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With Win, Maine has Playoff Berth in Sight
ORONO – Now comes the big test. The University of Maine football team dispatched Iona College 55-7 Saturday at Alfond Stadium for its fourth straight win and head into the stretch run of its schedule with a playoff berth in sight.
Maine (6-3, 3-2 Colonial Athletic Association) dominated Iona (3-6) in every aspect of the contest, gaining 516 yards of total offense while allowing just 130 yards.
Maine plays Massachusetts next Saturday in Amherst, Mass., followed by a road game at Rhode Island on Nov. 15 and a home game against New Hampshire on Nov. 22. UMass and UNH are both ranked in the Football Championship Subdivision Top 25.
Maine’s only losses are to Iowa and two top-ranked CAA teams – Richmond and James Madison – putting the team in a strong position heading into its final three games.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, something I haven’t felt to this extent since I’ve been here,” said quarterback Michael Brusko, who completed 11 of 14 pass attempts for 141 yards. “I couldn’t ask for anything else. We control our own destiny.”
It’s been two years since the Black Bears had a legitimate chance to earn a playoff berth this late in the season. In 2006, the Black Bears had a 6-3 record heading into November.
Following consecutive victories against Delaware, Hofstra and Northeastern, Maine’s decisive win Saturday was important.
“I feel like this team continues to grow and understand what it feels like to win,” Maine coach Jack Cosgrove said. “It’s like my mentor Walt Abbott said to me, ‘It smells like fresh bacon in the morning.’ When you get a taste of it, you just want it all the time. It’s what I see with this football team.”
Maine got a 136-yard rushing effort from freshman Pushaun Brown and touchdowns from six different players.
Brusko (1-yard run), Brown (3-yard run), Jhamal Fluellen (2-yard run) and Jared Turcotte (4-yard run) each scored touchdowns. Fluellen also hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass.
In the second half, Maine scored three more touchdowns: Roosevelt Boone scored twice on 1-yard runs and Brusko connected with Landis Williams on an 18-yard TD pass.
Redshirt freshman Chris Treister of Portland got the first snaps of his college career, entering the game for Brusko with 39.3 seconds left in the third quarter.
He first engineered an eight-play drive that stalled on a fourth-and-20 at the Iona 26 following a holding call.
With 6 minutes, 26 seconds to play, Treister conducted his first touchdown drive, a seven-play, 38-yard drive capped by Boone’s final TD.
Tufts 17, Colby 10: Tufts University scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to pull away for a victory in a New England Small College Athletic Conference football game Saturday in Somerville, Mass.
Chris Copeland led Colby’s defense with 13 tackles, a fumble recovery, and two pass break-ups. Gardiner Parker added 11 tackles, while John Murphy and Alex Halls both had eight tackles. Tom Daley finished with seven stops and Sam Handler had two sacks among his six tackles and forced two fumbles.
David Halas caught two touchdown passes for Tufts (4-3) and Adam Auerbach booted a 34-yard field goal.
Nick Kmetz got his first start at quarterback for Colby (3-4) and picked up his first collegiate touchdown on a 10-yard scoring run with 6:47 left in the third quarter. Skowhegan’s Victor Gagne made a 22-yard field goal for the Mules.
Maine Maritime 42, Coast Guard 34: Jim Bower ran for a game-high 131 yards and a touchdown as the Mariners took the New England Football Conference win in Castine.
Maine Maritime rushed for 368 yards and got a career day from linebacker Wade Mondoux, who collected 26 tackles and recovered a fumble in the victory. Quarterback Tyler Angell ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns for Maine Maritime (6-3, 5-1 NEFC).
Bowdoin 55, Bates 14: Bowdoin accumulated 595 yards of total offense and scored its most points since 1951 in a victory over Bates in Brunswick.
Kents Hill graduate Oliver Kell threw for 254 yards and ran for 92 to lead Bowdoin (3-4). Greg Pierce ran for 122 yards for the Polar Bears, who ran for 341 yards as a team.
With win, Maine has playoff berth in sight
By Jenn Menendez, The Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel (ME)