University of Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson remains questionable for Saturday’s game at Yale with a right shoulder injury, meaning redshirt freshman Isaiah Robinson could get his first career start.

Chris Ferguson

Coach Joe Harasymiak said Tuesday that the final decision on Ferguson’s availability will be made after Thursday’s practice.

“Ferg didn’t do at lot (at practice) today,” said Harasymiak. “We’re just trying to get his strength back. Isaiah was featured most today, getting a lot of reps. We’ll be able to tell later in the week but right now (Ferguson) is pretty questionable.”

Ferguson, a sophomore, was injured on Maine’s fourth play during a 17-5 loss at Central Michigan last Saturday. He was dragged down while trying to escape the rush and landed on his right shoulder, with a Central Michigan player on top of him. He returned to play one more series, but found he could not throw the ball deep and was replaced by Robinson on the next series.

Ferguson had his right arm placed in a sling, but Harasymiak said he did not break any bones or suffer a separated shoulder.

“It’s tender, sore, a deep bruise,” said Harasymiak. “He just needs time to get his strength back and we’ll do right by the kid.”

Ferguson had completed 3-of-4 passes for 21 yards before leaving. Robinson completed 16-of-32 passes for 162 yards but was intercepted twice. He also ran twice for 17 yards, but was sacked five times for losses of 43 yards.

“We were pleased with the way Isaiah played,” said Harasymiak. “Yes, he threw the two interceptions but that is going to happen. And he’s going to have to clean that up if he plays Saturday.

“But considering that he was in a game for the first time in two years, we were pleased. He made some good decisions and some big-time throws. And he made some plays with his feet, which was good to see. We have a lot of confidence in him.”

Robinson, from Bowie, Maryland, and Saint Frances Academy in Baltimore, is more of a running threat at quarterback than Ferguson. But Harasymiak said the Black Bears don’t have to change their offensive scheme much if he’s in the game.

“That’s why we recruit,” he said. “Kids are recruited to fit into our system. Isaiah fits into our system. We might change some things to highlight his strengths, but we don’t have to change much.”

After Tuesday’s practice, Harasymiak told his players that injuries do not provide excuses.

“We went into the Western Kentucky game (a 31-28 Maine win) without two starting linebackers and our starting center,” he said. “Yes, it is the quarterback position, the highlight of the team, the most important position, but we’ve been through it before at other positions. If it does turn out that Chris can’t play, then Isaiah has to play well for us to win.”

If Ferguson cannot play, freshman Ryan Walsh of Northport, New York, is the likely backup. While senior tight end Drew Belcher has started at quarterback for Maine in the past (and threw a 52-yard touchdown pass in Maine’s opening 35-7 win over New Hampshire), Harasymiak does not want to move him from tight end.

“It’s important to us that he stays there,” said Harasymiak. “So right now it’s about getting Isaiah the majority of the reps.”

Maine (2-1) is ranked 16th in both national Football Championship Subdivision polls. Yale is 1-1, coming off a 30-24 win over Cornell.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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