.


“That’s probably something I’ll look back on with regret,” he said.

Ultimately, a defense that had been solid most of the day suffered crucial letdowns on two fourth-quarter Yale drives and was outscored 18-3 after leading 7-3 at halftime.

“I just felt like Yale, honestly they wanted it more than us,” said linebacker Randy Samuels, who led the Black Bears with 15 tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage. “They came out strong from the beginning; they made the big plays, we didn’t.”

Maine was leading 10-9 after three quarters when Yale started marching. Morgan Roberts threw a pass down the far sideline that tight end Leo Haenni leaped to snare one-handed while falling backwards for a 21-yard gain. On the next play, running back Deshawn Salter sprinted around his left end for a 17-yard touchdown that proved to be the winner. Salter carried 37 times for 139 yards and a pair of scores.

Maine, meanwhile, punted on three consecutive possessions with a chance to regain the lead, gaining only 27 yards in the process.

The Bulldogs turned the last of those punts into a 77-yard scoring drive to clinch the victory. The series was aided by two costly penalties on the Black Bears.


A holding call on linebacker Cabrinni Goncalves gave Yale its initial first down. Later, after Patrick Ricard tackled Salter for a 1-yard loss at midfield, backup defensive tackle Schuyler Huntington was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Roberts eventually scored on a 26-yard run virtually untouched up the middle with 4:07 remaining.

“The quarterback made a good play. He’d been making good plays all day,” Samuels said.

“We had the play called but we didn’t run it right.”

Cosgrove called the penalties, two of the seven that Maine drew, “angering.”

But he pointed back to the field position that the Black Bears couldn’t turn into points as the ultimate reason for their demise.

“They hung in there, they fought with us, they went toe to toe with us. It was a physical game on both sides of the ball and the longer, obviously, they were in the football game, the more confidence they gained,” Cosgrove said.

“We had great field position and we could just never make a play when we needed to. Poorly thrown balls, dropped balls, you name it.”

Maine returns to Colonial Athletic Association play at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday at home against Stony Brook.

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