Don’t get carried away, Maine football fans.

The Black Bears upset of No. 8 Richmond on Saturday was nice.

And in two weeks they will host New Hampshire, currently the top-ranked team in the Football Championship Subdivision.

But even if Maine beats Elon this week and stuns the Wildcats the following week to finish 6-5, Coach Jack Cosgrove sees no possibility of a playoff berth.

“Absolutely not,” Cosgrove was quick to say Monday when the subject was raised. “Our body of work is not deserving of that. … We feel like we’re getting better and there’s a sense of that within the team, so that’s really what our primary concern is right now.”

Maine (4-5, 3-3 Colonial Athletic Association) has won two straight and is looking for a strong end to a season that had a shaky beginning. Cosgrove has said many times that the Black Bears laid the groundwork for their 2013 league title by winning three of their final four games in 2012.

Elon is in its first year in the CAA and has yet to win a league game. The Phoenix are coming off a 17-7 loss to William & Mary that left Cosgrove impressed.

“I really thought they were the better team in the second half of that game,” Cosgrove said after Elon fell behind 17-0 but maintained maximum effort. “They’re a team that’s hungry to win, and we know that feeling very well here.”

Maine hasn’t produced eye-popping offensive numbers, but the Black Bears continued one positive trend Saturday when they scored all four times they reached the red zone. They lead the league in that category by coming away with points 89.5 percent of the time.

“It’s kind of a strange stat because we don’t get down there very often (19 times), but we’ve been productive,” Cosgrove said.

“That always is good to be able to rely on your field-goal kicker (Sean Decloux). I think he’s been very trustworthy. We’ve run the ball a little bit better in that area of the field than we have in our own end. We have some talented receivers that have made some plays for us, Damarr Aultman in particular, down in the red zone.”

ELON MAY TEST Decloux. The Phoenix blocked two field goals against William & Mary. Unfortunately for Elon, it reciprocated by missing one field goal and having another blocked. The Phoenix were also foiled by a pair of interceptions deep in William & Mary territory.

“That was kind of the nature of the game,” Elon Coach Rich Skrosky said.

The Phoenix got 120 rushing yards from Tracey Coppedge, as a young offensive line is starting to jell.

But quarterback Mike Quinn continues to be uneven. He completed 19 of 39 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, making some of his best throws of the season.

On the other hand, “The two turnovers he had in the red zone were big plays that kind of flipped the game,” Skrosky said. “He doesn’t need to press. He doesn’t need to put an ‘S’ on his chest, he just needs to run the offense.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE MOVED to the top of the FCS poll Monday after two-time defending national champion North Dakota State had its 33-game winning streak ended at Northern Iowa.

Wildcats Coach Sean McDonnell, whose team is coming off a 41-14 win at Rhode Island, was blasé about the ranking.

“It just means that you’ve done some pretty good work within a certain time frame,” he said. “The great thing about FCS football is there’s one thing that really counts and that’s league play. If you’re fortunate enough to get to the playoffs, we do truly crown a champion. North Dakota State has been the champion. They’re the best team in the country. We have a great league, we have a great opportunity in the next couple of weeks to possibly get in the playoffs again. That’s what we’ve got to be focusing on.”

It helps that quarterback Sean Goldrich returned from a knee injury suffered Sept. 20 and torched Rhode Island for 330 yards passing and two touchdowns.

He ran for another score.

“This kid’s got a strong desire to be good, a strong desire to want to play,” McDonnell said after Goldrich battled injuries for a third consecutive season.

DELAWARE IS UP next for the No. 1 Wildcats, and the Blue Hens are no pushover. Delaware improved to 6-4 with a 31-28 win at Albany on Saturday, using a 21-point third quarter to take control.

Coach Dave Brock said it’s too early to suggest his team has rediscovered its mojo, however.

“I think sometimes the name Delaware is looked at because of things that have happened in the distant past. We’re in the process of rebuilding this program, make no mistake about that,” he said.

“I think in terms of who we are and where we are, we have a very realistic view of what we’re doing.”

Getting a shot at the top-ranked team in the country, followed by a matchup with No. 7 Villanova, will be a big test.

“I’m not a big rankings person, but certainly New Hampshire, their resume stands up against anybody over the last nine years,” Brock said. “It’s exciting for us. We want to play meaningful games in November and we’re able to do that.”

Running back is a position of strength for Delaware, which ran for 234 yards at Albany. Jalen Randolph led the way with 104, Wes Hills added 79 and Michael Johnson had 36.

“That’s really the (only) position that we have a depth chart that looks like a depth chart at Delaware should look like,” Brock said.


“We’re not good enough in any area right now to feel like that area will carry us,” he said. “But if we can get all things going on all cylinders, then at least we’re a competitive team.”