FCS Playoffs

FCS SEMIFINALS IN PHOTOS: No. 3 Eastern Washington 50, No. 7 Maine 19

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Editor’s note: Third-seeded Eastern Washington defeated seventh-seeded Maine 50-19 in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs in Cheney, Washington on Saturday. What follows is a photo essay by Jason Bacaj of Skyline Sports.

No. 3 Eastern Washington 50, No. 12 Maine 19

Eastern Washington hosted its fifth FCS semifinal this decade at Roos Field. EWU is headed to the national championship game for the first time since 2010 following a dominant 50-19 win/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington’s defense forced four turnovers. EWU moved to 50-0 since the beginning of the 2010 season when winning the turnover margin/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington senior cornerback Josh Lewis had two interceptions, including a near pick-six that set up EWU’s first touchdown during a 21-0 run during the first 14 minutes of the game/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington sophomore Chris Ojoh did not have any of EWU’s three quarterback sacks but he hit Maine QB Chris Ferguson three times, altering throws, including here on a play Ferguson threw his second interception/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington junior running back Antoine Custer did not play in EWU’s 34-29 win over UC Davis in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. He returned to run for 45 yards, including a 24-yard burst on an afternoon where the Eastern offense piled up 568 total yards/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere continued his late-season peak. In his ninth career start, Barriere completed 18 of his first 24 passes, giving him 39 completions in his last 49 throws including his 21-of-25 performance in Eastern’s 34-29 win over UC Davis. Barriere completed 21-of-30 passes for a career-best 362 yards and a EWU single-game record seven passing touchdowns/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington senior captain inside linebacker Ketner Kupp had seven tackles on Saturday/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington senior Sam McPherson rushed for a team-best 64 yards as EWU piled up 216 yards on the ground. Maine entered the game allowing 75 rushing yards per game. Elon rushed for 153 yards in Maine’s 27-26 win to end the regular-season, the most against the Black Bears defense before Saturday’s game/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington senior Nsimba Webster dominated Maine’s man coverage from the outside and the slot. The first-team All-Big Sky selection caught nine passes for 188 yards and four touchdowns/ by Jason Bacaj

Maine defensive back Manny Patterson interceptions a pass late in the first half to prevent Eastern Washington from adding to its 28-0 lead/ by Jason Bacaj

Eastern Washington receiver Jayson Williams high-points a quick slant on a run-pass option play executed perfectly by Eric Barriere. Williams and Webster consistently beat Maine’s man coverage on Saturday. Williams caught three passes for 70 yards/ by Jayson Bacaj

 

Eric Barriere jukes Maine linebacker Taji Lowe. The Black Bears entered the semifinal with 47 sacks, second in the FCS, but did not record one for the first time in more than two seasons/ by Jason Bacaj

Sam McPherson threw a two-point conversion to Jayce Gilder to push EWU’s lead to 43-19 late in the third quarter/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Nsimba Webster, a first-team All-Big Sky selection, now has 72 catches for 1,245 yards and 10 touchdowns this season/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington sophomore Mitchell Johnson, a second-team All-Big Sky selection, shared a sack with Jonah Jordan in the first quarter that forced Maine to punt, part of an Eastern Washington onslaught that helped the Eagles race to a 21-0 lead/ by Jason Bacaj

 

EWU sophomore Eric Barriere broke Vernon Adams’ school record with seven touchdown passes/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington senior Nsimba Webster caught this 36-yard reception on a perfect drop in the bucket by Barriere on a day when the sophomore had his best career outing throwing the football/ by Jason Bacaj

Eric Barriere rushed seven times for 53 yards/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington senior tight end Jayce Gilder scored two touchdowns, including a 29-yard exclamation point on EWU’s 50-point outing pictured here. Gilder caught three passes for 50 yards and now has six touchdown catches this season/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington junior Jim Townsend was part of an Eagles defensive line that put constant pressure on Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson despite the suspension of Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year Jay-Tee Tiuli for a violation of team rules. EWU sacked Ferguson three times/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington senior Nsimba Webster caught a 58-yard touchdown with 1:05 left in the third quarter to give Eastern a 43-19 lead and answer Maine’s 19-point quarter/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington running back Tamarack Pierce suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the fourth quarter/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson completed 28-of-54 passes for 325 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on Saturday/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Maine sophomore tight end Andre Miller had a career day with nine catches for 129 yards and a 49-yard third quarter touchdown/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington defensive tackle Caleb Davis recovered a fourth quarter fumble to give EWU its fourth takeaway/ by Jason Bacaj

 

Eastern Washington head coach Aaron Best, an EWU alum who was an All-Big Sky center for the Eagles in the late 1990s, helped lead his alma mater into the national title game for the second time in school history/ by Jason Bacaj

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate (’09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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