ORONO, Maine — Morse Field at Alfond Stadium has been the site of considerable aggravation this season for the University of Maine football team.
The Black Bears are 0-4 on their home turf against teams that boast a combined record of 28-9 in 2012.
On Saturday, coach Jack Cosgrove’s team has one more opportunity to help its seniors enjoy their Orono finale.
“I think that is a lasting memory, your last game at home,” Cosgrove said. “There’s always a significance when you play at your home site. We’ve always tried to make a point of emphasizing that here.”
Georgia State Panthers (1-9) at Maine Black Bears (3-6), 2 p.m., Alfond Stadium, Orono
It will be the last home game for UMaine’s 13 seniors, including starters Josh Spearin of Limington, Doug Alston, Darlos James, Donte Dennis, Troy Russell, Garret Williamson, Chris Howley and Maurice McDonald.
Classmates Mike Kuhn, Kris Enslen, Sam Shipley and Brian Harvey are sidelined by injuries.
The Bears, who are coming off a 31-7 loss to No. 10 James Madison on the same field, are hoping to spoil the final game of Panthers head coach Bill Curry, who is stepping down at season’s end.
“Anybody who played for the Green Bay Packers for Vince Lombardi gets my attention,” Cosgrove said. “Knowing that era and those teams and those personalities, he was part of that. He was a great player in the NFL, a center, and a great coach at Kentucky and Alabama.”
The difference in Saturday’s game may well be defense. UMaine has allowed only 21.8 points per game in Colonial Athletic Association play, while opponents have averaged 35.9 points against Georgia State.
However, the Bears will have to move the chains, sustain some drives and put points on the scoreboard to support a defense led by Dennis (84 tackles), Khari Al-Mateen (61) and Russell (54).
UMaine ranks 10th in CAA total offense (310.5 yards per game) and scoring offense (18.5 ppg). The Bears need to run well behind Rickey Stevens (59 ypg) against a Panther defense that has allowed a league-worst 237 ypg on the ground.
UMaine also looks for balance through the air behind quarterback Marcus Wasilewski (180-for-299 passing, 1,901 yards, 13 touchdowns, 11 interceptions) and wideouts Maurice McDonald (50 receptions, 403 yds., 2 TDs) and Derrick Johnson (31-346-2).
Georgia State is coming off a 53-27 setback at No. 5 Old Dominion. The Panthers’ catalysts include QB Ben McLane (114-for-214, 1,212 yds, 8 TDs, 6 INTs) and receivers Albert Wilson (39 rec., 723 yds., 6 TDs) and Emmanuel Ogbuehi (22-174-3).
Wilson also is a dangerous kick returner.
On defense, GSU looks to noseguard Terrance Woodard (55 tackles) and safety D’Mario Gunn (49 tackles) to set a physical tone.
“We’re going to get another dose of tremendous speed by a football team that really has grown tremendously from the start of the season until now,” Cosgrove said.
Husson Eagles (2-7) at Anna Maria AMcats (1-8), 1 p.m., Paxton, Mass.
The Eagles will try to send head coach Sean Murphy out on a winning note as they close out the season with an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference game on the road.
Murphy announced this week that he is stepping down to become the men’s lacrosse coach and will continue his administrative duties at the Bangor school.
Husson gave Castleton State a good run last week before falling 34-14. The Eagles would like to generate a bit of momentum and some positive vibes as they head into the offseason.
The Eagles’ biggest challenge will be to generate enough offense to take the pressure off a defensive unit that has been on the field a lot all season.
Bowdoin Polar Bears (1-6) at Colby Mules (2-7), 12:30 p.m., Seaverns Field at Alfond Stadium, Waterville
The New England Small College Athletic Conference season ends with the finale of the 2012 Colby-Bates-Bowdoin series.
This time, there are no CBB title ramifications as Bates clinched the crown with last week’s 14-6 win over Bowdoin.
The Polar Bears lead the all-time series 66-44-10, including last season’s 20-10 victory in Brunswick.
Saturday’s other game
Hamilton (1-6) at Bates (4-3) at noon.