Maine (2-2, 1-0) will host #6 Villanova (3-1, 1-0) this Saturday afternoon at Alfond Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30pm ET, making it one of those hellish early afternoon games that often feature slow starts and sloppy play.
Last year, John Robertson went absolutely H.A.M. with 214 rushing yards and 4 TDs, but was ultimately outgunned by Marcus Wasilewski en route to a 37-35 defeat at home. The 'Cats will be looking for payback as they continue their revenge tour after last season's disappointment.
Here's three things to know about the Black Bears:
Maine lost a lot of offensive talent
It all starts with Wasilewski, who was a 2nd Team All-CAA performer last season in guiding the Black Bears to the outright CAA regular season title. He was deadly as a passer and dangerous enough with his feet to make defenses respect him.
Most of his toys are gone too - RB Rickey Stevens, TE Justin Perillo and WRs John Ebling and Derrick Johnson have all moved on. All-CAA OLs John Gakos and Joe Hook are gone too.
New QB Dan Collins has struggled early on, leading to some playing time for true freshman Drew Belcher. They'll have their hands full against the 'Nova D afer averaging just over 14 ppg through their first four games.
The run-defense is pretty good
If you throw the 40-10 loss to Boston College out the window, the Black Bears defense has been pretty stout. Led by All-CAA LB Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga, they smothered both Norfolk State and Bryant on the ground holding them to 95 and 29 yards rushing, respectively. Towson was able to find more success, so the 'Nova coaching staff will be looking at that game tape.
Despite a revamped offensive line, Villanova has been able to move the ball on the ground at discretion so far this season. The Black Bears should provide the first test of the FCS season, but expect the offensive playcalling to feature plenty of passing since John Robertson has looked phenomenal throwing the ball while nursing a broken hand.
Orono hasn't been kind to Villanova
Widely known as one of the toughest places to play in the CAA - especially late in the season when the weather turns sour - Alfond Stadium hasn't provided the many fond memories for Andy Talley. Maine leads the all-time series 9-8, and the 'Cats are just 3-5 at Maine.
Talley has guided his troops to two straight wins in Orono, so hopefully he's got the formula for success figured out.