RICHMOND, Va. -- The University of Maine football team (4-1, 1-0 CAA) used a trio of scores from Nigel Jones (Pleasantville, N.J.) along with three interceptions on the defensive side, including one in its own endzone by Lamar Fitzgerald (Elizabeth, N.J.) with just seconds remaining, to seal a 28-21 Colonial Athletic Association win over #20 Richmond on Saturday evening at Robins Stadium.
Nigel Jones finished with 115 yards on the ground with two scores while adding one receiving touchdown to lead the offense while Quarterback Marcus Wasilewski (Kulpmont, Pa.) went 26-for-34 for 293-yards and a pair of touchdowns. Maine totaled 415-yards of offense including a total of 122 on the ground.
The defensive effort was led by Michael Mangiarelli (Warren, Ohio) who had a game-high and career-high 11 tackles. Fitzgerald, Kendall James (Roselle, N.J.) and Christophe Mulumba (Montreal, Quebec) each added interceptions for the Black Bears.
Maine wasted no time getting on the board as it started off with great field position after Damarr Aultman (Wheatley Heights, N.Y.) returned the opening kickoff 45-yards to the Maine 45-yardline. Wasilewski was a perfect five-for-five on the drive as his 12-yard strike to Derrick Johnson (Hempstead, N.Y.) set up a Maine 1st and goal. Wasilewski concluded the drive by finding Nigel Jones for a six-yard touchdown reception. Sean Decloux's (Ottawa, Ontario) followed as Maine took an early 7-0 lead on an eight play, 55-yard drive.
Richmond responded as Michael Strauss marched the Spiders down the field in 2:52 before finding Hunter Westfall for a five yard touchdown to tie things with 2:26 remaining in the first quarter.
The Black Bears went back to work on offense last in the first quarter as Wasilewski guided the Black Bears across midfield and into Richmond territory. Faced with a 4th and one on the Spider's 31, Nigel Jones bashed straight ahead for two yards to keep the Maine drive alive. Two plays later, Wasilewski hooked up with Aultman on a 25-yard strike which saw Aultman dive for the corner of the endzone. Aultman was able to hit the pylon but his leg was ruled out of bounds at the one-yardline. On the very next play, Wasilewski lobbed a ball into the endzone which was intercepted by Richmond's Wayne Pettus.
The Spiders took over on their own 20 and carved their way down the field. Facing a first and goal on the Maine three yardline, the Black Bear defense came up big as they gave up just one yard, holding the Spiders to a Brandon Jordi 19-yard field goal.
Richmond would hold and take a three point lead into the half. Wasilewski finished the opening half 15-for-19 with 129-yards and a touchdown. The senior quarterback surpassed Dick Devarney for eighth all-time in passing yards at Maine with 3,385.
The Spiders opened the second half with a ten play, 58-yard drive which ended in Jordi's second field goal of the day, this time from 24-yards, as Richmond extended its lead to 13-7 with 10:20 left in the third quarter.
Maine was forced to punt on its first drive of the second quarter but its defense quickly got the ball back after Mulumba extended over the middle to make his second interception of the year. The interception gave Maine great field position as they took over at the Richmond 32-yardline.
The Black Bears offense wasted no time getting to work as Wasilewski quickly moved the offense up to the Richmond 18-yardline. On the fourth play of the drive, Nigel Jones bounced outside and sprinted down the sideline, finding the endzone for the second time as Maine took a 14-13 lead.
Nigel Jones added to his huge day rushing as he busted through the line and sprinted 46-yards for his third score of the day. Jones went over the 100-yard rushing mark on the touchdown run.
Richmond knotted the score late in the fourth quarter when Strauss found Stephen barnette for a four yard score. Strauss followed by hitting Ben Edwards for the two point conversion to tie things at 21-21.
Less than a minute later, Maine capped a three-play, 71-yard drive when Wasilewski found Williams. Williams was able to shead a tackle and sprint in for a 48-yard score as Maine regained a seven point edge.
The Black Bear defense sealed the win when Fitzgerald came up with a game-ending interception in the Maine endzone with just 21-seconds left in the game.
Maine continues CAA play when it hosts Delaware on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 PM.