WHERE: Houchens-Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, Kentucky

KICKOFF: 7:35 p.m. Saturday


ALL-TIME SERIES: First meeting

LAST WEEK: Maine defeated New Hampshire, 35-7; Western Kentucky lost to Wisconsin, 34-3

WHEN MAINE HAS THE BALL: The Black Bears’ game plan is to get the ball to their playmakers, something they did well last week. Look for QB Chris Ferguson to target wide receivers Micah Wright, Earnest Edwards and Jaquan Blair. And if they’re not open, Ferguson can drop the ball off to tight end Drew Belcher, who led Maine with five catches last week. Of course, in order for the passing game to work, Maine is going to need some running balance. Maine rushed for 199 yards against New Hampshire, with Joe Fitzpatrick gaining 80 yards and Ramon Jefferson 74. They’ll need to be able to run against a bigger Hilltopper defense if this offense is going to work.

WHEN WESTERN KENTUCKY HAS THE BALL: The Hilltoppers didn’t show much in last week’s loss at Wisconsin, but that doesn’t mean they lack offensive punch. They have some talented receivers who can do some damage when they get the ball, led by Xavier Lane and Lucky Jackson, who each caught four passes last week. Lane and Jackson can elude tacklers and turn a short gain into a long one. Quarterback Drew Eckels is an efficient passer and puts pressure on the defense with his ability to move in the pocket. He led Western Kentucky in rushing last week with 38 yards. Although there are five rookies starting on the offensive line, look for the Hilltoppers to try to get physical and establish the run against Maine’s smaller defense.

KEY STAT: 12, the number of tackles for a loss in Maine’s win over New Hampshire, including six sacks.

OUTLOOK: Western Kentucky’s defense is going to go after Maine a lot more than New Hampshire did, putting a lot of pressure on the offensive line, which will have to pick up blitzes and keep pass rushers away from Ferguson. WKU linebacker Masai Whyte had 11 tackles last week, while safety Devon Key had 10. Look for some quick passes to get the ball to Maine’s playmakers, and then some running between the tackles to try to open things up. For Maine’s defense, it’ll come down to the secondary. Maine’s aggressive style leaves its defensive backs in a lot of 1-on-1 coverage, and cornerbacks Manny Patterson and Shaquille St-Lot are going to be matched up against taller, faster receivers. They’ll need help from safeties Jeff DeVaughn and Darrius Hart. And Maine has to get pressure on Eckels while containing him on the edge.

OF NOTE: Maine will be without sophomore linebacker Jaron Grayer (knee). In addition, sophomore center Chris Mulvey (cut hand) and junior linebacker Taji Lowe (eye) will be game-time decisions. … The Black Bears have a bye next week before playing at Central Michigan, another FBS team. … Maine has two victories over FBS opponents – Mississippi State in 2004 and Massachusetts in 2013. … Maine ranks second in the nation among FCS schools in total defense after allowing 108 yards in its opener.

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