The University of Maine will will be on the road for four of its first five football games this fall, according to the schedule released Thursday.

Two of those games will be at Football Bowl Subdivision opponents; the Black Bears will receive a combined payment of $610,000.

UMass will host Maine on Sept. 7 at Gillette Stadium — home of the New England Patriots — in Foxborough, Mass. Two weeks later, Maine will travel to Illinois to play Northwestern, which is coming off a 10-3 season that included a Gator Bowl victory over Mississippi State.

“This schedule is one of, if not the most, challenging schedule a Black Bear team has ever played,” said UMaine Coach Jack Cosgrove in a prepared statement. “For the first time, a Maine team will be playing two FBS teams, with the possibility of playing the highest-ranked FBS team ever in program history.”

Maine’s final eight games are against fellow Colonial Athletic Association members, culminating with rival New Hampshire on Nov. 23 in Durham.

“In addition to taking on a CAA schedule, which is always tough,” Cosgrove said, “we will be playing Norfolk State for the first time and will continue our recently started rivalry with Bryant.”

The Black Bears are coming off a 5-6 season. The schedule expands by one game this year because of where the Thanksgiving holiday falls.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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