After a week off, the University of Maine football team looks to capitalize on their 28-23 victory over the University of Rhode Island when they take on the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., on Saturday. The game is the second of three straight road contests for the Black Bears.
Strong play by junior quarterback Warren Smith and a timely defensive stand helped the Black Bears pick up their third victory of the season and their second in the Colonial Athletic Conference against the Rams.
A surprise from the victory was freshman running back Terrel Walker, who received the opportunity to play because of injuries in the backfield. Walker rushed for 99 yards, including an 86-yard dash for a touchdown.
The 15th-ranked Minutemen are returning home after a 21-14 come from behind victory against James Madison University.
The Black Bears got the best of the Minutemen last season, defeating UMass 19-9, aided by a pair of interceptions by junior linebacker Donte Dennis.
The upcoming contest is the fifth nationally ranked opponent for the Black Bears in their last six games, and prior to that they faced Football Bowl Subdivision Syracuse University.
The marquee matchup is between the two primary running backs for each team, with Minuteman Jonathan Hernandez currently second in the CAA with 85.4 rush yards per game, and Black Bear junior Jared Turcotte third with 75.3 yards per game on the ground.
With just 15 tackles to go until he reaches 200 on his career, Dennis is looking for another big game against the Minutemen.
Running back Derek Session has found a nice niche for himself with the Black Bears. With a stacked backfield in front of him, Session has proven to be Smith’s favorite target this season. Session has caught 38 balls on the year, just six fewer than he accumulated throughout his career prior to this season. In addition to the team lead in receptions, Session also leads in receiving yards with 476 through eight games.