New Mexico Football: First Look At Maine Black Bears

New Mexico Football: First Look At Maine Black Bears

Mountain West Football

New Mexico Football: First Look At Maine Black Bears

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New Mexico Football: First Look At Maine Black Bears


Lobos open season up vs. an FCS fo


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Who is Maine?

The New Mexico Lobos will host the Main Black Bears in its home opener in Albuquerque on September 3 at University Stadium.

Danny Gonzales enters his 3rd year as the Lobos head coach and has a record of 4-14 and believes this Lobo ship is headed in the right direction. 

This will be the first matchup between the two programs as the Black Bears head to Albuquerque to take on the UNM Lobos in the high-altitude Albuquerque.   

This will be the first of three straight home games to open the season for the Lobos, who FBSchedules.com lists as having the 42nd most challenging schedule. 

Head Coach Danny Gonzales has named Kansas transfer Miles Kendrick as the starting quarterback for the 2022 season and ahead of the season opener against the Maine Black Bears. Kendrick is the lone senior among UNM’s five quarterbacks on the roster.

Location:  Orono, Maine

Conference: Colonial Athletic Association

Series History: First time these two teams meet 

2021 Record: 6-5 (4-4 Conference) 

NCAA Division:  Division 1 FCS

Head Coach: Jordan Stevens was named the head football coach for the Black Bears by AD Ken Ralph on December 7, 2021. So this will be his first year as the head coach for the Black Bears. 

PODCAST: 2022 New Mexico Football Preview

Stevens, a native of Temple, Maine, mentored nine All-Ivy League players and a pair of All-Colonial Athletic Association honorees during his 11-year assistant coaching career with Yale and UMaine. 

Coach Stevens was a former Black Bear player who was also the defensive line coach once his playing days were over. 

The 2021 Maine Black Bears had an up and down season. Despite the challenges they had, they managed to beat their rival, New Hampshire, for just the second time in over a decade. 

They also managed to pick up a win against FBS Umass on November 13 for just the fourth time in its history. 

Because of a rash of injuries, especially at the Quarterback position, they would finish just fifth place in the Colonial Athletic Association. 

Key Players

Freddie Brock, RB. 5-10 190

Named to Phil Steele’s CAA All-Conference Fourth Team … Two-time CAA Rookie of the Week … Appeared in 10 games, and led all Black Bears with ten touchdowns … On the ground, ran for team-high 720 yards and seven touchdowns on 132 carries, averaging 4.4 per rush and 65.5 per game

Rutgers University transfer fifth-year running back Elijah Barnwell should also help the Black Bears. Neither Brock nor Barnwell played during the spring game, as both are recovering from offseason surgeries.

Michael Gerace, OL   6-4 317

One of two Maine players to be named a first-team all-CAA selection last season, Gerace is one of the longest-tenured Black Bears on the roster. He’s appeared in 39 games since 2018, including 35 starts, and set a new personal best in 2021 with a 73.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, the eighth-best mark among FCS centers.

Khairi Manns, DL. 6-3 230

He appeared in all 11 games with 42 (17 unassisted) total tackles, six of which were for loss (30 total yards), and also had a fumble return for 20 yards which came at Northern Illinois (9/25) 

His performances came against Rhode Island (10/30) with six tackles (three unassisted), a half-sack for a loss of seven yards, and one QB hurry, and against Stony Brook (11/6) with a career-high ten tackles. 

Shawn Bowman, TE 6-5 255

Without the Black Bears’ star wideouts, Andre Miller and Devin Young look for the Black Bears to throw to tight end Shawn Bowman. 

He is a weapon for the Black Bears, especially in the Red Zone at his large frame. 

He was named to Phil Steele’s CAA All-Conference Fourth Team, and he Appeared in all 11 games and finished tied for second most touchdowns on the team with four. 

Those touchdowns came from 282 receiving yards on 24 receptions, the longest being 27 yards and third on the team in receptions and receiving yards.

Fifth on the team in all-purpose yards with 282 yards and averaged 25.6 per game, and his best performance came against Elon (10/09) with six receptions, 59 yards, and a touchdown.

New Mexico Names Kansas Transfer Miles Kendrick As Starting Quarterback

 

Joe Fagnano, QB. 6-3 225

Fagnano only got to play in four games last fall because he suffered a high ankle sprain that knocked him out for most of the year, but there’s no doubt he’s a difference maker when healthy.

 In sixteen career games, he owns a 62% completion rate and has thrown for 3,424 yards and 31 touchdowns, with an interception rate of just 1.5%.

In his last two starts of 2021, Fagnano led Maine to a 25-point win over UMass and then rallied the team from an early 13-point deficit to defeat rival New Hampshire.

Fagnano was named to the All-CAA Second Team and  Two-time CAA Player of the Week.

He finished the abbreviated season 67-of-116 for 795 yards and eight touchdowns while tossing just one interception and also added 31 carries for 59 rush yards and two touchdowns.

 He was second in the CAA at 198.8 passing yards per game while posting a 57.8 completion percentage and checking in third in the CAA at 213.5 yards of offense per game and second in total offensive touchdowns (10) with eight passing and a pair of rushing scores.

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