November 23, 2013

‘Palpable excitement’ around UMaine campus

The nation’s fourth-ranked FCS football team is making inroads on a campus where hockey long has reigned.

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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University of Maine quarterback Marcus Wasilewski (7) and teammate Daniel Collins (14) celebrate after defeating Rhode Island 41-0 in an NCAA football game in Orono on Nov. 16. Their team now holds a 10-1 record. Their success has caused “a nice little bit of unity” on campus, a student says.

Michael C. York/The Associated Press

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Twice this month she opened the store for four hours on a football Saturday.

“We opened up at 11 o’clock before game time at 12:30,” Gagnon said, “and I had customers waiting in the hallways to get in and thanking us that we were open.”

She said Colonial Athletic Association championship T-shirts and sweatshirts are on order and the regular football merchandise is selling briskly.

“We’ve done very well and it’s nice, because the players are so genuine and humble, they really are,” she said. “They come in here and you can chat up with them.”

ATTENDANCE INCHES UP

Joe Roberts, the associate athletic director for external operations, keeps track of student attendance at football games. Students aren’t charged for tickets, but must present their student IDs to get them.

“We averaged about 1,065 students a game last year,” Roberts said. “This year, we’re up to 1,125.”

The first two home games, which started at 3:30 p.m. in September and early October, drew the most students, including a high of 1,979 against Bryant – still less than a quarter of the undergraduate enrollment of about 8,400.

The other three home games, 12:30 p.m. starts against William & Mary, Stony Brook and Rhode Island, drew smaller numbers, although there was a bump of about 150 students for the conference clincher last weekend.

Roberts isn’t sure what to expect for a home playoff game, but he’s hoping for a strong student turnout.

“It could be awesome,” he said. “It could be historic. We’re going to do everything we can to drive attendance, to get people excited ... We just need the home date to make it happen.”

Would Belisle consider attending a home playoff game?

“I am definitely going to that game,” he said.

Might be something to tell his grandson about someday.

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

Gjordan@pressherald.com

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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