DURHAM, N.H. — All season long, the University of Maine’s offense has been carried by explosive plays by its wide receivers. Saturday afternoon, the University of New Hampshire didn’t let any of them get loose.

New Hampshire held freshman quarterback Joe Fagnano to just 183 passing yards – the fewest in any of his six starts – and recorded five sacks in a 28-10 victory. The 10 points by Maine were the fewest it scored this year.

“I thought they tackled and covered well,” said Maine Coach Nick Charlton. “When we tried to take shots downfield they tried to limit that … They just didn’t give up the big play and they tackled very well. In big moments in that game we didn’t come up with the big play and they did.”

Fagnano, who completed 18 of 31 passes, said Maine was prepared for New Hampshire’s pass defense.

“Obviously we just didn’t come out and execute,” said Fagnano, who this year had thrown the three longest touchdown passes in Maine history (90, 88 and 87 yards). “It’s hard to take those (deep) shots when you’re not executing first.”

“Our guys found a way to keep them in check all day,” said New Hampshire interim coach Ricky Santos.

“It started up front, we did a good job getting pressure. The guys at the second level tackled well and I thought the guys in the back did a really good job disguising coverages. I think they tricked the freshman quarterback a couple of times.”

EARNEST EDWARDS became Maine’s all-time  leader in receiving yards with a 20-yard catch late in the second quarter, giving him 2,625 career yards. He surpassed Sergio Hebra (2,612 yards), who played from 1984-87.

Edwards finished with four catches for 60 yards, giving him 2,641 career receiving yards.

THE WILDCATS rushed the Maine bench when the game ended to retrieve the Brice-Cowell musket, which has been presented to the winner of this game annually since the late 1940s. Maine captured it last year for the first time since 2010 with a 35-7 win in the season opener.

“It’s definitely a special moment,” said New Hampshire senior wide receiver Malik Love. ”

The musket is named after former coaches Fred Brice (of Maine) and William Cowell (of New Hampshire). The musket is a flintlock rifle made by Ebenezer Nutting of Falmouth between 1722-45. It has a barrel 43 inches in length.

MAINE HAS now lost nine consecutive games in Durham.

The last time Maine won in Durham was on Nov. 17, 2001, a 57-24 rout. The Black Bears rolled up 614 yards in total offense, with quarterback Jake Eaton completing 22 of 30 passes  for 343 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns, as did Royston English, who rushed for 158 yards.

That completed an 8-2 regular season for the Black Bears, who would go on to finish 9-3, advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Maine defeated McNeese State, 14-10, in the first round of the playoffs before losing to Northern Iowa, 56-28.

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