Expect Richmond to try to pressure Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson on Saturday. The Spiders had seven sacks last week in a victory over Albany. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

WHERE: Alfond Stadium, Orono

KICKOFF: Noon Saturday


ALL-TIME SERIES: Maine leads, 14-13

LAST MEETING: Nov. 10, 2018, won by Maine, 28-9

LAST WEEK: Richmond defeated Albany, 23-20; Maine had a bye week

WHEN MAINE HAS THE BALL: Even with the nation’s sixth-best passing offense (331.8 yards per game), the Black Bears will continue to look to get their running game going. Richmond’s pass defense is ranked second in the CAA (195.2 yards per game) and the Spiders have a potent pass rush, led by defensive end Maurice Jackson (five sacks, nine tackles for a loss). While Maine has allowed only five sacks, expect Richmond to pressure QB Chris Ferguson. That’s why getting running backs Joe Fitzpatrick and Emmanuel Reed going is so important, to give Ferguson a chance to use play-action to slow down the pass rush and get the ball to his playmakers on the outside, especially Earnest Edwards, who has scored in 10 of his last 11 games.

WHEN RICHMOND HAS THE BALL: The Spiders will try to run the ball first, and they rely on their quarterbacks to do it. Beau English, a transfer from Air Force, appears to have taken over the starting position. He has rushed for 131 yards (third on the team), while Joe Mancuso, the former starter, leads Richmond with 171 yards. English struggled to throw the ball last week against Albany, but he has completed 71 percent of his passes this season for 527 yards and two touchdowns. Many are quick hitters to his skill players. But he is facing the CAA’s top pass defense in the Black Bears, who allow just 164.8 yards per game.

KEY STAT: Four – consecutive years Maine has lost its first game after the bye week.

OUTLOOK: If ever the Maine running game is going to get untracked, this would be a good week. While Maine’s passing game features four playmakers on the outside in Edwards, Jaquan Blair, Devin Young and Andre Miller, they’ll be challenged by a tall secondary that can be physical. In addition, Richmond’s pass rush can cause problems. Richmond had seven sacks last week against Albany, which had given up only six going into the game. So Maine’s running backs are going to have to take some pressure off the passing game. Defensively, Maine needs to get after English, who has the ability to escape the rush, and not give him any time to find his skill players. Richmond won’t do anything fancy, so Maine has to play a sound defensive game.

OF NOTE: Maine is ranked 18th and 20th in the two FCS national polls. … Linebacker Jaron Grayer (shoulder) and running back Emmanuel Reed (ankle) are both expected to play for the Black Bears. … Richmond defensive back Aaron Banks was injured against Albany and will not play. … The Spiders have lost their last six games against Top 25 teams. … Richmond freshman kicker Jake Larson was CAA special teams player of the week after kicking three field goals against Albany.

Comments are not available on this story.