SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Saturday’s game wasn’t as bad as the last two weeks for the University of Rhode Island football team.

But it wasn’t as good as everything that came before, either.

After falling behind 24-3 in the first half, the Rams shook off the rough start — plus some of the struggles of losses to Towson and Villanova — but couldn’t complete their comeback and lost 45-24 to Maine at soggy Meade Stadium.

“It’s disappointing because I think that was a winnable game,” coach Jim Fleming said. “There just wasn’t enough time when you play like that in the first half. You’ve got to come out and get something going.”

It’s the third straight loss for the Rams on the heels of their 5-0 start. Maine is heading in the opposite direction with three consecutive wins in CAA play. Both teams are now 3-3 in league games. URI’s FCS playoff hopes that looked promising just three weeks ago have dimmed significantly.

“When you’re talking about starting with a bang at 5-0 and you’re still a 5-3 football team, if you’re able to win the next three, you’ve got eight wins and it’s a phenomenal season for the University of Rhode Island, whether or not the people would take us into the playoffs or not,” Fleming said. “I’ve always thought seven gives you a chance and eight makes you a shoo-in, but this is kind of a weird year.”

Maine dominated the opening half, scoring on all three of its first-quarter possessions and adding a field goal before the break. The Black Bears racked up 340 yards of offense before halftime and held URI to just 91. A C.J. Carrick field goal accounted for URI’s only points.

For URI, it looked like an extension of the last two weeks, with the team struggling on both sides of the ball, as it did against Towson and Villanova, particularly on offense.

“I think it’s mostly what we’re doing,” Fleming said. “When we get the ball out quickly and we know where we’re going with it, there’s been some opportunities. Throwing it and catching, we were better in the second half but not enough to get us back into it when we were down two scores.”

Things improved for the home team in the second half. The Rams scored on the first play after the break as Kasim Hill found Paul Woods for a 68-yard touchdown. An interception by Frederick Mallay set up another score, with Hill hitting Jaylen Smith to make it 24-17.

After forcing a three-and-out, URI went nowhere on its next drive, and Maine pushed back with an 80-yard scoring drive. URI safety Coby Tippett nearly picked off a pass that might have gone for a touchdown the other way but couldn’t haul it in, and the Black Bears kept marching. Derek Robertson hit Daniel Rymer for a 33-yard score that made it 31-17.

A surprisingly big kick return by upback Jake Fire set URI up for an answer. Kasim Hill connected with Caleb Warren on a pair of fourth downs, the first a leaping catch on fourth-and-long, the second a 5-yard touchdown grab. The touchdown made it a one-score game again.

“I don’t know if it was my words that got them going, but I said, ‘When are you going to get sick and tired of this?’” Fleming said. “We came out and took an aggressive approach, got a big play to Paul for the touchdown. The defense sparked. In the third quarter, I think we saw a little bit of us, what our football team is supposed to be consistently.”

Maine’s next drive largely ended URI’s hopes. The Rams thought they had recovered a fumble on the first play but replay confirmed the runner was down.

Rhody also had another near-miss on a potential interception. The Black Bears proceeded to convert four third downs, the last of which went for a 14-yard touchdown from Robertson to Shawn Bowman. The lead went back to two scores, with seven minutes off the clock.

“That hurts,” Fleming said. “When you have the opportunity to get off the field, you have to be able to do it.”

Maine followed with a stop and a touchdown run by Freddie Brock for the final margin.

The loss will likely knock URI out of the Top 25. Having peaked at 12 after the win over Delaware, the Rams dropped to No. 24 this week.

The Rams will step out of CAA play next week for a road game at Massachusetts. Two games remain in the league season, a home tilt with New Hampshire and a trip to Elon in the season finale.

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