ORONO — Damarr Aultman scored a touchdown in Maine’s first game of the season. He hasn’t scored one since.

He leads the Black Bears with 992 all-purpose yards, three times more than Nigel Beckford’s second-place total. But he hasn’t broken loose for one of his signature kickoff returns.

There are two games remaining in the senior’s career, and he would like nothing more than to burst into the open field and get into the end zone one more time.

But Aultman is content to do what he’s being asked to these days, and that is to make the short catches, to help his freshman quarterback turn third downs into first downs. And bide his time.

“At times I’m the only senior on the field for the offense,” Aultman said. “I feel like it’s my job when it’s crunch time, when we need a play, we need to rely on someone who’s consistent, who can get the job done. That’s when I feel like they should call on me, because I’m ready.”

Aultman has caught seven passes in each of the past three games. Not coincidentally, Maine (4-5, 3-3 Colonial Athletic Association) has won two of them. He’ll be the prime target for Drew Belcher again Saturday, when the Black Bears make their first visit to league newcomer Elon (1-9, 0-6). The Phoenix are another team that allows opponents to complete short passes, focusing on not allowing big-yardage plays.

Aultman leads Maine with 41 receptions, but is averaging only 11 yards per catch.

“A lot of teams are giving us the hitches, giving us a lot of short gains, so if they’re going to give it to us, we’re going to take it,” Aultman said. “When I see a lot of teams playing zone, that’s a huge light bulb for me because I know I can have a huge game.”

Aultman scored Maine’s lone touchdown on a 33-yard reception in a season-opening 10-6 win over Norfolk State. He had a 46-yard catch on a fourth-down play in a 20-14 victory at Rhode Island. But the big plays that had characterized his previous three seasons – when he had 16 receiving touchdowns and three more on kick returns – have been harder to come by.

Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove thinks that’s because opposing teams are concentrating on wrapping up Aultman. At 5-foot-10, 203 pounds, he has both great speed and terrific lower-body strength, which enables him to break free from would-be tacklers.

But Aultman hasn’t let his lack of personal success cloud his ability to be a team leader. He’s been voted the team’s offensive captain for the past six weeks.

“He’s a kid that radiates energy. He’s got a big smile on his face,” Cosgrove said. “He practices hard with his teammates and he has fun when he’s out there.”

Elon has an inexperienced defensive secondary, which Aultman is eager to test.

The Phoenix are also young on the offensive line. That’s where pass rushers like Zachary Hume are eager to make a mark, although they know they must be patient, as Aultman has been. Hume, a redshirt freshman, is a frequent blitzer from the weak-side linebacker spot and moves to defensive end in passing situations.

He had five tackles in a 33-20 victory over Richmond on Saturday. But the Spiders were intent on getting their passes off quickly, with quarterback Michael Rocco usually only dropping back three steps before firing. The result was only one Maine sack, but four interceptions.

Elon is another team that isn’t shy about throwing the football, and likes to do so quickly.

“It’s pretty frustrating because you don’t really get a chance to do much,” said Hume, a fleet 220-pounder who leads Maine with 5.5 sacks and is sixth in tackles with 39 despite beginning the season as a backup. “You’ve got to hurry up. I can still get there, if I get the right move.”

For Hume, those moves typically involve perfect timing of a stunt, in which he’ll let a teammate like Trevor Bates bull-rush into the offensive line and then swing in behind him. Blitzing is a matter of precision, and that is something Hume is grasping, Cosgrove said.

“You have got to be where you’re supposed to be. If you decide to take a detour because you don’t like where you’re going, you’re detouring into somebody else and disrupting the whole blitz,” Cosgrove said. “You’ve just got to be persistent. He’s learning that.”

So Hume will be using his speed and patience, and Aultman will try to do the same Saturday. Plus a little moxie.

“When I see a corner who’s only a sophomore, me being a senior, I say all right, I know exactly what I’m going to do with this. I’ve already got it planned out,” Aultman said. “I’ll just try different moves that I know he hasn’t seen.

“It’s extra confidence knowing that someone younger than you can’t stop you.”