Maine Black Bears
2014 Record: 5-6
F/+ Rank: N/A
Wins: URI, Norfolk State, Towson, Richmond, Elon
Losses: Boston College, Bryant, Villanova, Stony Brook, Albany, UNH
Season Recap: In 2013, the Maine Black Bears were one of the toasts of the entire FCS. They lost only one game against their division, a 24-3 loss to New Hampshire on the road in the season's last week. They defeated an FBS opponent when they beat UMass, 24-14, and they hung tough with nationally-ranked Northwestern before two defensive Wildcat touchdowns doomed the Black Bears, 35-21. The #5 national scene in the tournament, they couldn't get over the UNH hump, losing 41-27 in the NCAA Second Round.
Having lost their quarterback and two leading receivers, the Black Bears entered '14 with tempered expectations. After eking out a 10-6 win over Norfolk State, Maine failed to gain 300 yards and allowed Bryant to rally in a 13-10 loss. Following a blow out loss to Boston College, quarterback Dan Collins threw a 37 yard touchdown pass to Jordan Dunn with less than a minute remaining to open league play with a 27-24 win over Towson.
Now at 2-2, the roof caved in with three straight losses. Blown out by Villanova, 41-20, they lost to both Stony Brook and Albany, losing Collins along the way in a 19-7 defeat to the Seawolves. New quarterback Drew Belcher rallied the team, winning three straight to pull the team back to .500 heading into the UNH game. But the northern New England rivalry once again ended with a Wildcat victory (20-12), ending the Maine season at 5-6.
Series: Boston College leads the series 5-3.
First matchup: 1913 (Maine won 6-0)
Last matchup: 2014 (Boston College won 40-10)
Coach Resume: Jack Cosgrove, coach for the past 23 seasons
Per his Maine Black Bear Bio
During the last 13 seasons, few coaches in the Colonial Athletic Association can lay claim to the success that Cosgrove has achieved. He has guided Maine to a 91-68 mark, finishing first or second in the conference or division seven times, including two Atlantic 10 championships (2001-02), five NCAA FCS playoff appearances (2001, 2002, 2008, 2011 & 2013) and leading the Black Bears to a pair of wins over FBS opponents, the first in 2004 when they knocked off Mississippi State, 9-7, before defeating UMass at Gillette Stadium, 24-14, in 2013.
Both Collins and Belcher are both back, as is Nigel Beckford, the team's leading rusher. With Damarr Aultman gone, Jordan Dunn is the team's leading returning receiver, but he only had 33 catches for 282 yards a year ago. So there really isn't a whole lot to go on here.
Lineman Situation: See above. We have no idea who it would be or if it even matters.
Returning Quarterback: Yes
This will likely be a multi-horse race for the Black Bears. Collins returns from injury but is still young enough to bounce back fast. Belcher, a local native from Reading, Massachusetts, was forced into action last year as a true freshman and adjusted quickly to the college game. We spoke with Rhody Rampage's Dave Ascoli, who believed Belcher will be named the starter to at least begin the season. The second leading rusher, expect a simplified offense for the BC game, especially since Coach Cosgrove believes he needs to cut out the scrambling.
New to the team is another freshman, Jack Walsh. Depending on what happens with both Belcher and Collins, he may be forced to see action, but it's unlikely since Maine won't want to play a true freshman again unless it's absolutely necessary.
Biggest Problem for 2015: According to Ascoli, Maine has no wide receivers, and both of their quarterbacks are average at best.
Biggest Strength for 2015: The Black Bears have a strong defense including junior linebacker Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga who led the Bears with 95 tackles. He's the latest of a list of solid Maine defenders including Lofa Tatupu (who transferred to USC), Stephen Cooper, and Jovan Belcher.