The Maine Black Bears travel to the Bowl on Saturday take on the Bulldogs at 1 PM ET. You can watch the game on ESPN+.
Maine (2-1) is currently ranked #16 in the FCS subdivision and will be the most talented foe to date. Maine dominated University of New Hampshire 35-7 in the season opener before traveling to Bowling Green, Kentucky to knock off BCS opponent, Western Kentucky, 31-28. Maine traveled to Mount Pleasant, Michigan last week to square off against another BCS squad, Central Michigan, and lost a close contest 5-17. Maine’s starting quarterback, Chris Ferguson, suffered an upper body injury against Central Michigan and is questionable for Saturday.
Maine features a bruising offensive line with only one starter under 300 lbs. Quarterback Chris Ferguson has completed 35 of 63 attempts for 405 yards, 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. If he’s ruled out Saturday, Isaiah Robinson will get the nod. Robinson has struggled in the passing game completing only 50% of his passes with no touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Joe Fitzpatrick and Ramon Jefferson split carriers for the Black Bears. Fitzpatrick is a 230 lb. power runner, whereas Jefferson is more of a classic tailback with speed and moves. Jaquan Blair and Micah Wright are the top receivers and will be tough for our young secondary to contain.
Maine’s defense has been impressive this season led by their NFL-sized linebackers. Senior linebacker Sterling Sheffield (6’2″ 240 lbs.) has racked up 26 tackles, 7.5 tackles for losses and 4.5 sacks, while sophomore linebacker Deshawn Stevens (6’1″ 250 lbs.) has accumulated 25 tackles, 3.5 tackles for losses and 2 sacks over three contests. As a whole, the Black Bear defense has only allowed 40.7 rushing yards per game and 184 passing yards per game. Keep in mind two of those games were against BCS teams. The defensive line is average sized with starters ranging from 250 lbs. to 280 lbs., but they are fast and eat up blockers allowing the linebackers to roam freely. If there is any area of weakness on this defense, it would have to be the secondary. Western Kentucky was able to throw for 347 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions against the Black Bears.