Dan Collins remains the starting quarterback for the University of Maine, despite a bumpy showing and a bruised hand suffered in Saturday’s 38-7 loss at Tulane.

Coach Jack Cosgrove said Monday that he was unhappy with Collins’ decision-making against Tulane, particularly with a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions that led him to put in Drew Belcher for the final 10 minutes of the game. But Cosgrove said Maine wide receivers also dropped too many passes. He didn’t hesitate when asked if Collins was still his first option at quarterback.

“He’s our starter, yep,” Cosgrove said of Collins, whose bloody, swollen right hand after the game led to fears that it might have been broken.

X-rays revealed only bruises to both the bone and soft tissue in the hand. Collins was passing the football again Sunday and Cosgrove said he’ll be fine to start Maine’s home opener at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Rhode Island.

“He could have played better,” Cosgrove said of Collins, who finished 11 of 25 for 131 yards and ran for Maine’s score on the opening drive. “We didn’t help him out again. We’re dropping the ball way too many times in the wideout position especially. We need to get better there hanging on to the ball, making the catch, making the big play. He put some balls on the money that should have been caught and he had some questionable decisions and throws. Two ended up as interceptions, and that’s just unacceptable stuff.”

Belcher went 7 for 13 for 72 yards. Maine’s offense was stifled by a dismal 3 of 15 conversion rate on third downs.

The defense didn’t fare much better, giving up two long drives for touchdowns and three quick-strike scores. The Black Bears were again unable to flip the field after a long punt. In the season-opening 24-3 loss at Boston College, the Eagles drove 90 yards for a touchdown after being pinned deep late in the third quarter. Tulane, backed up to its 6-yard line after a 55-yard punt by James De Martini in the third quarter, proceeded to chew up yardage en route to a 12-play touchdown drive that put the game out of reach.

A secondary playing without starting strong safety Darrius Hart (bruised knee) was beaten repeatedly, to the tune of 292 passing yards, but also was weak on run support. Tulane entered the game averaging 1.7 yards per carry, but picked up 205 yards to beat Maine.

“We just got overmatched in a lot of ways but also we did not execute the way we needed to win that football game,” Cosgrove said. “We got our butts kicked. That’s the way it felt, that’s the way it looked and that’s the way it was.”

Hart and middle linebacker Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga are expected to return to the lineup against the Rams (0-3).

Maine (0-2) will be happy to see a fellow FCS opponent for the first time this season.

“We have some young players that got exposed in the first couple of weeks. That can only be good if we correct it and we get better as a result of it,” Cosgrove said. “We’ll learn a lot from this about who we are and our toughness.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE found out how important senior quarterback Sean Goldrich is, and how tough an opponent Stony Brook can be, in a 31-6 road loss Saturday.

Goldrich is out with a high ankle sprain, and may be unavailable again this Saturday when the Wildcats host Central Connecticut State, Coach Sean McDonnell said.

Junior Adam Riese led New Hampshire to its touchdown at Stony Brook and figures to start if Goldrich can’t.

“If he’s healthy enough to practice on Thursday, he’ll play,” McDonnell said of Goldrich. “(Riese) got in there in his first real heated battle, where things were on the line, and did some good things, made some throws, made a couple of good reads.”

THERE’S NO question of Villanova star quarterback John Robertson playing this week. The senior left Saturday’s 28-21 victory over Delaware with a knee injury and was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday afternoon, Coach Andy Talley said. The No. 5 Wildcats play intercity rival Penn on Thursday, and will prepare to play redshirt freshman Zach Bednarczyk, who engineered the rally over Delaware with a passing and a rushing touchdown.

“Zach doesn’t have a lot of experience. We really need to make sure that we are careful with our offense, what we’re going to run. We can’t give him a ton of stuff,” Talley said.

STONY BROOK used two quarterbacks to knock off defending Colonial Athletic Association champion New Hampshire. But the stars were running back Stacy Bedell and defensive lineman Victor Ochi.

Bedell ran for 193 yards and a 57-yard touchdown. Ochi, a senior NFL prospect, made 11 tackles, including 3.5 sacks.

Both quarterbacks, Joe Carbone and Conor Bednarski, threw one touchdown pass and Seawolves Coach Chuck Priore said he has no plans to stop platooning.

“If the focus isn’t on who’s playing, it’s about running your offense and being efficient and your team has confidence in how you’re doing it and you practice that way, it’s not an issue. The problem is when you replace a quarterback and the backup quarterback hasn’t practiced,” Priore said as his team prepares for a game at William & Mary on Saturday. “We run the same stuff with both guys and each guy’s got a little bit of a different moxie to him.”

 

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