College Football

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11:00 AM PT12:00 PM MT1:00 PM CT2:00 PM ET7:00 PM GMT3:00 AM 北京时间12:00 PM MST2:00 PM EST, Dec. 15, 2018
Roos Field, Cheney, Washington  Attendance: 7,529

Barriere's 7 TD passes send Eastern Washington to FCS title game


STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - Eastern Washington did Saturday what it set out to do from the start of the season - Leave No Doubt.

The team motto has reflected the Eagles' perturbance over being left out of last year's FCS playoffs.

This season, the perennial Big Sky power didn't just make the playoffs, it's heading to the national championship game after redshirt sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere tied the school record with seven touchdown passes, including four to Nsimba Webster, in a 50-19, semifinal-round rout of Maine Saturday at Roos Field in Cheney.

The third-seeded Eagles' final step in a season of redemption would be their biggest. Coach Aaron Best's 12-2 squad will take on North Dakota State (14-0), the defending FCS champ and a winner of six of the last seven titles, Jan. 5 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

"We were in control from the start," Best said after the lopsided win. "We made a statement on offense.

"Maine didn't play their 'A' game today. We did."

Maine (10-4), the CAA champ and seeded seventh in the playoffs, showed the effects of making a cross-country trip for the second straight weekend, but Barriere was going to be tough to contain regardless. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 352 yards with one interception, adding 53 rushing yards.

The seven TD passes tied a school record first set by Vernon Adams Jr. in a 59-52 loss to Washington on Sept. 6, 2014.

Barriere's first three TDs made it 21-0 in the first quarter. Cornerback Josh Lewis grabbed the first of his two interceptions of Black Bears quarterback Chris Ferguson and returned the ball to the 1-yard line to set up Barriere's easy throw to Andrew Boston on the next play. A Keith Moore sack, strip and fumble recovery off Ferguson led to Barriere's 3-yard TD pass to Jayce Gilder in the back of the Black Bears' end zone. Following a punt, Barriere capped a 75-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring pass to Webster.

The Barriere-to-Webster combo was far from done. They connected for a 16-yard touchdown in the second quarter to push the lead to 28-0 by halftime, and 9- and 58-yard scores in the third quarter to squash Maine's attempt for a comeback. Webster, a senior, finished with nine catches for 188 yards.

Barriere made it seven TDs with a 29-yarder to Gilder in the fourth quarter.

"You can't start that way early in the first quarter. They were the better team today," said Maine coach Joe Harasymiak, whose team committed four turnovers and allowed five sacks.

The Eagles played without senior nose tackle Jay-Tee Tiuli, the Big Sky defensive player of the year. He was benched for a violation of team rules, Best said.

Eastern Washington had lost at home in its last three national semifinals since 2012, but with their seventh straight win this season, the Eagles will make a second trip to the FCS championship game. They beat North Dakota State in a quarterfinal on the way to winning the 2010 FCS title, but have lost the last two meetings in the 2016 and '17 regular seasons.

Updated December 15, 2018

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