Looking to snap its seven-game losing streak, the Elon University football team will play its final home game of the 2014 season when they host the University of Maine Nov. 15 at Rhodes Stadium.
The Phoenix has lost all seven of its games since picking up its lone win of the season against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Sept. 20.
In Elon’s most recent loss, a 17-7 setback to No. 24 College of William & Mary, the offense drove 47 yards on 12 plays on the opening drive of the game, but sophomore John Gallagher’s field goal missed, spoiling a golden opportunity for an offense that hasn’t found it easy to put points on the board.
It is those types of opportunities that Elon hasn’t been able to take advantage of all year.
“You gotta make the kick,” Elon head coach Rich Skrosky said.
Maine (4-5, 3-3), the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association conference champions, comes to North Carolina riding a two-game winning streak after losing five of its previous six games.
The Black Bears’ most recent win came against No. 8 University of Richmond Nov. 8.
SCOUTING THE MAINE OFFENSEMaine starting quarterback Dan Collins was injured Oct. 11 against Stony Brook University and was replaced by Drew Belcher.
Belcher is not much of a threat through the air, as the freshman has completed only 48 percent of his passes and thrown for just one touchdown. But the Black Bears have won two of the three games that Belcher has started under center due to the threat that he represents on the ground.
Against the University of Rhode Island Oct. 25, running back Nigel Beckford ran for 112 yards while Belcher added 111 rushing yards of his own. That trend continued against Richmond, as Beckford and Belcher combined for 135 rushing yards in the win.
“The balance of a running back and a quarterback that’s able to run the football is going to be a challenge for us,” Skrosky said.
This matchup will certainly be one to watch, as the Phoenix has struggled against the run all season. Elon is giving up an average of 203.1 rushing yards per game, the second-to-last mark in the conference.
SCOUTING THE MAINE DEFENSEMaine’s defense and special teams rank in the top half of the CAA in most categories and were a big reason that the Black Bears were able to upset Richmond Nov. 8.
Trevor Bates had a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter, and Benjamin Davis’ blocked punt for a touchdown late in the first half gave Maine a 23-6 lead after two quarters of play.
In all, Maine intercepted four passes in the game. This is a point of concern for Elon and senior quarterback Mike Quinn, who had two passes picked off against William & Mary.
“The two interceptions were critical, critical mistakes,” Skrosky said. “They hurt us a lot. Turnovers are the most meaningful stat there is.”
PREDICTIONMaine 17, Elon 9
There are some teams that make plays and others that don’t. The bottom line is this: Elon doesn’t make enough plays to win. Maine showed against Richmond that they have what it takes to put together a complete game in their upset of the eighth-ranked Spiders. Look for Maine to run the ball and intercept Quinn more than once on a frigid afternoon at Rhodes Stadium.