The University of Maine will again play two Football Bowl Subdivision teams in 2020, including a first-ever meeting with Ball State University.
The Black Bears also will face the University of Connecticut for the first time since 2016.
UMaine athletics will receive a $400,000 guarantee for the game at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana, and $280,500 for the visit to East Hartford, Connecticut.
The Black Bears open the season Thursday, Sept. 5, at Ball State and travel on Oct. 10 to UConn.
Ball State of the Mid-American Conference, is 4-6 overall (3-3 MAC) but five of the Cardinals’ six losses have been by 11 points or less. UConn is 2-8 overall, 0-6 in the American Athletic Conference.
UConn is in the midst of returning to the Big East after leaving the conference for the AAC in 2013. The Huskies left the Football Championship Subdivision and in 2002 became a full-fledged FBS member.
UMaine and UConn are former Yankee Conference rivals, and next year’s game will be the 75th in series history. The Huskies hold a 40-31-3 advantage.
UMaine is one of few FCS schools that plays more than one FBS opponent. Its other nonconference game is Sept. 19 against Monmouth University (New Jersey). The Hawks (9-2) sit atop the Big South standings at 5-0.
UMaine head football coach Nick Charlton said he likes the schedule but would prefer to play just one FBS opponent.
“It’s what we have to do [financially], so we have to make the best of the opportunity,” he said. “And the big thing is, it’s good for recruiting.”
The Black Bears also will be in a new, two-year cycle in the Colonial Athletic Association’s rotating schedule, adding three teams they did not face in 2018 and 2019.
Second-ranked James Madison, which claimed its fourth CAA regular-season title in five years, Delaware and Stony Brook replace Towson, Elon and William & Mary next fall.
UMaine hosts Delaware on Sept. 12 and Monmouth on Sept. 19 before traveling to Richmond on Sept. 26. The Black Bears then have an open date before traveling to UConn and hosting Villanova on Oct. 17. UMaine visits Rhode Island (Oct. 24) and JMU (Oc.t 31), returns home to face Albany (Nov. 7), treks to Stony Brook (Nov. 14), and finishes up at home against New Hampshire (Nov. 21).
The back-to-back home games against Delaware and Monmouth mark the first time UMaine has had consecutive games in Orono since the 2016 season.
Charlton said the bye week is good timing and that it is a big deal to have back-to-back home games.