WHERE: Alfond Stadium, Orono

KICKOFF: Noon Saturday

ALL-TIME SERIES: James Madison leads, 11-5

LAST MEETING: Nov. 3, 2012, won by James Madison, 31-7

WHEN MAINE HAS THE BALL: Wide receiver Micah Wright returns from his two-game suspension to give the passing game a jolt. But the Black Bears will look to control the clock with their running game and then take some shots down field. Quarterback Dan Collins needs to be on target.

WHEN JAMES MADISON HAS THE BALL: The Dukes will run the ball until they’re stopped. They average 339.7 rushing yards, second in the nation, led by Cardon Johnson (297 yards total) and Khalid Abdullah (272). Each has scored four touchdowns. Quarterback Bryan Schor doesn’t make many mistakes in the passing game.

KEY STAT: 69. That’s the yardage James Madison is averaging on its three punt returns this year. All have been returned for touchdowns.

OUTLOOK: Maine had a week off to prepare for the Dukes and is as healthy as it’s been in a while. The Black Bears need to continue a mistake-free offense (no turnovers yet) and be effective on third-down plays, both offensively and defensively. The Dukes average 54.7 points. The best way to beat that offense is to keep it off the field.

OF NOTE: This is Maine’s home opener and Colonial Athletic Association opener. Maine has won such games each of the last three years.

THEY SAID IT: “A win would be nice, for sure. In camp, our offense played well in the second scrimmage. Our defense has been known to play well. It’s now, when are we going to put an effort together where we can come out on the winning side? So we can experience that, too.” – Joe Harasymiak, Maine coach, on his team’s six-game losing skid.

filed under: