ORONO, Maine -- The #25/20 University of Maine football team defeated Norfolk St. 10-6 in its season opener on "John Huard Day" at Alfond Stadium. The Black Bears held Norfolk St. to just 100 total yards and Dan Collins (Williamstown, N.J.) connected with Damarr Aultman (Wheatley Heights, N.Y.) for the game's only touchdown.
Maine's defense put constant pressure on the Spartans' offense as it limited Norfolk St. to just 33 passing yards and 67 yards on the ground. Trevor Bates (Westbrook, Maine) came up with the big play of the night as his third quarter interception ultimately led to the Black Bears' game-winning field goal. Sophomore Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga (Laval, Que.) led the way with 14 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, while redshirt freshman Austin Brown (Easton, Pa.) added eight stops in his first career game.
Collins went 8-for-20 with 92 yards and a touchdown in his first start while adding 25 yards on the ground. Junior back Nigel Jones (Pleasantville, N.J.) carried the rushing load, running 25 times for 67 yards.
Norfolk St. jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter behind a pair of field goals from Cameron Marouf. Marouf was true from 46 yards before knocking through his second attempt from 38 yards with 4:57 left in the opening quarter.
Maine grabbed the lead at the 6:29 mark of the second quarter when Collins rolled out and hit Aultman on a 33-yard slant in the endzone. The Black Bears carried the 7-6 lead into the half.
Bates came up with the play of the game with just over 10-minutes left in the third quarter. As Norfolk St. had just taken over on offense, Maine's junior end was able to bat a Malik Stokes pass up into the air. Bates then dove and hauled in his first career interception, giving Maine the ball back on the Spartans' 21-yardline.
Jones and Collins marked the Black Bears down to the opposing 10-yard line before Sean Decloux (Ottawa, Ontario) kicked a 27-yard field goal, giving Maine a 10-6 edge.
Norfolk St. continued to threaten as it marched down to the Maine 14 with just over two minutes remaining. On 3rd and 13, Patrick Ricard (Spencer, Mass.) broke through the line and was able to sack Terrance Ervin for a loss of eight. Norfolk St.'s next pass was incomplete as Maine entered their victory formation, taking a 10-6 victory.
The Black Bears will have a week off before traveling to take on Bryant Sept. 13 at 1 p.m.