VILLANOVA, Pa. — Last season, the University of Maine needed a clutch field goal by Kenny Doak with time expiring to defeat Villanova.

On Saturday, Villanova took all the drama out of the game early.

The Wildcats pounced to a 30-0 lead after 21 minutes and cruised to a 33-17 victory over Maine.

The Black Bears showed some life in the second half, but they were dominated in every aspect of the game early on. The Wildcats capitalized on big offensive plays, Maine turnovers and missed tackles by the Black Hole defense.

The loss drops Maine to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Black Bears won the conference title a year ago during a historic season that saw them advance to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals for the first time. This year, they’ve been outscored by two conference opponents 78-40.

Earnest Edwards accounted for both of Maine’s touchdowns. Just after halftime, he tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Andre Miller on a reverse play and then caught a 32-yard pass from Chris Ferguson with 3:07 remaining in the game. Edwards had 140 yards on four catches and Jaquan Blair had 12 receptions for 120 yards for Maine.

But dropped passes and a costly holding call kept the Black Bears from maintaining drives throughout much of the second half.

Quarterback Daniel Smith rushed for two touchdowns and threw a TD pass for Villanova (5-0, 2-0 CAA). The Wildcats’ defense blocked a punt, intercepted Ferguson twice in the first half and recovered a Curtis Murray fumble in the fourth quarter. The Black Bears did not force any turnovers.

This one got away from Maine quickly.

Villanova took the opening kickoff and marched on a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to take a quick 7-0 lead. But the game got ugly in a hurry on a sequence of plays after the Wildcats got the ball back following a Maine punt.

On a second-and-7 from the Villanova 23, Smith threw to a wide-open Changa Hodge, who raced to the end zone for a 77-yard touchdown to up the lead to 13-0.

Maine was forced to punt after failing to gain a first down on its next series. The Wildcats blocked Derek Deoul’s kick and recovered the ball on the Maine 23. Four plays later Drew Kresge kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it 16-0 with 1:33 to go in the first quarter.

The Wildcats got the ball back on Maine’s next offensive snap, when Elijah Trent intercepted Ferguson. Villanova took the ball over on the Maine 26 and scored five plays later on Smith’s seven-yard touchdown run.

In all, the Wildcats expanded their lead by 16 points on just 10 offensive plays to make it 23-0.

Smith scored on another seven-yard TD after appearing to be wrapped up by Maine linebacker Adrian Otero, increasing Villanova’s lead to 30-0 with 9:12 left in the first half. Doak’s 44-yard field goal just before halftime finally got the Black Bears on the scoreboard.

Villanova had a 263-157 advantage in total yardage at the half, but Maine outgained the Wildcats 423-413 for the game.

Ferguson completed 29 of 49 passes for 347 yards. But Maine failed to find the offensive balance it’s been seeking. Joe Fitzpatrick led Maine in rushing with 53 yards on 11 carries; in all, the Black Bears rushed for 68 yards.

Maine has a bye next week before resuming conference play against Richmond at noon on Oct. 12 in Orono.

Comments are not available on this story.