The Black Bears’ offense was not as impactful with Joe Fagnano being absent in the fall. Backup quarter backup Derek Robertson completed just 50.8% on his passing and was a modest 6.3 yards per attempt.
Because of this, the Black Bears could only manage just 5.27 yards per play and scored 25 points per game.
Assuming a clean bill of health, though, Maine could rebound with Fagnano and Brock in the backfield, though the offense must find a way to replace their top two pass catchers, including all-conference wide receiver Andre Miller.
The Black Bears “Black Hole’ defense allowed 27 points per game, giving up 5.94 yards per play, and ranked 10th and 11th in the CAA.
The Black Bears had star linebacker Ray Miller, last year and will count on others to step up this year.
Their defense will count on DL Khairi Manns and linebackers Adrian Otero and Xavier Nurse, who had combined tackles of 123, 6.5 TFL (tackles for loss).
In the secondary, Robbie Riobe and Shakur Smalls should be solid performers, as well as Cornerback Buggs Brown, who led the Black Bears with three interceptions and was just a freshman.
The Black Bears are not the most dominating FCS team for the hometown Lobos to play, but there is some excellent talent on the Black Bears that they should not take lightly.
These Black Bears are very talented, just not very experienced in spots on the roster, but they should be a good test for the Lobos before playing Boise State next week.
Their young receiving core will have to have a big day to compete against the Lobos, and the Lobos’ strength last year was the secondary.
They will also have to be able to run the ball against a defense that is strong against the run, the Rocky Long 3-3-5.
They have a proven QB and running back that can pass and run the ball. They will be challenged by Defensive Coordinator Rocky Long’s 3-3-5, which comes from all angles and puts enormous pressure on the quarterback.
The Lobos’ very large offensive line and very talented running backs will give the Black Bear defense all they can handle and should be able to score if they play smart football.
Another factor that could play in the outcome of the game is the high altitude of Albuquerque, 5,312. This usually doesn’t affect a team until the latter part of the game.
New Mexico 34, Maine 14