ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The University of Maine football team trailed by 21 with two-seconds remaining in the first half. The Black Bears were able to erase the deficit, outscoring Bryant 28-10 in the second half to complete a 35-31 comeback victory, the first of head coach Joe Harasymiak's career, on Saturday evening at Alfond Stadium.
Freshman Josh Mack led the attack, rushing for 151-yards and three touchdowns as Maine outgained Bryant 225-35 on the ground. Mack became the first to rush for three scores since Pushaun Brown did so on the same day (Oct. 1) in 2011 against Delaware.
Micah Wright caught five passes for 51-yards, including snatching a 2-yard fade from Dan Collins as time expired in the first half, jump starting Maine's momentum.
Collins finished 14-for-30 with 180-yards and two touchdowns while Jaleel Reed chipped in four catches, a team-high 81-yards receiving and a touchdown.
Bryant's Dalton Easton attempted 53-passes, completing 27 for 318-yards and four touchdowns, three of which going to Matt Sewall.
The Black Hole defense limited Bryant to just 25-yards on the ground, led by senior Pat Ricard's eight tackles and three sacks. Jason Matovu and Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga each added eight stops while DeAndre Scott notched an interception and six tackles.
Two touchdowns in the first quarter and one late score in the second lifted the Bulldogs to an early 21-0 lead.
Maine began its comeback late in the second quarter when Collins and the offense demonstrated great clock management, beginning its last drive of the half with 38-seconds remaining. Mack's first down carry of 20-yards began the movement as Collins hit Wright for 31-yards down to the Bryant 3-yard line. Maine ran a fake spike play and instead, Collins hit Wright on a corner fade for the score.
The Black Bears trailed 21-7 at the break.
Bryant tacked on a field goal on its first possession of the second half, extending its lead to 17.
Maine settled in and answered as Mack scored from 2-yards out, the first of his three second half scores.
However, the Bulldogs again had an answer as Easton hit Sewall for an 18-yard score and Maine again found itself down 17 with 3:57 left in the third quarter.
Collins pulled the Black Bears within 10 when he hit Reed for a 38-yard score. Maine's defense needed a stop and they got one. Three-straight incompletions by the Bulldogs forced the visitors to punt. Wrights 53-yard return put Maine back in great field position, at the Bryant 25. Mack wasted no time, taking the first down carry to the house to shrink the Bryant lead all the way down to three heading into the fourth quarter.
The Black Hole again made a stop, forcing Bryant to punt just 1:20 later.
Collins the offense went to work, looking for its first lead of the day early in the fourth. The Black Bears worked their way down the field before Collins his Jared Osumah for a 16-yard strike, setting Maine up first and goal at the Bryant 9. Mack gave the Black Bears a 35-31 lead with a 9-yard score and 10:36 left in the contest.
Maine forced back-to-back three-and-outs by Bryant and Scott intercepted the Bulldogs last hope with 1:34 to play, securing a 35-31 victory for the Black Bears.
Maine looks to carry its momentum back into Colonial Athletic Association action as it travels to take on Delaware on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m.
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