University of Maine starting quarterback Chris Ferguson is questionable for Saturday’s game at Yale University due to an injury to his throwing (right) shoulder.
Sophomore Ferguson played just two series in Saturday’s 17-5 loss at Central Michigan before being replaced by redshirt freshman Isaiah Robinson.
Robinson, making his college debut, wound up completing 16 of 32 passes for 162 yards. He also had a 14-yard run. He was intercepted twice and sacked five times.
“Right now, it’s day-to-day for Chris,” UMaine head coach Joe Harasymiak said. “He is being evaluated. It’s too early to tell [if can play on Saturday].”
Harasymiak was encouraged by Robinson’s performance.
“He did a nice job. We have confidence in him,” he said. “We didn’t have to change a lot of things. Considering it was his first live action since high school, I was pretty pleased with the way he managed things.”
Robinson, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound native of Bowie, Maryland, said it felt great to get on the field.
“It was a lot different than high school, I can tell you that,” he said. “It was fast at first but once I got it slowed down in my mind, it was better.”
Robinson will be the starter on Saturday if Ferguson can’t play.
Ferguson was 3-for-4 for 21 yards in his brief stint on Saturday and is now 35-for-63 on the season for 405 yards. He has thrown five touchdown passes and been intercepted once for the 2-1 Black Bears.
Former UMaine starting quarterback Drew Belcher, who was converted to tight end-H back before last season, won’t be moving back under center at this time, according to Harasymiak.
UMaine outgained Central Michigan 265-177 and had 18 first downs to CMU’s 12. But the Black Bears conceded six sacks and committed 11 penalties good for 113 yards in addition to the two Robinson interceptions.
“We didn’t make plays when we needed to. [Central Michigan] did a good job,” Harasymiak said. “We didn’t put the whole thing together. You have to capitalize on your opportunities against an FBS team.”
But the Black Bear defense, led by senior linebacker Sterling Sheffield, continued to excel. Sheffield was involved in 10 tackles and led both teams in solo tackles with nine. He also had three tackles for a loss including a sack and recovered a fumble.
Sheffield is third in the Football Championship Subdivision in sacks per game with 1.5 and tied for third in tackles for loss per game with 2.5. He has a total of 4.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.
The Black Bear defense is third in the FCS in sacks per game (5) and tied for fourth in tackles for loss per game (9.7). The Black Bears have the third-best rushing defense, allowing just 40.7 yards per game, and it is fifth in total defense, surrendering just 224.7 yards per game.
Sixteenth-ranked UMaine is tied for sixth in third down efficiency as opponents have converted on just 25 percent of its third downs (11-for-44). UMaine is tied for first in fourth down efficiency as opponents are 0-for-4 on fourth down vs. UMaine.
“We have been playing real well on that side of the ball,” Harasymiak said. “They continue to tackle well, and even if we miss a first tackle, other guys have been coming in to clean it up pretty well. We’ve been pretty disciplined with our eyes in the secondary, we haven’t been bitten by the big play too much. That was our Achilles’ heel last year.”
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