CSJ’s 2018 Week 1 Game Preview: New Hampshire at Maine

Courtesy Concord Monitor

New Hampshire at Maine
When: Thursday, August 30, 7:00 PM
Where: Alfon Stadium, Orono, ME
TV/Streaming Coverage: Fox College Sports Atlantic/Fox Sports Go

New Hampshire Wildcats: CSJ’s Team Preview Capsule

New Hampshire starts the 2018 season looking for get off on the right foot towards a season that they think can be magical.

Key Player: QB Trevor Knight enters the 2018 season as one of the favorites for the Walter Payton Award as the nation’s top FCS player. The Preseason CAA player of the year will look for his offense to set the tone and not let the Black Bears feel like they have a shot from the opening kick off. You know Knight will look to WR Neil O’Connor multiple times throughout the game. Knight also contributes in the run game where needed so Maine will need to be alert on every play.

Fantasy Bonus Baby: While everyone will be watching Knight and O’Connor do their thing, take a look at RB Evan Gray. The Junior is a solid runner in the Wildcats’ offense and always has the potential to break the big run. Gray ran for 8 touchdowns in 2017 and I expect him to get one tonight.

Maine Black Bears: CSJ’s Team Preview Capsule
The Black Bears are no pushovers, despite most pundits picking them in the bottom half of the CAA. That projection speaks more to the depth of the conference than the ability of the Maine team. The team is well coached by Joe Harisymiak and they will be ready for whatever the Wildcats throw at them.

Key Player: QB Chris Ferguson doesn’t have last year’s CAA and FCS leading running back Chris Mack in the backfield after Mack transferred to Liberty. Ferguson started all 10 games for Maine as a true freshman and had an up and down season. He will need to keep the chains moving to keep the dangerous Wildcat offense off the board.

Fantasy Bonus Baby: Ferguson, again. He wont be able to match Knight blow for blow but he has to be efficient and not turn the ball over. I would look for him to throw for a couple touchdowns and 200 yards tonight.

Fearless Prediction: Rankings mean nothing in a rivalry game. The Battle for the Brice-Cowell Musket kicks off the season for both of these teams. Maine should be able to hang in with New Hampshire for a while. In the end Knight and the Wildcats will be too much. New Hampshire 41, Maine 24