VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Marcus Wasilewski (Kulpmont, Pa.) amassed 423 total yards of offense as the #11 University of Maine football team (7-1, 4-0 CAA) defeated #18 Villanova (4-4, 3-2 CAA) 37-35 on Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium.
Wasilewski paced the offense going 28-for-34 with 337-yards passing and a pair of touchdowns while rushing for 86-yards and a score. Wasilewski found seven different targets led by Justin Perillo (Wilmington, Del.) who grabbed seven catches for 94-yards while John Ebeling (Mahwah, N.J.) also recorded seven catches for 62-yards as Maine outgained Villanova 536-386.
Defensively, Maine held Villanova to just 121 yards through the air while forcing one turnover; a game-sealing interception with just seconds left by Kendall James (Roselle, N.J.).
Villanova quarterback John Robertson led the Wildcat attack with 214 rushing yards and five total touchdowns (four rush, one pass).
The Wildcats were quick to get on the board, scoring on their opening possession after a 59 yard run from John Robertson put Villanova on the Maine 10-yardline. Roberts followed the long rush with a five-yard score.
The Black Bears were able to answer on its opening drive while using some trickery to fool the Wildcat defense. Facing fourth down on its own 34, the Black Bears directly snapped the ball to Khari Al-Mateen (Baltimore, Md.). Al-Mateen moved down field for a 41-yard gain deep into Villanova territory. Maine was able to grab three points on the drive as Sean Decloux (Ottawa, Ontario) converted on a 39-yard field goal.
Maine would force a Villanova punt on the Wildcats' next possession thanks to a sack from Michael Cole (North Brunswick, N.J.). Wasilewski and the offense took over and moved its way down the field before the senior quarterback found Damarr Aultman (Wheatley Heights, N.Y.) streaking down the right sideline. Aultman beat the Wildcat defense and scampered in untouched for a 51-yard score as Maine took a 10-7 lead midway through the first quarter.
Maine padded its first quarter lead as Nigel Jones (Pleasantvilly, N.J.) rushed in from 15-yards out with 1:48 left in the opening quarter. Wasilewski led a six play, 78 yard drive over 2:25 highlighted by a 37-yard strike to John Ebeling (Mahwah, N.J.) down the left sideline. Maine, on the Wildcat 15-yardline, would hand off to Nigel Jones. The sophomore running back hit a wall on the right side before spinning off a tackle and hitting the right edge. With Wasilewski as his lead blocker, Jones sprinted across the 10 before Wasilewski hit a key block on the five-yard line allowing Jones to jump into the endzone for the score.
The Black Bears continued to impress in the opening half on offense as Wasilewski orchestrated a lenghthy 12 play, 56-yard drive, highlighted by a 27-yard catch on third down by Perillo in which the senior tight end caught the ball around the back of a defender and busted his way into Villanova territory. Decloux capped the drive with a 42-yard field goal
The Wildcats would answer as Robertson rushed in from 41-yards out to cap an eight play, 74-yard drive with a touchdown, closing the gap to 20-14 with 2:58 remaining in the second half.
Maine's offense worked out of its two minute drill as a three-straight catches by Perillo led to a 40-yard field goal from Decloux, his third of the day, to give Maine a 23-14 lead at the half.
Maine's offense picked up where it left off in the first half as it put together a seven play, 77-yard drive oer 3:50 for a touchdown. Wasilewski was a perfect 3-for-3 on the drive, finding Nigel Jones for 28 yards, Stevens for 36-yards and ending with a five yard touchdown pass to Arthur Williams (Springfield, Mass.).
The Wildcats would immediately answer as Robertson drove his offense 74-yards on six plays, capping the drive by finding Poppy Livers in the back of the endzone for a 23-yard score.
After stopping Maine at midfield and forcing a punt, the Wildcats took over on their own 20. Robertson led the charge on the Villanova drive, rushing for 43-yards on the possession, ending with an eight yard touchdown rush to bring the Wildcats within two.
Maine's offense stayed composed as it strung together just what it needed, a long drive to kill time. With Wasilewski at the helm, Maine was able to move 75-yards while chewing up 6:23 and ending with a touchdown to add to its lead. Maine chipped away with a solid mix of run and pass before Wasilewski picked up 19-yards on a rush through the left side. Back-to-back completions put the ball on the Villanova six-yard line before Wasilewski scampered in on third down with a six yard score, extending the Maine lead to 37-28.
Villanova would keep things close as it marched down the field 65-yards on 12 plays. The Wildcats converted on a fourth and five, thanks to a Maine pass interference call, to move into the Black Bear redzone before Robertson scampered in from five yards out for his fourth score of the game, bringing Villanova within two with 4:16 left in regulation.
With a two-point lead and 27-seconds left in regulation, Maine was forced to punt. Villanova would take over on its own 26 but its charge would be short lived as Kendall James (Roselle, N.J.) intercepted the first pass from Robertson to seal a 37-35 win for the Black Bears.