Eastern Washington beats Maine in FCS semifinals

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CHENEY, Wash. (AP) - Eric Barriere threw seven touchdown passes as Eastern Washington beat Maine 50-19 in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs on Saturday, to advance to the national title game against powerhouse North Dakota State.

Nsimba Webster caught four touchdown passes for third-seeded Eastern Washington which was playing in the national semifinals for the fifth time in nine years.

Barriere completed 21 of 30 passes for 352 yards and tied the school record for scoring passes in a game.

Chris Ferguson threw for 325 yards for Maine which was making its first appearance in the semifinals. But he also committed some key turnovers early.

It was the ninth road game of the season for the seventh-seeded Black Bears of the Colonial Athletic Association.

Maine fell into a hole early.

Eastern's Josh Lewis intercepted a Ferguson pass deep in Maine territory and was tackled on the 1-yard line. Barriere threw a touchdown pass to Andrew Boston for a 7-0 lead.

Ferguson fumbled near midfield on Maine's next possession and Eastern recovered. Barriere threw a 3-yard pass to Jayce Gilder for a 14-0 lead.

Barriere's 11-yard touchdown pass to Webster gave the Eagles a 21-0 lead, still in the first quarter.

Barriere's fourth touchdown pass, a 16-yarder to Webster late in the second quarter, made it 28-0 at halftime.

Maine finally scored on a safety in the opening seconds of the second half, when a bad snap sent the ball into the Eastern end zone and Barrierre kicked it out the back.

Eastern had to kick off and Maine got a 31-yard field goal from Kenny Doak.

Barriere replied with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Webster for a 35-5 lead.

Maine's first touchdown came on a 47-yard pass from Ferguson to Andre Miller midway through the third.

Joe Fitzpatrick ran for a touchdown as Maine cut its deficit to 35-19 late in the third.

Barriere replied immediately with a 58-yard scoring pass to Webster, and the 2-point conversion was good, for a 43-19 lead at the end of three.