PITTSBURGH, Pa. –- The University of Maine football team battled hard, but fell to Big East foe Pittsburgh by the score of 35-29 on Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field. Maine is now 1-1 on the year while Pittsburgh is 2-0.
Michael Cole (North Brunswick, N.J.) got the Black Bears off to a great start, sacking Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri on the first play of the game.
The Panthers recovered and would score to take a 6-0 lead with 10:28 left in the first quarter.
Pittsburgh would kick a couple of field goals to make it 12-0, but Warren Smith (Forked River, N.J.) found Derek Buttles (Pike, N.Y.) in the front corner of the end zone and Buttles made a terrific leaping catch while losing his helmet and a defender all over him.
The Brian Harvey (Wayland, Mass.) point after made it 12-7 with 9:13 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers would answer with under two minutes remaining to take a 20-7 lead into halftime.
Smith threw for 104 yards and a touchdown in the first half while Buttles caught three passes for 40 yards and the score.
Arron Achey (Newmanstown, Pa.) led the defense with a pair of sacks in the first stanza.
The Black Bears could not convert on the opening possession of the second half, but Kendall James (Roselle, N.J.) intercepted Sunseri's pass in the endzone to keep the Panthers off the board.
After the teams exchanged drives, the Panthers had a low snap on a punt and the Black Bears had great field position on the Pittsburgh 47 yardline.
On the ensuing drive, Smith found Buttles for a 42-yard gain before finding an open Derek Session (Baltimore, Md.) in the back of the endzone.
On the point after attempt, Chris Treister (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) was the holder and got the snap and ran it in to cut the Panther lead to 20-15 with 6:13 left in the third quarter.
Pittsburgh answered with a Ray Graham one-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion to make it 28-15 with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
Pittsburgh would get the ball back and was driving into Maine territory, when Darlos James (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) intercepted a Sunseri pass at the sideline.
The Black Bears would not be able to score on their next drive, and the Panthers would extend their lead to 35-15.
David Hood would complete the Black Bears' next drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge to make it 35-22, and Maine forced Pittsburgh into a missed field goal on the next possession.
Maine drove down and scored on a Smith pass to McDonald to make it 35-29.