One will be trying to snap a losing streak and the other will be looking to extend a winning streak.
And in both cases, the University of Maine and Husson University football teams will have their hands full Saturday afternoon when they host a pair of quality opponents.
UMaine, 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association, will hope to end a two-game skid when it entertains a William and Mary (Virginia) team that is 4-1 overall and has won its first two conference games for the first time since 2004. It will be Homecoming at UMaine and the kickoff at Alfond Stadium will be at noon.
The Tribe has won four straight.
Down the road in Bangor at the Winkin Sports Complex, the 4-1 Husson University Eagles will try to post a fifth straight win when they take on an Endicott College (Massachusetts) team that is 5-1 and seeking a fourth consecutive win.
Endicott is 2-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference while Husson is 1-0.
Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
In Orono, the Black Bears have seen a number of positive developments on the offensive side of the ball but they have been overshadowed by a defense that ranks 103rd or worst among 123 Football Championship teams in four major categories including points allowed per game (37.8, 109th) and yards allowed per game (454.4, 106th).
The Black Bears are coming off a 33-23 loss to Elon in which the Phoenix converted 12 of 16 third down opportunities into first downs which led to 38 minutes of possession compared with UMaine’s 22.
Seven of Elon’s third down conversions came on plays in which it needed at least 7 yards.
Elon quarterback Davis Cheek completed 29 of 37 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns en route to being named the CAA Offensive Player of the Week.
UMaine had three costly 15-yard penalties in the second half and the Black Bears’ 73.8 yards of penalty yards per game ranks 110th.
UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said the penalties were firmly addressed at a team meeting and he and his staff have made personnel changes to the defense.
“We have put in some new packages. We have to be better in [pass] coverage,” Charlton said.
The loss of veteran defensive backs Katley Joseph and Shaquille St-Lot due to injury has left them with an inexperienced secondary and opponents are exploiting it. Joseph and St-Lot haven’t played a snap this season and both had played 24 games for the Black Bears and had combined for 110 tackles and 37 pass breakups.
Compounding matters is the fact UMaine has just three sacks.
William and Mary, on the other hand, is 13th in the country in sacks with 16.
It will be important for the UMaine offensive line to protect redshirt freshman quarterback Derek Robertson, who continues to improve and threw for a career-high 283 yards against Elon as he completed 19 of 32 passes. Andre Miller had eight catches for a career-high 176 yards.
Old Town’s Miller said the two have developed a chemistry.
“We work a lot after practice,” said Miller, who runs routes while Robertson throws to him.
The UMaine running game has made significant strides the last two games, averaging 4.2 yards per carry after averaging 2.6 over the first three games.
Freddie Brock (52 carries-210 yards) and Elijah Barnwell (48-for-201) are the leading rushers, although Barnwell missed last week’s game because of an ankle injury.
Robertson, playing in place of the injured Joe Fagnano (ankle), has completed 52 of 103 passes for 677 yards and three touchdowns and one interception. Miller (21 catches-364 yards) and Devin Young (21-190) are his favorite targets along with tight end Shawn Bowman (12-146).
Free safety Fofie Bazzie (46 tackles) and linebacker Ray Miller (42) are UMaine’s leading tacklers.
William and Mary features dual-threat freshman quarterback Darius Wilson, who has completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 577 yards and has rushed for 216 yards on 33 carries.
Charlton is well aware of Wilson’s talents, as he tried to recruit him.
Donavyn Lester is the team’s leading rusher (62-276) and pass receiver (13-63) and the defense has been led by Trey Watkins (33 tackles), defensive ends Nate Lynn (5.5 sacks) and Will Kiely 5 sacks) and safety Gage Herdman (3 interceptions).
At Husson, Eagles head coach Nat Clark said his team will have to get stops and come up with some big plays to beat a “very well-coached” Endicott team.
He also said the Eagles have to do a better job converting their long drives into touchdowns.
“We have to get into the end zone,” Clark said.
Quarterback Nic Visser is having an exceptional year for Husson as he has completed 105 of 172 passes for 1,446 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tyler Halls (35-500), Join Bell (26-425) and Aidan Hogan (21-210) are his favorite receivers and Garrett Poussard is the top rusher with 327 yards on 66 carries.
Linebackers Tucker Buzzell (42 tackles) and Kaleb Caron (37 tackles) and lineman Frank Curran (27 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss) key the defense.
Endicott has been sparked by quarterback Mike Ingraffia (48-67 passing, 658 yards), wide receiver Shayne Aylward (31 catches-428 yards) and running back John Kenney (106 rushes-428 yards). On defense, Tim Russell (43 tackles) and Mehdi Squalli (41) and Colin Meropoulos (6 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss) have been the catalysts.
Other college games on Saturday include Middlebury (1-3) at Colby (1-3), 1 p.m.; Bates (1-3) at Trinity (4-0), 1 p.m.; and Amherst (3-1) at Bowdoin (0-4), 1 p.m.