WHERE: Alfond Stadium, Orono

KICKOFF: Noon Saturday

WEB: FloSports

ALL-TIME SERIES: Maine leads, 3-1

LAST MEETING: Nov. 9, 2019, won by Maine, 31-17

LAST WEEK: Elon defeated Richmond, 20-7; Maine had a bye

KEY STAT: 12, the number of turnovers Elon’s defense has forced, which ranks sixth in the nation

OUTLOOK: This is a must-win game for the Black Bears, who are coming off a bye week and have six Colonial Athletic Association games remaining. If the Black Bears are to win, their defense is going to have to step up. Maine’s defense has struggled mightily this year, giving up 462.8 yards per game, including 301.3 passing. And the Black Bears will be tested by the Phoenix. QB Davis Cheek, who missed the 2021 spring season, is throwing for 277.4 yards per game, which ranks 15th in the nation among FCS schools. He’s thrown eight touchdown passes and only two interceptions, completing 61.1 percent of his passes. And he spreads the ball around, with five receivers catching at least 15 passes so far. Maine only has two sacks (second-worst among FCS schools), but Elon has given up nine sacks. Maine must put pressure on Cheek. Offensively, Maine will continue to try to establish the running game, which is averaging only 93 yards per game. Elon gives up an average of 172.4 rushing yards, so look for Freddie Brock to try to take advantage of that. Derek Robertson will be making his third start at quarterback, and the Black Bears would like to open up the playbook a little more. He needs to get the ball downfield to his playmakers – Andre Miller, Devin Young, Zavier Scott and Michael Monios – if the Black Bears are going to have any shot.

OF NOTE: Maine QB Joe Fagnano (high ankle sprain) is out again and there is no timetable for his return. The Black Bears also may be missing RB Elijah Barnwell and DE Jamehl Wiley, both because of ankle injuries. … The Black Bears have been shut out in the fourth quarter in every game, getting outscored by a total of 38-0. Opponents have a 74-16 edge in the second half. … Elon, meanwhile, struggles early, being outscored 35-13 in the first quarter. The Phoenix have trailed in every game, falling behind by double digits in four of their first games. … Maine is 17-6 in its last 23 games when rushing for at least 100 yards.

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