I have said often that there’s nothing more exciting than a “do or die” game in sports. The deciding game of a playoff series can be riveting while a single elimination tournament like March Madness makes every play a little more intense. That’s basically what we have now, and for the rest of the season, for the UMaine football team. One more loss and most likely a chance at the playoffs vanishes like a car in a David Copperfield illusion.
The Black Bears are just 2-3. They are ranked #18 in the nation but really need to prove they belong in the Top 25. Maine is 0-2 vs. conference teams and was taken to the wood shed two weeks ago against Villanova. Maine was down 30-0 five minutes into the second quarter.
But they have a chance to bounce back from that public humiliation as Richmond comes to town for a noon kickoff Saturday. The Spiders are 2-3 and not ranked. They are 1-1 in CAA play. This is a must win for Maine, and a very winnable contest as the game is in Orono where Maine has won 6 of their last 7 games.
The Black Bears feature an air attack led by Chris Ferguson. Maine is second in the CAA in passing at 332 yards per game. But he has thrown almost as many interceptions (7) as touchdowns (8). That ratio needs to improve.
The Spiders have allowed 14 passing touch downs already this year and I expect will surrender more on Saturday, most likely to Earnest Edwards who, to coin a phrase and maybe a nickname, is “Electric.” He alone is often worth the price of admission.
Edwards has recorded at least one touchdown in 11 of his last 12 games, including all five of Maine’s contests this season. Over the 12 game stretch, Edwards has racked up 19 total touchdowns (12 receiving, four kick return, two passing and one rushing).
Edwards currently leads the CAA and checks in fourth nationally with 173.2 all-purpose yards per game.
The forecast is not great for Saturday. Morning showers. It doesn’t take much from Mother Nature to keep UMaine fans away for Alfond Stadium.
It was a little chilly with some mist in the air when Maine last played at home against Towson. This was the first time two top 10 ranked teams had ever met in Orono, yet the crowd was the smallest for any game since 2015. Ugh.
Hopefully some hardy fans will put on their slickers and show up for this game to support the Black Bears. Maine has won four of the last five meetings versus Richmond, including a 28-9 triumph a year ago. But without a win in this game, the rest of the season just won’t matter.
(Notes and stats provided by Black Bear Athletics)