Maine quarterbacks Belcher and Collins ‘duking it out’ for starting job

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Seldom is there room for two quarterbacks to make a simultaneous impact in an offense.

That likely means either Dan Collins or Drew Belcher will be spending considerable time on the Maine sideline in the near future.

With the Black Bears’ offense struggling thus far, coach Jack Cosgrove and his staff thrusted a new quarterback into the equation during Saturday’s game at Boston College.

Belcher, a first-year player from Reading, Massachusetts, saw his first collegiate action and played in nearly half of UMaine’s offensive series during the 40-10 loss to the Eagles.

“We just thought he was ready to play,” Cosgrove said during Monday’s weekly Colonial Athletic Association teleconference.

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Cosgrove said he’s ‘going to play the best guy.’

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Belcher carried seven times for 10 yards, including a 19-yard run, and went 2-for-5 passing for 10 yards.

“We had a plan to get him involved early in this football game, to start playing him, and to allow him to grow as a football player, as a quarterback on our football team,” Cosgrove said.

Collins, a redshirt sophomore from Williamstown, New Jersey, was named the starting QB on Aug. 28, two days before UMaine’s season opener against Norfolk State. Cosgrove indicated Monday that the duel for the starting spot will continue.

“They’ve been duking it out since day one, so they’re going to keep duking it out, and we’re going to play the best guy,” said Cosgrove, who explained both Collins and Belcher could see game action until one of them seizes control of the opportunity to lead the offense.

“It’s something that we feel like they’re very close [in ability], and it was time to get this guy [Belcher] rolling and try to do something to help our offense, because we’re not as effective as we need to be,” he said.

The rebuilding Black Bears (1-2) have struggled mightily on offense, averaging only 10 points and 201 total yards per game, both of which rank last among 12 Colonial Athletic Association teams.

Collins (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) has completed 26 of 54 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns, but he has not been intercepted. He has rushed 33 times for 42 yards.

When asked about the new dynamic of sharing the snaps with Belcher, Collins said he has to make a statement with his play.

“When I get my shot, get my chances, I’m going to take advantage of those,” he said Saturday. “I’m here to show the coaches what I can do. That’s all I can do.”

Aside from trying to elude Boston College tacklers, Belcher appeared comfortable in his first game on Saturday.

“This is the first time I’ve played, obviously against a great opponent,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for me was just getting in there, getting some experience.”

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