The University of Maine football team came away from Saturday’s 46-3 loss to Iowa disappointed in the outcome and in some elements of the team’s performance on a Big Ten stage.

On the other hand, coach Jack Cosgrove’s Black Bears head into this weekend’s non-league game at Monmouth having learned quite a bit about themselves.

The biggest bright spot was the running game, which had success against the Hawkeyes. Senior tailback and co-captain Jhamal Fluellen sliced his way to 104 yards on 21 carries, a healthy 5.0 yards per attempt.

“Not only does Jhamal hit and find the spots well, but he’s got a little bit of an ability to make people miss, so he added to the creases that were there,” Cosgrove said during the weekly Colonial Athletic Association teleconference.

“We think we need to get the ball in his hands about 25-30 times a game. He got it 24 Saturday, 21 carries and three catches. That’s a good barometer for us based on his endurance and his ability to take hits.”

Despite taking on Iowa with an offensive line that included three first-time starters, including one who was making his collegiate debut, UMaine moved the football on the ground.

Senior center Ryan Canary and senior right tackle Chris Arnao were the glue on a unit that also included junior left tackle Tyler Eastman of Old Town, sophomore left guard Matt Barber and redshirt freshman right guard Steve Shea of Corinna.

“We’re real pleased with the effort we got up front,” Cosgrove said. “Ryan Canary and Chris Arnao are game-tested, but our other three players there are really not.

“Tyler Eastman was up against a tremendous football player at our left tackle and held up well and Steven Shea and Matt Barber really performed well against a couple of All-Big Ten players on the inside.”

Even though the Bears were at a distinct size and height disadvantage at many positions, they proved themselves able to handle the rigors of such a rough-and-tumble opponent.

“I think we’re a much more physical team than perhaps I thought we were going in,” Cosgrove offered. “We stood up and played hard.”

Cosgrove wasn’t nearly as happy with UMaine’s passing attack, which netted only 83 yards, 37 of which came on the first play from scrimmage.

Sophomore quarterback Adam Farkes completed only nine of 22 passes on the day and was intercepted twice. However, the receiver corps also was a bit shaky at times.

“We dropped five balls and we threw two interceptions, so our passing game did not complement our run game as well as it should have,” said Cosgrove, who explained both interceptions probably could have been avoided.

“The one thing I would say in a critical manner is he [Farkes] got a little greedy,” Cosgrove said. “Both of his interceptions were a result of him trying to get the ball down the field instead of trying to take an underneath completion.”

On the plus side, Farkes clearly has put his first-year jitters behind him and is playing with confidence.

“He was very poised, in that atmosphere, for a young guy,” Cosgrove said. “I think he did a nice job running the offense.”

Bears baptized in Iowa City

Saturday was an especially exciting day for the members of the UMaine football team who made their collegiate debuts.

Thirteen different players suited up for the first time in a Division I game against the Hawkeyes, including first-year place-kickers Brian Harvey and Jordan Waxman.

Waxman accounted for UMaine’s only points, booting a 40-yard field goal on the last play of the first half. The Bears had only one field goal of 40 yards or more all of last season.

There were nine players who redshirted in 2007 that saw game action at Iowa. They included starting H-back Jared Turcotte of Lewiston, defensive tackle Raibonne Charles of Windham and Nokomis High of Newport product Shea.

Defensive backs Norman Smith and Trevor Coston, H-back Derek Session, linebacker Conor Keating, defensive line-man Kevin Phanor and tight end Derek Buttles were other second-year players seeing their first game action.

Junior college transfers Jonas Rousseau and Eric Lee, both junior defensive linemen, also played.

Cosgrove said Kinnick Stadium and its 70,585 Iowa fans were a good inauguration for the young players.

“It was really an atmosphere that I thought our players responded well to,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot to be proud of, but also we know we’ve got a lot of work to do to get better.”

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...