Football drops Heartbreaker in OT at No. 18 New Hampshire


Orono, Maine — After New Hampshire’s No. 18 found the end zone on their first overtime possession, Maine responded with a score of their own when they converted on an extended lateral play Montigo Moss Backward pass found Rohan Jones, who switched on for the touchdown. However, Maine’s two-point conversion attempt for the win fell short as the Wildcats walked away with a 42-41 win.

Elijah Barnwell led Maine with a career-high 143 yards and three touchdowns while the Black Bears rushed for 336 yards in the afternoon. The 336 yards on the ground marked Maine’s highest rushing total in a game since running for 381 against Bryant in 2017. Zavier Scott added 108 yards and a touchdown and gave Maine a pair of 100+ yard rushers for the first time since the same game against Bryant.

Joe Fagnano turned in a 16-for-32 day for 202 yards and a touchdown to walk along with 71 yards and a score on the floor. Scott led Maine’s receivers with five catches while Jones added the only score of the afternoon.

Maine’s 538 total offensive yards were the highest since Liberty posted 572 in 2019.

Brian Lee Jr. led Maine’s defensive attach with 11 tackles Austin ambush and Benito Speight each booked seven stops. Khairi Manns registered the lone sack of the day for the Black Bears.

New Hampshire took a 7-0 lead as they took their first drive 88 yards and ended with the first of three quick hits from Dylan Laube. The Wildcats extended their lead to 14-0 when Max Brosmer found DJ Linkins for a 33-yard pass and catch.

Maine broke through on their first touchdown as Barnwell scored the first of his three points in the first quarter at 3:21. At stake before the score, Barnwell burst through the line for a 57-yard gain to the New Hampshire one-yard line. A game later he stood in for the score.

New Hampshire responded quickly. A 48-yard reception from Sean Coyne and a penalty put the Wildcats on the Maine 15, where Laube rushed in for a touchdown.

At half time, the Black Bears were able to reduce the deficit to seven. Fagano and the offense entered the two-minute drill as the Black Bears maneuvered their way across the field. Maine converted to two third downs before benefiting from a pass interference penalty. Laid the Maine flag at the New Hampshire 15 wo Freddie Brock would pick 14 for one. A game later, Barnwell found the end zone as Maine went 21-14 at the break.

Laube and the Wildcats batted first in the second half when the running back broke free for a 48-yard touchdown at 6-12 in the third half.

Maine wasted no time in replying. After a touchdown, Scott jumped outside and sprinted down the home touchline for a 75-yard scoring rush.

Maine was down by a score in the fourth quarter and tied things up early in the final quarter. The Black Bears made their way down the field before Fagnano hit a 15-yard touchdown on a quarterback keeper to end the contest at 28-all, staying 14:23 on the rules.

Brosmer’s six-yard pass to Adam Deese in the following game put New Hampshire back in the lead, 35-28 and 11:12 on the clock.

A heavy dose of Barnwell on Maine’s next drive again helped the Black Bears tie it. Barnwell’s 20-yard rush moved Maine into New Hampshire territory. Maine kept spinning when Barnwell picked up 11 on a fourth and one to keep the chains moving. Barnwell converted again in fourth, this time catching a pair on a fourth and one when Maine moved to New Hampshire’s two-yard line. Maine kept it hot as Barnwell cranked up the middle for the score, knotting the score at 35-35.

Every team would have a chance to take a late lead, but none could put points on the board and push the game into overtime.

Maine won the overtime throw and postponed. Brosmer connected with Kyle Lepkowski for a four-yard touchdown on the Wildcats’ first possession in the extra frame before Nick Mazzie scored a vital extra point.

The Black Bears struggled to get the ball moving in overtime, but coming fourth behind, they conceded. Fagnano scored with a few tricks Montigo Moss for a brief win before Moss threw a lateral back to Jones on the opposite touchline. The blockers were in place as Jones won the fight on a goal-line collision for the touchdown.

Maine’s two-point conversion fell short, however, as the Wildcats walked away with a 42-41 victory in overtime to regain the Brice Cowell Musket.