Football is finally back. The University of Maine traveled to the University of Delaware for their season opener on Saturday.The Black Bears took to the field for the first time since November of 2019, and the season could not have gotten off to a worse start.
Fifth-year Delaware running back Dejoun Lee returned the opening kickoff 87 yards to give the Fightin’ Blue Hens a 7-0 lead right off the bat. This would end up being the only score of the first quarter. Both offenses felt rusty, which was no surprise considering both teams had not played a game in well over a year. Fourth-year UMaine defensive back Jordan Swann would create a turnover, picking off Delaware fourth-year quarterback Nolan Henderson in the red zone late in the first quarter. It was the lone highlight of the day for Maine.
In the second quarter, Delaware started to separate from Maine. A 38-yard field goal from second-year kicker Ryan Coe pushed Delaware’s lead to 10-0. Delaware would score another touchdown before halftime, as fourth-year wide receiver Gene Coleman slipped coverage and was left wide open in the end zone for an easy catch to raise Delaware’s lead to 17-0 at the half.
Like the first half, the second was all Delaware. The Fightin’ Blue Hens would outscore the Black Bears 20 to 0 in the second half. Delaware scored two rushing touchdowns. The first would come from star running back Lee, for his second touchdown of the game. The second would be on a quarterback sneak by Henderson. Kicker Coe would add two more field goals as well to make the final score 37-0 Delaware.
This was far from the start that the Black Bears were looking for. Maine only got six first downs the entire game, as their offense never found its rhythm. Maine totaled 112 yards offensively the whole game; 51 from rushing yards and 61 passing yards. Maine’s second-year quarterback Joe Fagnano completed only 10 passes on 23 attempts. The run game only averaged 2.4 yards per carry on 24 carries.
Delaware, on the other hand, looked to be in midseason form, carving Maine’s defense for 370 yards. The run game was very effective for Delaware, as a committee they combined for 146 yards on the ground.
At the end of the day, it was good to watch a UMaine football game after such a long period of time since their last game. Hopefully, it was just a matter of shaking the rust off and the team can bounce back next week. The spring season is strange, but it is better than no football season at all.
With five games left in the regular season, the Black Bears’ next game will be on Saturday, March 13 at noon in Orono. Sadly, fans will not be allowed to attend the home games this season. Maine will host two more home games this season, the first on April 3 vs. Villanova and the second on April 17 vs. the University of New Hampshire.