WHERE: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico

KICKOFF: 8 p.m. Saturday

WEB/TV: Mountain West Network

ALL-TIME SERIES: This is the first meeting between Maine and New Mexico.

KEY STAT: 4-23, Maine’s record against FBS opponents.

OUTLOOK: This game begins the Jordan Stevens era at Maine. The 2010 Maine graduate was an all-conference defensive lineman with the Black Bears, and was named head coach in December. At 5,100 feet above sea level, University Stadium is not quite a mile high, but high enough that Stevens and his coaching staff spent the week making sure their players stay hydrated.

Maine went 6-5 last season, 4-4 in Colonial Athletic Association play. New Mexico was 3-9 last season, 1-7 in the Mountain West Conference. With veteran quarterback Joe Fagnano and four returning offensive linemen, Maine is well-equipped to handle the Lobos aggressive defense. New Mexico’s defense relies on stunting and moving on nearly every play, rather than lining up in a base look. That means the Black Bears have to rely on their keys. Safety Jerrick Reed II is the Lobos top returning defender and a player Maine needs to account for on each play.

New Mexico’s offense is led by quarterback Miles Kendrick, a transfer from Kansas who played in 17 games with the Jayhawks with four starts. In his career, Kendrick has thrown for 853 yards and run for 101, so staying disciplined will be key for the Black Bears to contain the Lobos on the ground and in the air. Linebacker Adrian Otero is Maine’s top returning tackler.

OF NOTE: At 2,458 miles one-way, this is the longest regular season road trip for the Black Bears since Maine played at Hawaii in 1990. … Maine was picked eighth in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll. New Mexico was picked sixth in the Mountain West Conference’s Mountain Division. … The Black Bears are 63-59-5 all-time in season openers. … A win would be the Black Bears’ fifth against an FBS opponent. Maine beat Mississippi State in 2004, UMass in 2013, Western Kentucky in 2018, and UMass again last season. … Maine has not won a season opener on the road since winning at Norfolk State in 2013.

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