Maine football coach Jack Cosgrove did not expect to use Holy Spirit High School graduate Nigel Jones much on offense this season.
But injuries to the Black Bears’ top two running backs — Absegami graduate David Hood and Terrel Walker — have left Jones, a true freshman, as the top backup to new starter Rickey Stevens.
Jones rushed for a team-high 60 yards in Saturday’s 24-10 win over William & Mary. Previously, he had run for just 44 yards all season.
“Nigel gave us some outstanding work and carries for us, got some hard-earned yards for us a couple times down in the red zone,” Cosgrove said in his weekly teleconference Monday.
Hood, who entered the season as the starter, suffered an undisclosed season-ending injury earlier this month. Walker injured his knee in the preseason and has not played at all.
With those two out, Cosgrove said he expects more from Jones in the remaining three games, starting Saturday against James Madison at 3:30 p.m.
“Nigel has now gotten himself where he’s going to carry the football in the football game,” Cosgrove said. “He had eight carries, I believe, was very productive for us Saturday. He’s playing on special teams for us.
“He’s going to get more work. He’s going to get better. We love his makeup. He’s a football player, and we’re excited to have him in our program.”