ORONO — Friday was a quiet day at the University of Maine football offices. Coaches and players slowly filtered in, sleep still hanging on their eyes.

And with good reason. Most of them didn’t get much sleep the night before. Coach Joe Harasymiak didn’t go to bed until 5 a.m. He had to watch the game again. Not once but twice.

The Black Bears throttled nationally ranked New Hampshire 35-7 in their opener Thursday night before a crowd of 6,597 at Alfond Stadium, ending an eight-game losing streak against the Wildcats.

Harasymiak watched not only the coach’s cut of the game but the televised version. He wanted to soak in the excitement once more before getting back to work. The Black Bears have little time to celebrate their win and the return of the Brice-Cowell musket, given annually to the winner of the border rivalry.

Their daunting schedule doesn’t allow it.

“Getting off to that start was huge because now you’ve got two on the road against (Football Bowl Subdivision) teams,” said Harasymiak. “On the road again after that against Yale. Hopefully the confidence we gained from this will carry us forward because we have a huge challenge next week.”

Maine travels to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for a game Saturday night against Western Kentucky, an FBS team that has a bigger roster, bigger budget and more scholarship players. It is the first of back-to-back FBS games for Maine, a member of the lower-tier Football Championship Subdivision. Following a bye week, Maine plays Sept. 22 at Central Michigan.

Playing two FBS schools provides a needed boost to Maine’s athletic budget. The Black Bears will receive $300,000 from Western Kentucky and $400,000 from Central Michigan.

A week after Central Michigan, Maine is on the road again, playing at Yale, the defending Ivy League champion.

“After (Friday), for our players, we’ve got to move on,” said Nick Charlton, Maine’s offensive coordinator. “Enjoy this, then move on. We’ve got a tall order coming on.”

Western Kentucky, which lost its opener 34-3 at Wisconsin on Friday night, went 6-7 in Conference USA last year. The Hilltoppers have only 10 seniors but Harasymiak said that doesn’t matter.

“Just watching them from last year, they’re big, they’re fast,” he said. “It’s an FBS program. Ready to go.”

The Black Bears held team meetings Friday afternoon, breaking down the film of their win, looking to correct things they did wrong.

After a game in which Maine limited New Hampshire to 116 yards – 62 on the Wildcats’ touchdown drive – and recorded six sacks, there’s not a whole lot to fix defensively.

“Just a lot of little things we’ve got to clean up,” said Corey Hetherman, Maine’s defensive coordinator.

Harasymiak said it’s important to embrace the celebration but also for the players to understand the work needs to continue.

“There’s a fine line there,” he said. “We won so we have to enjoy it and feel the impact that it has – my phone, my email, messages from alumni have been incredible. It makes you feel you’re impacting people who weren’t even here.

“When you win, you can correct mistakes more easily than when you lose because when you lose, it’s approaching it in a different manner. Look, our special teams have got to be better, they have to be … But we’re just excited about correcting those things with the confidence of winning.”

Sophomore Kenny Doak missed two PAT kicks (one was blocked). In last year’s 24-23 loss to New Hampshire, Doak missed two field goals as well as a fourth-quarter PAT that would have tied the game.

Freshman David Gelb had a couple of short punts that gave New Hampshire good field position. And the return teams had some near-misses: Micah Wright fumbled a punt, only to recover it, and the kickoff return team nearly allowed New Hampshire to recover a short kick.

Harasymiak said he doesn’t plan any changes in his kicking personnel.

Senior tight end Drew Belcher beat New Hampshire for the first time in five tries. He led Maine in catches Thursday with five for 34 yards. He also threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jaquan Blair in the third quarter.

“We’ve been working on that (play) in practice,” said Belcher, who a year ago lost the quarterback battle to Chris Ferguson and became a tight end. “I kind of underthrew it a little. I don’t have the same arm I had back in the day. But Jaquan made a great play on the ball and then to get into the end zone.”

Belcher knows what the victory means to the program. “I think we probably woke some people up,” he said.

“It’s obviously a great start to the year and we’re going to enjoy it for one or two days, but it’s going to be time to move on. It’s just the first game of the year. It’s the first step but it’s a long season.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH