Maine 2013 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

George Hammond

Maine Black Bears


In the preseason poll of CAA coaches and sports information directors, Maine was picked to finish eighth this year. The Black Bears did a little better than that. They earned their first CAA title and their first outright conference title since 1965. It’s also the first time they’ve had double-digit wins since 2002, and it’s the best start in school history (dating to 1892). All that makes veteran coach Jack Cosgrove an overwhelming favorite for CAA Coach of the Year. While the Bears aren’t used to this kind of success, they are used to winning. Maine made the FCS playoffs in 2001, 2002, 2008 and 2011. In 2011, it went to Boone, N.C., and dismantled Appalachian State, 34-12.

2013 Record: 10-2, 7-1
Coach: Jack Cosgrove

Big Wins: 9/7 at Massachusetts (24-14), 10/5 Delaware (62-28)
Bad Losses: 9/21 at Northwestern (21-35), 11/23 at New Hampshire (3-24)

The Black Bears have 18 seniors on the roster and their experience has been a key factor in the team’s success. Offensively, quarterback Marcus Wasilewski has thrown for more than 2,500 yards and hasn’t thrown an interception for six straight games prior to throwing one against New Hampshire in the regular season finale. Senior tailback Rickey Stevens has rushed for more than 450 yards while seniors Derrick Johnson and John Ebeling have caught more than 45 passes each. This balance has helped Maine become one of the most efficient offenses in FCS. The Black Bears average 32.5 points a game and are 23rd in total offense. They also are a fast-starting team as the Bears have outscored their opponents 102-64 in the first quarter. Maine’s pass defense has been strong, too. The Bears are a top 20 team in fewest passing yards allowed.

There are not many. This is a veteran team that doesn’t make mistakes. It might not have gaudy national statistics that puts it in the top five nationally in any category, but the Bears are solid across the board. If there is a concern, it might be with their defense against the run. While there were several games where Maine held its opponent under 100 yards rushing (UMass, Rhode Island and Norfolk State), it was gouged by others, too. Villanova ran for 265 yards, Bryant ran for 224 and even Albany accumulated 223 yards rushing. Entering the season finale, Maine was 18th in total defense nationally, but only 55th in rushing defense. The Bears haven’t been a particularly good team punting, either. Of course, they don’t have to punt much so it might not matter.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Rickey Stevens, RB, 692 yards
Passing: Marcus Wasilewski, QB, 3,009 yards
Receiving: John Ebeling, WR, 634 yards
Tackles: Christophe Mulumba, LB, 105
Sacks: Michael Cole, DL, 8.0
Interceptions: Axel Ofori, DB, 3

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 183.5 (44th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 256.7 (28, 2)
Total Offense: 440.3 (23, 4)
Scoring Offense: 32.5 (30, 3)
Rushing Defense: 159.6 (55, 7)
Pass Defense: 169.7 (12, 1)
Total Defense: 329.4 (18, 2)
Scoring Defense: 20.2 (14, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.6 (20, 1)
Sacks: 2.18 (43, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.73 (44, 4)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2011    Second Round    Defeated Appalachian State
2011    Quarterfinals    Lost to Georgia Southern
2008    First Round    Lost to Northern Iowa
2002    First Round    Defeated Appalachian State
2002    Quarterfinals    Lost to Georgia Southern
2001    First Round    Defeated McNeese State
2001    Quarterfinals    Lost to Northern Iowa
1989    First Round    Lost to Southwest Missouri State
1987    First Round    Lost to Georgia Southern

*all team stats through 11/16


Playoff Central