Sunday’s snowstorm shut down the University of Maine campus and disrupted the football team’s preparation for Saturday’s game against No. 8 Richmond.

But before the power went out, Jack Cosgrove and his coaching staff had time to watch film of the Spiders’ 10-9 takedown of Villanova.

Speaking of power outages …

“That’s the best I’ve seen (Villanova quarterback John) Robertson be defended,” Cosgrove said Monday of a Richmond defense that held the No. 7 Wildcats 32 points below their average in Colonial Athletic Association games. The loss snapped Villanova’s seven-game winning streak.

Robertson, a junior who torched Maine with four touchdown passes in a 41-20 victory in Orono on Oct. 4, was limited to 65 yards rushing and 139 yards passing by Richmond.

“They played smart, played hard, played with a lot of emotion,” Cosgrove said of the Spiders.

Maine had a bye last week and the players were scheduled to gather as usual Sunday evening. Then the snow started piling up, driving became treacherous and Cosgrove told his players to stay away. Classes were canceled Monday morning.

“I’ve never seen (snow) like this up here this early,” Cosgrove said. “They’re (the players) all present and accounted for and getting their first taste of Maine.”

When practice resumes, the Black Bears’ first order of business will be figuring out how to run against a stout Richmond defensive front that is allowing only 3.9 yards per carry. Maine will again be without junior tailbacks Nigel Jones and Isaiah Jones this week. Freshman Nigel Beckford is in line to get the start.

“We’re going to line up and come off the football and do everything we can possibly do,” Cosgrove said. “We’ve got to work on our mentality, our toughness. We’ve got to believe that we can run the football.”

The Spiders, meanwhile, were casting a wary eye on the weather in Orono. Richmond was stretching in 42-degree temperatures Sunday – cool for Richmond, Virginia, at this time of year.

Coach Danny Rocco told his players that was also the forecasted temperature for Saturday’s game at 12:30 p.m. at Alfond Stadium.

“There is some legitimacy to communicating that message, ‘This is what 42 degrees feels like just in case you guys were wondering,’ ” Rocco said. “We just recognize it for what it is and go out there and play the best football game we possibly can play.”

RICHMOND PLAYED its best defensive game against Villanova. Linebacker Omar Howard played a big role, making 18 tackles.

“I thought it was a signature win for our season,” Rocco said. “(Howard) just was all over the field and just refused to remain blocked. They got bodies on him and good effort and contact and he just stayed on his feet and had a sense for where the ball was going to go.”

Villanova Coach Andy Talley had a different view of the game.

“Pretty ugly game actually,” Talley said after his team paid for a missed extra point, a dropped snap on a punt and a punt return fumbled away.

“I think we probably accomplished every mistake that could be made in a kicking-game situation.”

Robertson was held in check by a Spider defense that sat back in a soft zone and rushed only four or five players. Villanova was anticipating more blitzes and man-to-man coverage.

“If you win a one-point game like that, you probably forget about it and move on,” Talley said.

EVERETT WITHERS has reason to feel pretty good about his James Madison team as well, although he sounded more like a wet blanket Monday. The Dukes ran their winning streak to four Saturday in dramatic fashion, thrilling a homecoming crowd by scoring 18 points in the final 12 minutes to beat William & Mary, 31-24. Vad Lee threw the winning touchdown pass with 47 seconds left.

“We didn’t play very well in the kicking game and we had way too many penalties. We’ve won four games in spite of ourselves,” Withers said.

James Madison’s strength has been its defensive line. Sage Harold was named CAA co-defensive player of the week after recording nine tackles and three sacks Saturday.

Still, Withers said it’s too soon to be talking about the playoffs because the Dukes (6-3) visit Stony Brook and Richmond in the next two weeks.

Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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