For the second straight season, the University of Maine football team will open its season against rival UNH, a game typically played at the end of the season. Regardless of when and where the game is played, head coach Joe Harasymiak knows Thursday night's game in Orono will be a tough battle.

"They're very talented. I say this all the time, but there's no one that we respect more, including myself, you know than them, in terms of their program, what they've done," Harasymiak said. "It's just something we've got to be ready for."

Harasymiak says the team has not prepared for the game any differently, even though it's against the rival Wildcats. But he says his players know how important it is to come away with a win in the season opener.

"You're always thinking about your first game no matter who it is. But certainly with this being a conference game and a rivalry game we try and keep it the same. But I think we'd be lying if we didn't realize who it was and the significance of it and certainly with how important our conference schedule is with playing two FBS games every year it really puts a lot on it."

UNH has won the last eight games between the two teams and 15 of the last 16, including 24-23 triumph for the Wildcats last season. Overall, UNH leads the series 56–44–8.

"We have to be disciplined and our guys will be excited and I think the game the last few years has been an unbelievable game to be apart of. Certainly we've come up on the short end, but it's just great CAA football to kick it off with these two teams battling it out."

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