The numbers were ugly.
The University of Maine’s offense managed a meager 118 yards in a 41-0 loss to Football Bowl Subdivision team New Mexico on Saturday night.
The furthest penetration by the Black Bears was New Mexico’s 38-yard line in the second half but UMaine senior quarterback Joe Fagnano was sacked on the next play, killing the drive.
It was one of three times Fagnano was sacked in the game.
The offense only had the ball for 21:47, compared with New Mexico’s 38:13.
These are just some of the statistics of a UMaine offense that was unable to get any momentum in the season-opening loss against New Mexico. The Black Bears must now regroup before they host fellow Football Championship Subdivision team Colgate University (New York) in their home opener at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Morse Field in Alfond Stadium.
UMaine first-year head coach Jordan Stevens said the offensive line has to do a better job protecting Fagnano, whose 96 passing yards on a 12-for-27 performance represented one of the worst games of his career.
“We had protection issues but it all starts with me. I’ve got to get rid of the ball quicker. I’ve got to go through my reads faster,” said Fagnano, who entered the game with a 62 percent career completion rate. “And we’ve got to be able to run the ball. That opens up the passing game.”
Another struggle Fagnano addressed was the team’s nine penalties for 75 yards, which put the Black Bears in a first-and-20 situation in three different drives during the game.
The offense managed just seven first downs. The Black Bears converted just one of 13 third-down opportunities.
Fagnano said New Mexico played very well but both he and graduate student center Mike Gerace didn’t expect the Black Bear offense to struggle as much as it did.
“We couldn’t run the ball, we couldn’t move the ball. That ultimately falls on the offensive line,” Gerace said. “I’m the leader of the offensive line so I have got to be better,” he added.
Fagnano said they can’t lose sight of the fact they had a productive training camp leading up to the game.
“That’s why I’m not really concerned,” Fagnano said. “It’s not going to be a continuous thing. We will be able to bounce back.”
He said sometimes things just don’t go your way.
“It happens. Not every game is going to be your best game. It certainly wasn’t mine. But I have full confidence in myself, the team and the coaching staff that we will bounce back,” he said.
Despite the loss, Stevens said he’s excited about the direction the team’s headed in.
“It’s a process. We have a lot of guys in new places. Getting everybody together is going to come with time,” Stevens said.