For the first time ever, the University for Maine football team has won a home playoff game! Before I ramble on about anything else, stop. Take a breath. Let that sentence wash over you. And know that football started at Maine in 1892.
Much hyperbole is uttered by sports people every day. But what we saw Saturday in Orono is literally a once in not one, but two lifetimes event.
Now that Solari Stat of The Day is a bit misleading. Most are. Of course the playoff system didn’t always exist as it does today.
No matter. The 55-27 beatdown of Jacksonville State was historic for the Black Bears and the fans.
Unofficial consensus in the tailgate area before the game was that Jacksonville State would win the game. I was inclined to agree. So much talent. A boat load of transfers from bigger FBS programs. Great quarterback and huge wide receivers. Playoff experience. They averaged more than 40 points per game this season. Vegas had the Gamecocks favored by 3 1/2. I thought it could have been more.
Many I talked with thought the cold weather was what Maine had in its favor. Couldn’t argue that. But I told anyone who would listen that I truly believe there’s a quality that’s special and frankly intangible with this team.
It’s something not easily quantifiable or found in the box score. It’s the notorious “it.” Not the clown. You know what I mean. It. Whatever “it” is, it means that many ingredients have come together perfectly to create an amazing end result.
“That game just proves that theres nothing more powerful than your belief in each other.” said Coach H after the win.
Maybe thats the “it”. Faith in each other.
Regardless, you see “it” on occasion at all levels of sports including with the 2018 Black Bear football team. They can’t bottle it or sell it. But perhaps they can utilize it for a few more wins.
OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS
Official attendance was listed at 6145 for this game. I’m not impressed with that number. It was the lowest attendance for any game this season. This was an event. Only the second home playoff game in history. That number should have been 2000 higher. Easily.
Having said that, the Black Bear fans who were there ROCKED! They were loud at the right times and the bleachers shook with unified foot stomping on many occasions. Well done people!
The temperature was a factor on the field. And in the press box. It was a little too warm for my liking. Should have opened the windows a bit.
Aside from a slightly balmy press box, ( imagine wink emoji here) the Black Bear athletic department did a great job hosting an NCAA playoff game. From my limited perspective seemed like the whole thing went off without a hitch.
Sean Stackhouse does a commendable job as the public address announcer. Good voice and energy and “calls” a good game. The PA person always has a role in the atmosphere of a game. His role gets a thumbs up.
Seems like much of the post win conversation is about the future of coach Joe Harasymiak. Is this year enough to get this young coach a better job?
Could be. Is there something Maine can do to keep him 3 or 4 more years? Maybe.
A story line to follow after the season.