WHERE: Alfond Stadium, Orono

KICKOFF: Noon Saturday


ALL-TIME SERIES: Maine leads, 60-34-3

LAST MEETING: Oct. 13, 2018, won by Maine, 38-36

LAST WEEK: Rhode Island lost to William & Mary, 55-18; Maine defeated Elon, 31-17

WHEN MAINE HAS THE BALL: The Black Bears are averaging 37.4 points during their three-game winning streak. And while the passing game is putting up a lot of points and yards – freshman QB Joe Fagnano has thrown for 826 yards and eight touchdowns in those wins – the running game has been a factor as well. With Joe Fitzpatrick and Emmanuel Reed carrying the load, Maine has averaged 146.7 yards per game during the streak. Wide receivers Earnest Edwards, Jaquan Blair and Devin Young have combined for seven touchdowns in the last three games as Maine has brought some balance to its attack. Look for Maine to attack the CAA’s worst run defense early, opening up the play-action passing game.

WHEN RHODE ISLAND HAS THE BALL: The Rams have the CAA’s worst rushing offense (only 91.7 yards per game), but their passing attack is superb – no matter who is at quarterback. The Rams have played two QBs recently, junior Vito Priore and freshman Darius Perrantes. The Black Bears have to prepare for both, though they have similar styles. Their job is to get the ball to the likes of Aaron Parker (71 catches, 1,045 yards, eight touchdowns) and Isaiah Coulter (60 catches, 953 yards, eight TDs). Maine’s secondary, especially cornerbacks Katley Joseph and Shaquille St. Lot, is going to be tested over and over.

KEY STAT: 12 – consecutive victories for Maine over Rhode Island.

OUTLOOK: This is a game Maine must and should win. It matches the two most prolific passing offenses in the CAA (Maine ranked first at 315.9 yards per game, the Rams next at 312.6) and two of the best pass defenses (Maine ranked second, allowing 205.9 yards per game, Rhode Island third with 215 yards per game). But Rhode Island’s run defense is dreadful, ranking last at 237.6 yards per game. While Maine averages only 125.5 rushing yards per game, this could be the week in which the running game breaks out. Maine’s defense is certainly on a roll, collecting 12 sacks and seven turnovers during a three-game winning streak, and should be able to slow the Rams down. If Maine can put any kind of running game together to take pressure off Fagnano and the wide receivers, the Black Bears should collect their fourth win in a row.

OF NOTE: Maine will likely be without linebacker Jaron Grayer, wide receiver Andre Miller and tight end Shawn Bowman, all suffering from knee injuries. … The Black Bears have won nine consecutive home games against the Rams. … Road teams are 20-17 in CAA games this year; Maine is 2-2 at home this year, 1-2 in CAA home games. … Earnest Edwards is 90 yards away from surpassing Sergio Hebra (2,612 yards) as Maine’s all-time leader in receiving yards. … In his four starts, Fagnano has thrown the three longest touchdown passes in Maine history (90, 88 and 87 yards). … Rhode Island has been plagued by turnovers, with 13 in its last three losses – including four in the first half last week.

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