Colleges

Maine football team advances to FCS semifinals for first time in program history

Weber State receiver Darryl Denby (3) runs the ball while pursued by Maine's Jamehl Wiley (52) during the first half of a quarterfinal in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, in Ogden, Utah. (Matt Herp/Standard-Examiner via AP)
Matt Herp/Standard-Examiner via AP
Weber State receiver Darryl Denby was pursued by Maine's Jamehl Wiley (52) in the first half.

OGDEN, Utah — Chris Ferguson threw for two touchdowns, Ramon Jefferson ran for a late fourth-quarter score and the Maine defense stymied second-seeded Weber State, 23-18, Friday night as the Black Bears advanced to the FCS playoff semifinals for the first time.

Maine will take on the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 3 seed Eastern Washington and No. 6 UC Davis.

The seventh-seeded Black Bears (10-3) held the Wildcats to minus-1 yard rushing and while Weber State quarterback Jake Constantine completed 24 of 52 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns, he was intercepted four times, three coming on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions.

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Following a Devin Young interception, Ramon Jefferson went around right end for a 45-yard score with 2:56 remaining to put Maine ahead, 20-12. Kenny Doak added a 46-yard field goal 1½ minutes later after a tipped pass was picked off by Jaron Grayer. Weber State’s Darryl Denby caught a 12-yard TD pass as time ran out.

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Maine led, 7-3, at halftime on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jaquan Blair, who took the throw at the 5 and dove into the end zone. The Black Bears extended the lead early in the third quarter when Earnest Edwards turned a short pass it into a 67-yard touchdown.

Trey Tuttle added his second field goal to get the Wildcats (10-3) within 14-6, then Weber State got its first touchdown with two minutes left in the third quarter when Constantine threw a 33-yard pass into the end zone to Devon Cooley, though Tuttle missed the PAT. The touchdown pass was initially ruled an interception after Jeffrey DeVaughn came up with the ball after he and Cooley hit the turf, but it was overturned on a review that showed Cooley with his hands on the ball first.

Weber State’s Darryl Denby finished with 154 yards receiving on seven catches. Maine edged the Wildcats 286-271 in total yards.