ORONO — What to do with the University of Maine’s kicking game?

Coach Joe Harasymiak isn’t sure.

“I don’t have an answer for that one,” he said Saturday following the 26-7 loss to nationally ranked Villanova at Alfond Stadium.

Among the key moments of the game was another missed field goal by Maine, a 24-yard attempt by Patrick Leonard that would have made it 3-3 in the second quarter.

That made Leonard 1 of 6 on the season for field goals – two have been blocked – and the team 1 of 7.

“We might have to change it up, do something different,” said Harasymiak. “We probably will just start going for it every time.”

Quarterback Dan Collins said the misses don’t affect the players during the game, but this one certainly impacted Maine’s decision-making later in the game.

Trailing 13-7 midway through the third quarter with a fourth-and-goal from the Villanova 15, Maine didn’t bother with a field-goal attempt. Instead it tried a trick play that resulted in Sterling Sheffield being tackled for a 6-yard loss.

“That’s been called before,” Harasymiak said of the fourth-down play. “Obviously from missing that field goal earlier there’s not a lot of confidence in that. We’ve got to come up with ways to get into the end zone rather than miss field goals. We’ve got to finish it off.”

Maine has had kicking issues going back to last year, when it was only 12 of 21.

In fact, according to Rich Kimball, the Maine radio play-by-play announcer, Maine has hit hit only three of its last 16 attempts.

Maine has three kickers: Leonard, a sophomore from Bangor who played at John Bapst High; Derek Deoul, a redshirt freshman from Washingtonville, New York; and Brandon Briggs, a freshman from Saco and Thornton Academy.

Deoul has missed one field-goal attempt this year.

Harasymiak said they hit the field goals in practice. “That’s why I decided to kick it today,” he said.

Going forward, he said he’ll think twice.

“The writing’s on the wall. We’re 1 for 7,” he said. “A couple have been blocked but there’s just not a lot of consistency. We’ve just got to do some things there.”

Villanova, meanwhile, got a great game from its kicker, sophomore Gerard Smith.

He kicked the two longest field goals of his career, from 42 and 43 yards. “It’s not normally our forte,” said Coach Andy Talley.

He said those kicks were both outside Smith’s normal range of 35 yards but added, “I had a gut that he was kicking better and he was right on today.”

THIS WAS Talley’s final game in Orono. “I’m going to miss the beautiful foliage,” he said. “I will miss the lobster and the clams. I will not miss coming up here to play in November. We caught a break today. This is like a day at the beach for me.

“It’s a special place. Maine’s a special place.”

Talley admitted he didn’t have any lobster on this trip because the last time he did on a visit here, Maine beat Villanova.

NIGEL BECKFORD, the junior running back who missed the last three games after breaking a bone in his left leg in a 28-21 victory at Delaware on Oct. 8, made a surprise return to the lineup for Maine.

He finished with three carries for 7 yards.

Also returning to the Black Bears’ lineup was safety DeAndre Scott, who missed the last three games with a sprained left foot.

Maine lost running back Darian Davis-Ray, the team’s third-leading rusher with 262 yards, on the fourth play of the game when he was injured blocking on a punt return.