ORONO — It was a scary combination for the Maine football team in the third quarter Saturday. A kicker who struggled, a freshman center making his first snap and an opponent who leads the nation in blocked kicks.

The result was predictable and disastrous for the home team in Maine’s 21-10 loss to Yale.

The Black Bears led 7-3 with 9:19 left in the third quarter when Sean Decloux lined up for a 42-yard field-goal attempt. Freshman John Kay came on to handle the snapping duties with Jeremy Salmon injured. The snap was low, the kick was low and Copache Tyler of Yale swallowed it up. Yale then marched 58 yards for its first touchdown.

“Our block unit, that’s a direct correlation between how hard you play on defense,” Yale Coach Tony Reno said after his team’s fifth blocked kick of the season. “If you’re able to play hard on that play, give everything you have on that play, we tell our kids that just shows what type of defensive player you are. So our guys don’t take those plays off.”

Decloux missed one extra point and had another blocked last week against Albany. He is 7 of 11 on field goals after later making a 35-yarder Saturday.

“We had a little bit of a Nervous Nellie in there at center. John Kay, it’s his first snap, and let’s just say he didn’t really help us with his initial protection,” Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove said. “But the kick was low.”

Reno said the play gave his team a needed lift.

“That was a nice drive Maine put together and they could have put some points on the board to distance themselves a little from us, and for us to get off the edge and get some penetration, those are huge momentum plays,” he said.

MAINE DOESN’T play Ivy League teams often these days, but Saturday’s loss dropped the Black Bears to 4-33-1 all-time against them. It snapped a three-game winning streak for the Black Bears against Ivy League schools. Yale hasn’t lost to Maine in nine meetings. Maine defeated Dartmouth in 1998, Brown in 1988 and Princeton in 1981.

AMONG THE injured for the Black Bears were starting tight end Salmon, backup linebacker Austin Brown and wide receiver/punt returner Justin Flores. Salmon was replaced in the lineup by Jason Simonovich, but his absence may have been felt the most at long snapper. Spencer Carey handled those duties, and floated one snap over the head of punter James DeMartini in the second quarter. DeMartini recovered the ball and had the presence of mind to get off a kick under heavy pressure. During the game, wide receiver Jaleel Reed limped to the sideline after taking a jarring hit on an incomplete pass. Wide receiver Jared Osumah met the same fate later in the second quarter. Neither returned to the game. … Maine celebrated its Homecoming and the 150th anniversary of the university by wearing throwback jerseys, holding a parade on campus and honoring the members of its 1965 team that played in the Tangerine Bowl, the school’s only bowl appearance. About 25 players from that team, which finished 8-2 after losing 31-0 to East Carolina in the bowl game at Orlando, Florida, returned to campus to watch the men’s basketball team scrimmage in the morning, take part in the parade and also be recognized at halftime of the football game.