WHERE: Alfond Stadium, Orono
KICKING OFF: Saturday noon
TV/STREAMING: WPXT Portland, WVII Bangor, FloFootball
ALL TIME SERIES: UNH leads, 56-45-8
KEY STATUS: 20 – the number of years since Maine last won back-to-back against the Wildcats.
OUTLOOK: For Maine, this is a chance to retain the Brice Cowell Musket, the trophy presented to the winner of this annual rivalry game, and end the season on a strong note. The Black Bears have lost four straight games, three of them by four points or fewer. UNH is a contender for the Colonial Athletic Association title and a berth in the FCS playoffs. Maine won last season’s game 33-20, and a win would give the Black Bears a winning streak in that series for the first time since they had three straight wins from 2000-2002.
Despite finishing ninth in the conference on offense (348.4 yards per game) and ninth on defense (347.2 yards allowed), UNH is 6-1 in league play. Quarterback Max Brosmer has completed 64 percent of his passes and has 2,317 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Joey Corcoran is UNH’s top receiver with 46 catches for 537 yards and three TDs. Dylan Laube leads the Wildcats’ ground play with 806 yards. Defensively, Maine (2-5 in the CAA) counters with linebacker Adrian Otero leading the team with 67 tackles. Cornerback Kahzir “Buggs” Brown suffered a lower body injury against Albany last week and is a question for Saturday’s game.
This is the final career game for two key players on the Maine offense. Quarterback Joe Fagnano ranks ninth all-time in passing yards in Maine with 5,453. Fagnano has 2,048 passing yards with 14 TDs and six interceptions this season. Receiver Zavier Scott is a multiple threat for the Black Bears, leading the team with 37 catches for 405 yards and 30 carries for 263 yards and three rushing TDs. The Maine blockers have Dylan Ruiz, who leads the Wildcats with 10 sacks, and Josiah Silver (8 1/2 sacks) to blame on defensive ends.
A NOTICE: Both head coaches – Maine’s Jordan Stevens and UNH’s Rick Santos – played in this rivalry. The Santos Wildcats were 4-0 against Maine while the Stevens Black Bears were 4-0 against UNH. Four of the last 10 Maine-UNH games have been decided by seven points or fewer. …UNH ranked 20th in the FCS Coaches Poll and 18th in the Stats Perform poll. A win would be the Black Bears’ first win over a ranked opponent since beating No. 3 Weber State in the 2018 FCS Quarterfinals.
NHL recap: Devils prevail in overtime for 11th straight win