ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s 2013 football schedule features a pair of contests against FBS foes Northwestern and longtime rival UMass, which will be played at the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium, the school announced in a press release Thursday.

“It its great to finish off this week with the release of our 2013 schedule,” Maine coach Jack Cosgrove said in the release. “This schedule is one of, if not the most, challenging schedule a Black Bear team has ever played. For the first time, a Maine team will be playing two FBS teams, with the possibility of playing the highest-ranked FBS team ever in program history in Northwestern and playing UMass in Gillette Stadium. In addition to taking on a CAA schedule which is always tough, we will be playing Norfolk State for the first time and will continue our recently started rivalry with Bryant.”

Maine kicks off the season on Saturday, Aug. 31 at Norfolk State in Virginia. The game will be the first meeting between the two sides. Maine plays its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 14 against Bryant.

The Maine football schedule is: Aug. 31, at Norfolk State; Sept. 7, at Massachusetts; Sept. 14, Bryant; Sept. 21, at Northwestern; Sept. 28, at Richmond; Oct. 5, Delaware; Oct. 19 William & Mary; Oct. 26, at Villanova; Nov. 2, Stony Brook; Nov. 9, at Albany; Nov. 16, Rhode Island; Nov. 23 at New Hampshire.