WHERE: Alfond Stadium, Orono

KICKOFF: 1 p.m. Saturday


ALL-TIME SERIES: Villanova leads, 14-10

KEY STAT: Villanova has won six of its last seven games against the Black Bears.

OUTLOOK: Maine is coming off a bye week to play its first conference game of the season. The preseason favorite in the Colonial Athletic Association, Villanova dropped its conference opener last week, 49-42 to Monmouth. It was the second straight loss for the Wildcats, who fell to FBS Army, 49-10, on Sept. 17. The bye week gave Maine a chance get some injured players back on the field. Coach Jordan Stevens said offensive lineman Tyler Royal is back, and wide receiver Kobay White, a transfer from Boston College who missed the last two games, should have a role in this game. Maine quarterback Joe Fagnano is coming off a 289-yard passing effort in a 38-17 loss to Boston College. Now, improving a running attack that averages just 2.6 yards per carry is a key to Maine’s offense. Defensive back Jalen Goodman and linebackers Shane Hartzell and Antonio Montero lead Villanova’s defense.

Defensively, the Black Bears must contain Villanova quarterback Connor Watkins, who has thrown for 807 yards and seven touchdowns, but has eight interceptions. Watkins also has four rushing touchdowns. Jalen Jackson is the Wildcats’ top rushing threat, with 293 yards and four touchdowns. Safety Robby Riobe will be important in Maine’s pass defense and run stopping. Defensive end Justin Sambu has three sacks to lead the Black Bears, who, with nine sacks in three games, are already approaching their 2021 season total of 12.

OF NOTE: With this game, Maine becomes the final team in the CAA to play a conference game this season. Each of the remaining eight games on Maine’s schedule is a conference contest. … Fagnano enters this game 41 yards short of 4,000 passing yards for his career. Fagnano needs 438 yards to move into 10th place all-time in passing yards at Maine. … Both starting quarterbacks, Fagnano and Watkins, are from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. … Villanova is ranked No. 14 in the nation in the Stats Perform FCS poll, and No. 15 in the AFCA FCS Coaches poll. … Maine and Villanova last played in the abbreviated spring 2021 season, with Villanova winning, 44-17. In that game, Black Bears wideout Zavier Scott had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career, with six catches for 102 yards. Against BC two weeks ago, Scott had career highs with eight catches and 135 yards.

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