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William and Mary

No. 8 Tribe Rallies Back for 24-21 Victory at Maine

ORONO, Maine - Junior quarterback Michael Paulus connected with senior wide receiver Chase Hill on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds remaining to help the eighth-ranked William and Mary football team earn a thrilling 24-21 victory at Maine on Saturday evening.

Complete Video Highlights (first three quarters)
Complete Video Highlights (fourth quarter)

With the Tribe (3-1, 1-1) trailing 14-3 midway through the fourth quarter, Paulus entered the game as a reserve and engineered a 10-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown run by senior Courtland Marriner. The score came out of the wildcat formation with 7:09 remaining on the clock and narrowed the margin to 14-10.

W&M took its first lead of the contest on the second play of Maineís (1-3, 0-1) ensuing drive when sophomore linebacker Dante Cook intercepted quarterback Warren Smith at midfield and raced 50 yards down the Black Bearsí sideline and into the end zone with 6:46 remaining.

After recovering a W&M muffed punt at W&Mís 20-yard line with 4:40 on the clock, Maine retook the lead, 21-17, on 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Warren Smith to Desmon Randall with 2:46 remaining.

Paulus then led the College down the field on the game-winning drive, as he completed 5-of-8 passes for 59 yards, while rushing for 13 more.

After being outgained by 158 yards during the first three quarters, the Tribe outgained Maine, 135-62, in the final 15 minutes.

With the win, W&M extended its winnings streak to three games and has now won 15 of its last 16 games against non-ranked FCS teams.

Although Maine outgained the Tribe, 365-280, and controlled the time of possession by more than 10 minutes (35:04-24:56), the Black Bears were whistled for 11 penalties for 134 yards.

Paulus completed 9-of-16 passes for 104 yards in the fourth quarter, while Hill finished the game with four catches for 67 yards. In addition to his electric fourth quarter pick-six, Cook totaled a game-high 12 tackles. Sophomore safety Brian Thompson also totaled 12 stops, while senior linebacker Evan Francks recorded 11.

After holding the Tribe to a three-and-out on the gameís opening series, Maine drove inside W&Mís 5-yard line on its initial drive. However, facing a fourth and inches from inside the 3-yard line, the Collegeís defense came up with a big stop to halt the drive.

Maine got on the scoreboard first when Pushaun Brown capped off an 8-play, 46-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Black Bears ahead, 7-0, with 1:59 remaining in the first quarter.

In addition to controlling the ball for more than 10 minutes in the opening quarter, Maine held a 131-21 advantage in total yards.

W&M answered with a score on its next possession, as David Miller kicked a 22-yard field goal with 8:31 left in the second quarter. The 11-play, 72-yard drive was highlighted with a 35-yard completion from senior quarterback Mick Callahan to sophomore wide receiver Ryan Moody over the middle.

An 8-yard touchdown run by Brown, his second score of the half, put the Bears ahead, 14-3, with 2:04 remaining in the half. The scoring drive covered 55 yards in seven plays and was set up with a 34-yard punt return by Trevor Coston.

Maine limited the Tribe to just three first downs in the opening half and outgained W&M 209-97.

While Maine had good field position and spent much of the third quarter in W&M territory, it was unable to capitalize with any points.

W&M then rattled off three touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to earn the exciting comeback victory.

The Tribe will return to action next weekend when it hosts No. 1/2 Villanova on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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