University of Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson looks for an open receiver during the second quarter of Saturday's Colonial Athletic Association football game against James Madison at Harrisonburg, Virginia. (Stephen Swofford/AP) Credit: Stephen Swofford | AP

Despite a subpar game on Saturday during which he was intercepted three times and sacked four times in a 28-10 loss to No. 1-ranked James Madison, University of Maine redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Ferguson’s job is safe, according to Black Bear head coach Joe Harasymiak.

Ferguson completed 20 of 41 passes for 162 yards. His longest completion was 21 yards.

Sophomore running back Josh Mack’s 60-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the only time UMaine got the ball into the red zone all afternoon.

“Chris is our quarterback,” said Harasymiak on a Colonial Athletic Association conference call on Monday morning. “He had an extremely difficult day. He knows he played a bad game. He stood up and took the onus for it in our offensive meeting. That’s the type of kid he is.

“He’ll get it cleaned up. As a staff, we were kind of taken aback (by his performance) because we thought we might have seen this in the opener at New Hampshire or the home opener against Bryant. But he’ll come back, he’ll work hard this week and he’ll bounce back,” said Harasymiak.

UMaine is off this weekend after the cancellation of the game against Football Bowl Subdivision team Central Florida.

UMaine travels on Oct. 7 to take on nationally ranked Villanova.

James Madison head coach Mike Houston also gave Ferguson a vote of confidence.

“There’s no question he should be their starting quarterback. At the end of the day, everybody has to understand what he was up against. We had 25,000-plus fans there and we have a pretty good defensive front. It was a very tightly contested game and we had some guys make some real good plays in the second half,” said Houston. “He’s going to be a real good player. I wish he was a senior, because he’s going to get better and better.”

Ferguson has completed 51 of 102 passes (50 percent) for 551 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions. His passing efficiency is 93rd among 116 teams although he ranks 63rd among 150 QBs with 183.7 passing yards per game.

Houston also said despite the fact UMaine (1-2) is 0-2 in CAA play, they can still make some noise.

“I told Joe after the game that they are a real, top-end quality football team,” said Houston, who guided the Dukes to the Football Championship Subdivision title a year ago. “They’re going to win a lot of games. I know it was a tough loss for them and we’ve all been in that situations. But they’re doing things the right way and the coaching staff is doing a fantastic job.”

Mack racked up his third straight 100-yard rushing game as he ran for 144 yards on 24 carries. He ranks second in the country in rushing yards per game (167.3) and is eighth in yards per carry (7.84).

“Josh is continuing his development,” said Harasymiak. “He sets the tone on offense. I thought our offensive line played pretty well. They were physical at the point of attack and their defensive line is very good. Josh had some good runs because of them.”

“He’s big load now and he’s a good back,” said Houston.

Harasymiak also praised the performance of junior linebacker Sterling Sheffield, who had eight tackles including 2 1/2 sacks and an interception.

“He probably had his best game in a Maine uniform,” said Harasymiak. “I was extremely happy with him. In the past, he has pressed a lot to try to make plays. But he played within himself.

“It’s great to see one of our best players show up and play well in that kind of environment,” said the UMaine coach.

Senior free safety DeAndre Scott, who missed the win over Bryant due to concussion protocol, got kicked in the jaw and suffered a bloody lip and he will be monitored.

Harasymiak said having another bye week — it’s second in three weeks — is a “little awkward.

“We won’t have played back-to-back games in a seven-day stretch until we play Rhode Island (Oct. 14) after playing Villanova. It’s hard to get into a rhythm but it also gives us some time off to get healed. We just have to make sure we’re mentally ready,” said Harasymiak.

The offense could get a big lift for the Villanova game as all-conference wide receiver and punt returner Micah Wright, whose suspension was lifted last Wednesday, should be ready to go.

He didn’t make the trip to James Madison.