Playing on the road can be difficult, but there are certain places that present special chal-lenges.
Delaware Stadium is one of those venues for the University of Maine football team, which hopes to overcome the atmos-phere and the Blue Hens in Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association game on the grass at Tubby Raymond Field.
“It’s a challenging atmos-phere for visiting teams,” said UMaine coach Jack Cosgrove. “Their football program is very well-known and has a tremen-dous sense of tradition and his-tory.”
Maine Black Bears (2-3, 0-2 CAA) at Delaware (2-3, 0-1 CAA), 6 p.m., Delaware Sta-dium, Newark, Del.: This UMaine team makes its first appearance there under the lights. UMaine lost heartbreak-ers at Delaware in 2003 and ’04, the last time it played there.
UMaine hopes to benefit from a bye week, which came after a 24-10 loss to James Madison. Delaware, the Bears’ third top-25 opponent in as many games, lost 17-7 at Massa-chusetts last weekend.
Both teams are searching for more offensive productivity, and UMaine has reworked its unit with the loss of tailback Jhamal Fluellen (neck injury).
Freshman H-back Jared Tur-cotte of Lewiston (7.0 yards per carry) and frosh tailback Derek Session (6.3 ypc) will try to pro-duce yards on the ground.
“Their roles and responsi-bilities will increase, as will others’ on offense,” Cosgrove said. “It’s just being smart and using the strengths of your per-sonnel.”
UMaine also needs im-provement from sophomore quarterback Adam Farkes (74-for-137, 835 yards, 9 TDs, 6 in-terceptions), who was picked off three times by JMU. Junior wide receiver Landis Williams should be available after miss-ing 2½ games with an an-kle/foot ailment.
“He’s the most experienced guy we have out there,” Cos-grove said, “and I think he does bring a speed element and a big-play element to our offense.”
Delaware boasts the stingiest defense in the CAA, allowing only 16.2 points per outing. The Hens are fourth in total defense (322 ypg), led by linebacker Erik Johnson (31 tackles) and safety Anthony Walters (29).
The Bears are coming off a gritty defensive effort against JMU but still rank 11th in CAA rushing defense (196 ypg) and ninth in total defense (373 ypg).
UMaine features Buck Bu-chanan Award candidate Jovan Belcher, a senior end who leads the team with 45 tackles. Line-backers Sean Wasson (35 tack-les) and Andrew Downey (33) are other mainstays.
Delaware has been trying to re-establish its offense after losing QB Joe Flacco (Balti-more Ravens), tailback Omar Cuff and some veteran linemen. The Hens have a steady ground game behind halfback Joh-nathon Smith (72.4 ypg, 8 TDs), but junior Robby Schoenhoft (65-for-118, 774 yds., 5 TDs, 8 INTs) is among the league’s least productive QBs.
Aaron Love (18 rec., 246 yds., 1 TD) is the top receiver.
“They’re trying to find the missing ingredients that ha-ven’t allowed them to be more consistent,” Cosgrove said. “We hope they don’t find those on Saturday.”
Springfield Pride (1-3) at Husson Eagles (3-2), 1 p.m., Winkin Complex, Bangor: The Eagles hope to celebrate homecoming by pulling off a victory over the Pride of the Empire 8 Conference. Husson has won three of its last four games and is coming off a 16-12 triumph at Mount Ida.
The defense has set the tone in the Eagles’ three Division III victories, allowing only 16 ppg. Linebackers Earl Wilson (36 tackles) and Bobby Gilbert of Beaver Cove (33) and safety Keith Runne (32) are among the top hitters.
Offensively, Husson has a po-tent 1-2 punch with tailbacks Julius Williams (111.4 ypg, 5 TDs) and Justin Lindie of Wins-low (65.2 ypg, 3 TDs).
Springfield has absorbed three consecutive losses, the most recent a 16-12 setback at Utica. The Pride will try to get their option offense rolling, having averaged 321.5 yards per game on the ground.
However, they’ve also sur-rendered 371 yards per game.
Maine Maritime Acad. Mariners (3-2, 2-0 division) at Worcester State Lancers (1-4, 1-1 division), 1 p.m., Coughlin Field, Worcester, Mass.: Having established a pattern of playing tense, excit-ing games, the Mariners head on the road for another New England Football Conference Bogan Division contest.
MMA eked out another vic-tory last week, spreading the wealth offensively among full-back Jim Bower (155 ypg, 12 TDs), QB Tyler Angell (66.8 ypg) and others. The Mariners lead the conference, scoring 37.4 points per game on the strength of 345 ypg via the run.
Worcester State has been equally susceptible to the run and pass and has given up 28.2 points and 371 yards per game.
MMA’s defensive stalwarts include LB Travis Fergola (12.2 tackles per game) and Wade Mondoux (9.2 tpg).
Today’s other games: Colby (2-1) at Amherst (2-1), 1 p.m.; Bowdoin (1-2) at Hamilton (1-2), noon; Wesleyan (0-3) at Bates (0-3), 1 p.m.