Even in the comforts of Dick Price Stadium, Norfolk State couldn’t escape the “Black Hole.”
That “Black Hole” defense of Maine led the Black Bears to a 23-6 victory over the Spartans in the season opener for both teams Saturday night.
After a pair of Sean Decloux field goals, Maine took a 13-0 lead with 10:19 remaining in the second quarter on Rickey Stevens’ 2-yard run. The Spartans netted their only points on Malik Stokes’ 34-yard pass to Joseph Hawkins, but Ryan Lee missed the PAT try, leaving NSU behind, 13-6, with 5:57 remaining in the first half.
The game’s biggest play came midway through the third quarter, with NSU having put Maine in poor field position. The Black Bears’ Marcus Wasilewski connected with Zedric Joseph on an 85-yard catch-and-run touchdown down the right sideline, putting Maine in command.
Wasilewski was 15-of-28 for 209 yards and rushed 11 times for 54 yards. Stokes was 10-of-29 for 104 yards, and Rolandan Finch paced the Spartans’ rushers with 80 yards on 17 carries.
Linebacker Marcell Coke had a career-high 11 tackles for NSU. Marcus Center added nine and forced a fumble.
JMU 38, Central Connecticut State 14
Michael Birdsong, making his first start, rushed for two touchdowns and threw a TD pass to Deane Cheatham late in the first half as James Madison, ranked 19th in FCS by The Sports Network, breezed past Central Connecticut State in Harrisonburg.
The Dukes were comfortably ahead, enabling true freshman Dan Schiele from Tabb High to gain playing time in the second half. JMU’s Dae’Quan Scott rushed for 120 yards on 15 carries and returned a punt 54 yards for an early second-half TD.
Richmond 34, VMI 0
Michael Strauss was 23-of-36 for 265 yards and three touchdowns as the Spiders, ranked 15th in FCS, opened by shutting out Virginia Military Institute in a game delayed by a storm around Robins Stadium.
Strauss, a transfer from U.Va. in his second year with UR, completed seven passes to York High alumnus Ben Edwards for 95 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead with 2:19 left in the second quarter. Edwards ran for 32 yards on five carries.
VMI's Eric Kordenbrock was 18-of-32 for 135 yards, but the Keydets ran for just 39 yards on 20 attempts.
Air Force 38, Colgate 13
Jon Lee and Broam Hart each rushed for two touchdowns for the host Falcons, who rolled up 409 rushing yards while downing the Raiders in the season opener for both in Colorado.
Lee rushed for 130 yards on 11 carries, and Hart added 101 on 18 attempts as the Falcons scored 38 consecutive points after allowing an early touchdown. Anthony LaCoste added 77 yards on 11 carries for Air Force (1-0).
The Raiders (0-1) fizzled after putting together an impressive 13-play, 86-yard drive on their first possession that ended with Gavin McCarney’s 15-yard pass to Kevin O’Connell. Colgate outgained Air Force 113 yards to 49 in the opening quarter before the Falcons took control.
Hart’s 11-yard run with 11:37 remaining in the second quarter tied the game, and he added a 1-yard touchdown run nearly seven minutes later to put Air Force ahead to stay.
Charlotte 52, Campbell 7
The host 49ers opened their new era by pounding Campbell before a standing-room-only crowd of 16,660 at Richardson Stadium.
Playing the first game in school history, the 49ers made sure there was never any doubt, with linebacker Mark Hogan intercepting a pass and returning it 32 yards for a touchdown on the Camels’ second play of the game.
Charlotte, playing as an FCS independent, then scored on its first offensive possession when redshirt freshman Justin Bolus caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Mark Johnson.
Army 28, Morgan State 12
In just his second start as Army’s quarterback, Angel Santiago rushed for 116 yards, passed for 101 yards and accounted for all four touchdowns in the Black Knights’ win Friday night in West Point, N.Y.
Santiago, a prep star from San Bernadino, Calif., rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another. The 5-foot-11, 188-pound junior was a third-stringer in 2011 and 2012.
Morgan State, a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival of Hampton and Norfolk State, had a difficult time moving the ball against an Army defense that returned seven starters from a unit that allowed 35 points a game last season.
But junior running back Lamont Brown, from Suffolk’s Nansemond River High, paced the Bears with 75 yards on 19 carries.