The University of Maine football team drew first blood on the road Saturday night against the Toledo Rockets before it all went downhill. Following Maine’s opening field goal, Toledo scored 45 unanswered points en route to their 45-3 blowout victory.
At first it seemed like it was going to be a solid performance for the Black Bear offense. Third-year quarterback Dan Collins and the Maine offense were impressive in the opening drive of the game, covering 68 yards on 15 plays in 7:09. They marched down the field effectively, converting on three straight third downs. Collins then scrambled off a 16-yard run moving the ball down to the Toledo 7-yard line. That was as close as Maine got and it forced second-year kicker Patrick Leonard to cash in on a 29-yard field goal.
Collins ended the night 9-for-25 with just 65 yards passing. Third-year wide receiver Marquise Adams made up for about half of those yards through the air and was the leading receiver for the Black Bears, hauling in three receptions for 31 yards.
Maine’s fourth-year linebacker Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga was the lone bright spot on the defensive side of the ball for the second straight game. Mulumba Tshimanga recorded double-digit stops yet again with 10 tackles for the Black Bears. Second-year linebacker Sterling Shepard also played well as he chipped in with five tackles and his second career interception.
There certainly was no shortage of work for Maine’s fourth-year punter James Demartini on Saturday evening. Demartini seemed like he was on the field for the entire game as he punted the ball 10 times for 440 yards. Demarti was just one punt shy of tying the all-time record for most punts in a game in Maine football history.
Maine’s defense had no answers for Toledo from opening kick until the final buzzer. Toledo’s third-year quarterback Logan Woodside carved up the Maine defense all night long. Woodside completed 13 of 25 passes for 329 yards and four touchdown passes with a quarterback rating (QBR) of 89.0. In just the first half Woodside’s passes connected with fourth-year wide receiver Corey Jones for a 85-yard touchdown and third-year wide receiver Cody Thompson for a 64-yard touchdown. These touchdowns along with a 31-yard field goal from second-year kicker Jameson Vest would end the first half with a score of 17-3.
The second half was no better for the Black Bears. Fourth-year tight end Michael Roberts caught a 21-yard pass to bring the score to 24-3, then minutes later blocked Maine’s punt attempt, allowing first-year running back Ronnie Jones to score a 27-yard touchdown to end the quarter at 31-3. The last touchdown of the quarter, second-year wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson caught a 89-yard pass from Woodside from following a three-and-out from Maine.
In the last quarter, the Rockets slowed down the scoring, with one touchdown from redshirt second-year running back Art Thompkins ending the score at 45-3 and a second-half shutout for Toledo.
This game will bring UMaine to 0-2 overall and 0-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association while Toledo will move to 2-0 on the season and 0-0 in the Mid-Atlantic Conference.
The Black Bears have a much needed bye week ahead to prepare before they play host to the James Madison Dukes in their home opener on Sept. 24, set for a noontime kickoff. University of Toledo will return to the field on Sept. 17 against Fresno State at home.