Maine at Western Kentucky
When: Saturday, September 8, 7:30 PM
Where: L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY
TV/Streaming Coverage: ESPN Plus (subscription)
Maine Black Bears
Maine was the talk of the FCS in week one, defeating New Hampshire 35-7. Many pundits predicted UNH to be one of the main threats to James Madison in the CAA, but the Black Bears punished the Wildcats from the opening kickoff until the end of the game. It was clear that Maine was the better team. The Black Bears have to turn the page quickly as they now play back to back FBS opponents starting with Western Kentucky.
Key Player: LB Sterling Sheffield is one of the leaders of the Black Bears defense. The senior patrols the middle of the field and did so with authority in the opening weekend win against New Hampshire. Sheffield had 4 tackles, three of which were for a loss of yardage including two sacks. Sheffield will again need to have a strong game to help Maine stay close to the Hilltoppers.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: QB Chris Ferguson played an efficient game against UNH. He threw for just under 200 yards but added 2 touchdowns. He will have to be a little better in the passing game this week to compete with Western Kentucky. Look for another 200 yards and a touchdown this week for Ferguson.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Western Kentucky took a pretty good beating on opening weekend, losing to the #4 ranked FBS team, Wisconsin 34-7. The Hilltoppers are projected to finish near the bottom of the Conference USA standings in 2018 so they need to capitalize on opportunities to win games such as this one against Maine
Key Player: QB Drew Eckels led Western Kentucky in passing and rushing in his first career start against Wisconsin. He makes his second start this week against Maine. Eckles mobility should create some opportunities for the Hilltopper receivers as the defense will have to respect the run. That should open up slants and crossing patterns in the Western Kentucky passing game.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: Eckels. Using his legs and his arm, Eckels should be able to put up respectable numbers against the Black Bears. Two touchdowns passing and another rushing are not out of the question this week for the HIlltoppers signal caller.
Fearless Prediction: Maine will be able to hang with Western Kentucky for three quarters of this game. As the game gets to the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers should be able to pull away late and pick up the win. Western Kentucky 31, Maine 17
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
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