KINGSTON, R.I. — Chris Ferguson admitted he was a little “jacked up” Saturday at the start of the University of Maine’s game with Rhode Island.

And that’s understandable, considering the sophomore quarterback hadn’t played since Sept. 22 when he suffered an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder against Central Michigan.

In the end, he calmed down enough to lead the Black Bears on their winning drive, clinched when Kenny Doak kicked a 39-yard field goal on the final play for a 38-36 victory.

Ferguson completed 4 of 6 passes for 45 yards in leading the Black Bears from their 25 to the Rhode Island 21 in just 46 seconds, leading to Doak’s winning field goal. For the game, Ferguson had career highs in passes (44), completions (30) and yards (278).

He threw two touchdown passes and ran for a 9-yard touchdown, crashing over the goal line in a flip with 2:28 left to move Maine into a 35-30 lead.

“There’s a reason why he’s the starter,” said Coach Joe Harasymiak. “You saw those things today, especially in the two-minute drill, just the command of the offense.”

Ferguson connected with Micah Wright 10 times (a career high) for 125 yards, including two passes for 25 yards on the final drive. Wright wasn’t surprised at Ferguson’s performance.

“Even though he missed a month, the timing was there, the execution was there,” he said. “It’s like he never left, really. I can attest to the work he put in the last two weeks. … He worked hard to get back. He’s a hell of a player.”

FRESHMAN RUNNING back Daejuan Sanders gave the offense a boost with a team-high 57 yards on 10 carries.

MAINE HELD Rhode Island to 99 yards rushing. The Black Bears haven’t allowed a 100-yard rushing game this year.

MAINE DEFENSIVE end Kayon Whitaker was ejected with 12:46 left in the second quarter for an altercation with Rhode Island tackle Kyle Murphy. Both were tossed for throwing punches.

Before the penalties were announced, Harasymiak rushed onto the field and grabbed Whitaker to send him to the locker room.

“That’s not acceptable,” said Harasymiak.

Nor, he added, was the 16 penalties on Maine, including three for unsportsmanlike conduct on Rhode Island’s final drive.

“We’ve got to clean that up,” Harasymiak said.

RUNNING BACK Ramon Jefferson missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury. Defensive end Alejandro Oregon missed his third straight with a high ankle sprain and defensive tackle Andrew Stevens was out with a hip injury.

In addition, center Chris Mulvey left late in the second quarter with what appeared to be a hand injury. He was replaced by freshman Michael Gerace.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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