KINGSTON, R.I. — Improbable? Nah, last week was improbable.

This one was stunning, mind-boggling, jaw-dropping, even a little outrageous.

For the second straight week, Kenny Doak kicked a field goal as time expired to lift the University of Maine to victory, this time with a 39-yarder Saturday as the Black Bears rallied past Rhode Island 38-36 before 7,301 at Meade Stadium.

“To overcome what we overcame, on the road, and to deal with the circumstances that came up during the game, that’s what this team is all about,” said Maine Coach Joe Harasymiak.

“We were up against it today, man, we were up against it today. We’ve got a lot of things to fix, but these kids showed you how bad they wanted to win today. And that’s all that matters. All they wanted to do was win for each other.”

The victory lifted the Black Bears to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, where they remain in first place. Rhode Island dropped to 4-2 and 2-1.

“Tough loss,” said Rhode Island Coach Jim Fleming. “Kind of breaks your heart.”

Maine won despite compiling 197 yards in penalties, despite falling behind by 16 in the third quarter, despite giving up the lead with 51 seconds left on a drive where the defense committed five penalties.

The Black Bears won because Chris Ferguson, playing for the first time since Sept. 22 when he suffered a shoulder injury, was masterful on the final drive, completing 4 of 6 passes for 47 yards to move the Black Bears to the Rams’ 21.

There, Harasymiak called a timeout with five seconds left and sent out Doak, who last week kicked a school record-tying 52-yard field goal on the final play to beat Villanova. His 39-yarder was true. He then turned and sprinted down the field as his teammates leaped in delirious celebration.

“I just want to win it for the guys,” said Doak. “Obviously this week stuff didn’t go our way but it’s not over until the whistle blows. I knew I was going to get an opportunity. I have trust in (Ferguson) and all the wide receivers. Just get me in range.”

Ferguson completed 30 of 48 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns – to Devin Young and Micah Wright (10 catches, 125 yards) in his return – and scored on a 9-yard scramble with 2:28 remaining to give Maine the lead for the first time since the game’s first drive, when Jeff DeVaughn scooped up a fumbled lateral and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown.

Then the fun began.

The Rams took over at their 25 and immediately faced a fourth-and-7. Vito Priore found Marven Beauvais for 21 yards. Then Rhode Island faced a fourth-and-10 at its 49. Priore’s pass was incomplete but Charles Mitchell of Maine was called for roughing the passer.

After an incompletion, Manny Patterson was called for pass interference, moving the Rams to the Maine 21. There, Priore threw 16 yards to Aaron Parker. Another roughing-the-passer penalty (on Deshawn Stevens) on the play moved the ball to the 2. Priore found Parker in the left corner on a fade route and the Rams led 36-35. But Patterson broke up the 2-point conversion pass to Parker.

“We knew we had to make one more stop,” said DeVaughn. “Just tried to get a chance for (Doak).”

Ferguson knew the Black Bears could do it, even starting at the 25 with 51 seconds left.

“We practice that every week. We did it all during camp,” he said. “That’s a testament to all the work we put in the offseason, the trust I have in the guys. We took care of business.”

It started with a 15-yard completion to Wright, who got out of bounds. After a sack, Ferguson hit Jaquan Blair for 16 yards. After a Rams penalty for too many men on the field, Ferguson found Wright for 10 yards, Wright again getting out of bounds.

On second down from the Rams’ 32, Ferguson passed 6 yards to Joe Fitzpatrick, who got out of bounds with 13 seconds left.

Rhode Island was called for a second illegal participation penalty, moving the ball to the 21. Then Doak – now called “Kenny Clutch” by Ferguson – came on with five seconds left.

Asked if he knew the kick was going to be good, Doak’s teammates replied for him: “No doubt.”

Just like the win, right?

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH