UALBANY Football Week 8 Preview, UAlbany @ Maine 10/27/18

by Ryan McCarthy, BBM Staff Writer

The UAlbany Great Danes look to break their losing streak as they travel to Orono to face the Maine Black Bears on Saturday afternoon. The Great Danes remain winless in the CAA (0-4, 2-6 overall) while Maine (4-3 overall, 3-1 CAA) is looking to recover from last week’s loss at the hands of William and Mary. The Black Bears were nationally ranked prior to last week’s loss. For the second straight week, UAlbany will play a homecoming match, but this week is Maine’s homecoming.

How do both teams match up?

UAlbany Offense vs. Maine Defense: The Great Danes offense was doing their best to keep up with Towson’s offense last week before getting shutout throughout most of the second half. QB Vincent Testaverde was replaced in the fourth quarter after consistency problems and being sacked three times. The running game looks to get their game going again after only averaging 3.6 yards per carry against Towson. If the running game does manage to be successful, it’ll have to be against a very tough Black Bear defense. Maine ranks first in the conference in rush defense, allowing 61.7 yards on the ground per game and are second in total defense. Keep an eye on LB Deshawn Stevens; the sophomore leads the Black Bears with 62 total tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss. He’s also second on the team in sacks to fellow LB Sterling Sheffield, who is seventh in FCS with 7.5 sacks. The Black Bears lead the conference with 28 total sacks.

UAlbany Defense vs. Maine Offense: Maine’s offense is predicated on one thing and one thing only: ball control.  The Black Bears are tied for first in the conference in time of possession, averaging just over 32 minutes per game. QB Chris Ferguson has been the primary pivot for the Black Bears this season, throwing for 951 yards and seven touchdowns. The Black Bears like to spread the wealth around; five receivers have over 20 catches. WR Micah Wright leads the Black Bears with 30 receptions for 345 yards and four touchdowns. The Black Bears als feature a dual threat in the backfield; RB Joe Fitzpatrick leads the team with 338 yards while RB Ramon Jefferson has 301 yards on the ground. Two weaknesses Maine has that could get them into trouble are turnovers and penalties. The Black Bears’ have forced fourteen turnovers, but they have also turned the ball over 12 times. Ferguson has thrown five interceptions. Maine also leads the conference in penalties with 64.

Outlook: If either team wants to win this game, they’ll have to rely on the old axioms of football: control the clock, commit the least penalties, and don’t turn the ball over. Whoever does all three of these things will prevail. Maine will have home field advantage and a homecoming crowd behind them, which means UAlbany best show up hungry to get their first win in a month.

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