We’re up to our third opponent preview of the preseason as we profile Boston College Football’s matchup with the FCS’s Maine Black Bears.
Maine is somehow not BC’s lowest-ranked opponent of the season, but when you’ve got UConn on the schedule, that’s not really a tough bar to clear. Jeff Sagarin has the Black Bears ranked as the 175th best college football team in the country last year, easily clearing the Huskies at 190th. Ouch.
Coming off a 6-5 record, the Black Bears were a pretty middle-of-the-road team in a pretty middle-of-the-road FCS conference last season, so this really shouldn’t be a difficult tune-up game — particularly given that the Eagles will have gotten a couple swings of the bat with the donut on in weeks 1 and 2 against Rutgers and Virginia Tech.
Maine actually put up decent points last year relative to their peers. Their 25 points per game were good for 4th in the Colonial Athletic Association, and that was with a lack of stability under center. After being named All-CAA Second Team for the COVID-shortened 2020 season, starting QB Joe Fagnano missed most of 2021 with an injury — though not before putting up 305 yards with two passing scores against #5 Delaware in the season opener. He did come back before the year was out but was only able to play in four total games. Freshman Derek Robertson filled in pretty admirably, though. His 188.1 yards per game in his 7.5 contests was good for 5th in the conference.
The Black Bears should get their senior starting QB back for this season, and he’s got an elite weapon to throw to: Former preseason All-ACC wide receiver Kobay White transferred out of Boston College following his 2021 injury and while he originally planned on transferring to James Madison, he ended up at Maine and will get a chance to play against his former team back at Chestnut Hill.
Let’s not get carried away expecting Maine to keep up with BC’s offense here — they’re still mid-pack FCS team, after all. But they should be able to put up some respectable yards through the air.
The Black Bears’ defense was much more of a liability last year, though. Despite their winning record, they were 11th out of 12 in the CAA in total defense and 10th in scoring defense. They allowed plenty of yards both on the ground and through the air, but if you had to nail down their biggest weakness it was probably their complete inability to get pressure the quarterback. Their 12 sacks in 11 games were far and away the worst in the conference (even second-to-last put up 160) and the lack of pressure is certainly not going to improve against an ACC offensive line — even one that has to replace some of its main pieces. You would expect an elite quarterback like Phil Jurkovec to have a field day against this unit with how much time he’ll have to survey his options.
BC and Maine last played in 2015 with the Eagles taking the 24-3 win, as well as in 2014 (40-10), and 2012 (34-3) with BC taking the victories in similar blowouts. You would expect nothing different this season, and hopefully Coach Hafley can get some younger players some lengthy minutes in the second half of the contest.