The University of Maine football team will battle Bowl Championship Subdivision member Pittsburgh and defending national runner-up Delaware among 11 opponents during the 2011 Black Bear football schedule released Tuesday.
Coach Jack Cosgrove’s Black Bears, who posted a 4-7 record during the 2010 campaign, will play five home games on Morse Field at Alfond Stadium next fall. Those include a nonleague contest against Bryant University and conference games against Colonial Athletic Association power Delaware, longtime New England rivals Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Towson University.
UMaine’s road contests will include nonconference opponents Pitt and Albany, along with league games at James Madison, Richmond, Villanova and New Hampshire.
“As always, it will be an incredible challenge,” Cosgrove said in a press release.
“All of us know the type of attitude and the amount of effort it will take for us to produce a championship season in 2011,” he added. “That will be an exciting state of mind for Black Bear football as we prepare for the fall of 2011.”
UMaine opens at home Sept. 3 with a nonleague home game against Bryant University of the Northeast Conference. The Bears then head to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for a Sept. 10 meeting with the Panthers, the Big East Conference regular-season champions and winners of the BBVA Compass Bowl.
It will mark the eighth straight season in which UMaine has faced a BCS opponent on the road. The Bears battled Syracuse the last two years at the Carrier Dome.
That is followed by a Sept. 17 trip to NEC member Albany, which has beaten the Bears two years in a row, and a bye week on Sept. 24. UMaine returns home Oct. 1 to take on Football Championship Subdivision national finalist Delaware before traveling to James Madison on Oct. 8.
The Homecoming game, slated for Oct. 15, brings CAA short timer Rhode Island to Orono. The Bears then face back-to-back road contests at Richmond and Villanova on Oct. 22 and 29, respectively.
The Bears play two of their last three games at Alfond Stadium, playing host to Towson and Massachusetts on Nov. 5 and 12, respectively, before closing out the regular-season slate Nov. 19 at New Hampshire in the battle for the Brice-Cowell Musket.
“In addition to the rigors of our tough CAA Conference schedule, we face another FBS opponent, the Pittsburgh Panthers from the Big East Conference, and two outstanding teams from the NEC, the Albany Great Danes and the Bryant Bulldogs,” Cosgrove said.
Wednesday is NLI signing day
Wednesday marks the first day of the National Letter of Intent signing period for football and UMaine expects to receive commitments from several talented players.
According to a variety of published reports, at least nine high school standouts have chosen to continue their education and football career as Black Bears.
Among those who had given their verbal commitment prior to Wednesday are, in alphabetical order: linebacker Brian Anthony (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) of Columbia, Md., cornerback Sherrod Baltimore (5-10, 160) of Fort Washington, Md., safety Aamad Bush (6-3, 193) of Montclair, N.J., offensive lineman Dan Carriker (6-3, 304) of Alexandria, Va., wide receivers Najee Green (6-3, 180) of Brandywine, Md., and Tyriek Harrison (5-10, 160) of Teaneck, N.J., defensive tackle Chase Hoyt (6-3, 220) of West Chester, Pa., and running backs Isaiah Jones (5-11, 168) of Orange, Mass., and Daniel Upson (6-3, 200) of Gaithersburg, Md.
Cosgrove is prohibited from commenting on recruits until UMaine has received their signed NLIs.