ORONO — In its first three games, the University of Maine kept rotating running backs throughout each series, waiting for someone to “set the standard,” according to Coach Joe Harasymiak.

Freshman Josh Mack did just that Saturday at Alfond Stadium. Mack rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns to help the Black Bears rally past Bryant 35-31 for their first victory of the season.

“He’s the real deal,” Harasymiack said of Mack, who comes from Rochester, New York. “We saw that throughout our recruiting. When stuff’s not there, he makes stuff happen.”

Mack scored his touchdowns in the second half. He ran in from 2 and 25 yards in the third quarter, then gave Maine the lead with a 9-yard run with 10:36 left in the game.

“It feels good,” said Mack, who missed the game at Toledo for a violation of team rules. “I want to thank God, my offensive line and my coaching staff for believing in me.”

Mack was most impressive picking his holes from the backfield, often sliding along the line until he saw an opening, then accelerating through it.

Bryant Coach Marty Fine said Mack gave Maine a different dimension.

“His suddenness, his change of direction, his vision,” said Fine. “The speed he plays at is very fast, especially for a young man.”

Maine ran for 225 yards and that, said Harasymiak, was the difference.

HARASYMIAK EARNED his first head coaching victory, a milestone applauded by Fine – who entered the game with 99 career wins – and his players.

“I’m sure it’s the first of many wins here for him,” said Fine.

Maine quarterback Dan Collins said it meant a lot to the players to get him the win.

“It means the world to us,” said Collins. “He’s a hard worker, he’s here more than any of us. He deserved it.”

MAINE’S OFFENSIVE line had a different look against the Bulldogs. Cody Levy, who normally starts at right tackle, was suspended for the game for a violation of team rules.

Isaiah Brooks, who normally starts at right guard, moved over to Levy’s tackle spot. And Dan Burrows stepped into the right guard spot.

MAINE HAD only 155 yards of total offense in the first half – and that’s only because the Black Bears had 65 yards of offense on its final drive, which ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Dan Collins to Micah Wright on the last play of the half.

Mack began the play with a 20-yard run. Collins had an 11-yard run. Then Collins threw 31 yards to Wright to set up the touchdown.

After he scored, Wright saluted the members of the military who attended the game on Military Appreciation Day.

PAT RICARD had a strong game for Maine with eight tackles and three sacks totaling 18 yards in losses.

“That No. 5 for Maine, he’s some player” Fine said. “He changed the game sometimes by himself.”

Maine held Bryant to just 35 yards rushing.


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