Joe Fagnano has been out of the UMaine lineup since suffering a high ankle sprain in the second game of the season. Ronald Gillis photo

Joe Fagnano will return as the starting quarterback for the University of Maine when it plays at Massachusetts on Saturday.

Fagnano, a junior, had been Maine’s starting quarterback since 2019 until he suffered a high ankle sprain to his right leg in the first quarter of a 55-7 loss at James Madison on Sept. 11. He returned to practice last week, but did not play in the Black Bears’ 22-17 loss to Stony Brook on Saturday.

Coach Nick Charlton said he spoke to Fagnano and Derek Robertson, who led Maine to a 4-3 record in Fagnano’s absence, on Sunday and told them of the move. Robertson, a redshirt freshman, has completed 50.8 percent of his passes for 1,505 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with four interceptions. Robertson threw two interceptions on Saturday.

“Joe will be taking the reps with the (first team) this week,” Charlton said during the weekly Colonial Athletic Association coaches Zoom call on Monday. “It’s not because of last game … but it’s the overall body of work and whether Joe would be physically ready to play. That’s been the question along the way. So we’re going to evaluate Joe every day. Joe will be working back in with the ones and we are anticipating playing him.”

Charlton said Fagnano has looked “very good” in practices. In his limited action this year, Fagnano has completed 28 of 47 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, along with two interceptions.

Maine (4-5, 3-4 in the CAA) plays at UMass (1-8) at noon Saturday. The Minutemen, a Football Bowl Subdivision team, fired Coach Walt Bell on Sunday following a 35-22 Homecoming loss to Rhode Island last Saturday.


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