Football Looks to Bounce Back vs. Maine


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Football Looks to Bounce Back vs. Maine

Nick France

Following last Saturday’s collapse against the Stony Brook Seawolves, the Wildcats will look to get their first conference win of the season against the University of Maine. 

Maine’s Black Bears have a 2-2 record, which is more important upon further examination. The Black Bears began the season with a victory over then-seventh ranked New Hampshire, and then followed that with a 21-point comeback win against FBS opponent, Western Kentucky. Since then, however, they have lost two games; one against FBS Central Michigan and another against Yale. This skid is largely thanks to the team becoming plagued with injuries: offensive linemen Gunnar Docos and Liam Dobson, running back Ramon Jefferson, cornerbacks Manny Patterson and Jordan Swann, and quarterback Chris Ferguson are all on the injury report.

Maine is not in the best company on the offensive side of the ball; it ranks only 90th in total offense among FCS teams. Although they managed to score 30+ points in each of their first two games, they have only scored 19 points combined in their last two. This largely can be attributed to their injuries, especially against Yale. Last week, backup quarterback Isaiah Robinson was injured for a few drives, and the Black Bears were forced to put tight end Drew Belcher (who used to play quarterback for the Black Bears) in at QB. With Robinson likely back next week, though, the Black Bears offense should be more up to snuff.

The Black Bears make up for their offensive ineptitude with defensive prowess. The Black Bear defense ranks 8th in the country, allowing only 267.5 yards of offense per game. Against the run, the Black Bears allow only 53 yards per game, good for second in the country. Led by redshirt freshman linebacker Deshawn Stevens, the Black Bear defense will certainly make them an interesting opponent. With Villanova’s love for running the ball to establish the passing game, the performance of Maine’s defense could make or break the Wildcats.

The Wildcats handled the Black Bears at home last season, in a 31-0 victory. In that game, the Wildcats forced six turnovers, including a fumble recovered and returned 99 yards for a touchdown by Jaquon Amos. 

Kickoff is this Saturday at 3:30, at Maine’s Alfond Stadium.