Eastern Washington Eagles Fly By Maine To Reach FCS Title Game

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 12:58 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 12:58 PM UTC

The second semi-final in FCS action will be played Saturday afternoon as the Maine Black Bears travel cross-country to face the Eastern Washington Eagles.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/college-football/maine-black-bears-vs-eastern-washington-eagles-3693497/odds/"><strong>FCS Semi-Final: Maine (10-3) at Eastern Washington (11-2)</strong></a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Saturday, Dec. 15, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2)</strong></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Roos Field, Cheney, Washington</strong></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Free NCAAF Pick: Eagles ATS</strong></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Best Line Offered: <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4395&amp;book=5dimes" rel="nofollow">5Dimes</a></strong></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3693497, "sportsbooksIds":[19,169,238,1096,93], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>This is Eastern Washington's sixth time to the FCS semis, having played in them in 1997, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2016 and winning the National Championship in 2010 over Delaware.</p><p>This is Maine's first-ever trip to the semi-finals after winning 23-18 at Weber State and for a second straight week, the Black Bears will be on the road.</p><p>The<a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/college-football/" target="_blank" title="Know the best odds to all of college football's biggest games by using the SBR odds pages. "> college football odds</a> have Eastern Washington as the favorite at -9 with a total of 59.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>How They Got Here</strong></h2><p>Seventh-seeded Maine, the CAA champs, in the playoffs has knocked off Jacksonville State (55-27) and Weber State as 8.5 point underdogs. Since starting 2-2, the Black Bears are 8-1 and they have reeled off six wins in a row.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;ICYMI: We've got full highlights for you from Maine's &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/NCAA_FCS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@NCAA_FCS&lt;/a&gt; quarterfinal win at Weber State!&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackBearNation?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#BlackBearNation&lt;/a&gt; | &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/BearWitness?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#BearWitness&lt;/a&gt; | &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/FCSPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#FCSPlayoffs&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/Nl95n7QhsG\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/Nl95n7QhsG&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Maine Football (@BlackBearsFB) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/BlackBearsFB/status/1071406226066423808?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;December 8, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><h2><strong>Why Maine Can Win/Cover</strong></h2><p>What changed for Maine? The biggest difference for the Black Bears was the offense picked up, scoring 32.6 PPG during the winning streak and 27.7 PPG prior to that.</p><p>Their catalyst is sophomore quarterback Chris Ferguson, who has 21 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions. Ferguson's favorite targets are Earnest Edwards and Jaquan Blair, who has caught 15 of his TD tosses.</p><p>The running game is in the good hands of freshman Ramon Jefferson, whose average of 111.8 yards per game on the ground during the win streak, for a Maine offense compiling 132.8 YPG on the ground.</p><p>What gives the Black Bears a chance to win and cover is their defense, ranked 9th in total defense in the FCS and 6th in third-down stops. On the season they have conceded just 21.3 PPG.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;👀 &amp;amp; 🔊 from tonight's Post Game 🎉🎈🎊🎉&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Can't wait to see all of Eag Nation back on The 🔴 next Saturday!!!&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/ProtectTheRed?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#ProtectTheRed&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/FCSPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#FCSPlayoffs&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoEags?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#GoEags&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/ddIBd5pMhR\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/ddIBd5pMhR&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— #3 EWU Football (@EWUFootball) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/EWUFootball/status/1071616430305554432?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;December 9, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n\n"}[/]Third-seeded Eastern Washington ended up in a three-way tie in the rugged Big Sky Conference. The Eagles handled Nicholls State with ease 42-21 to start the postseason but were pushed to the limit by UC-Davis in the quarterfinals. Having beat beaten UC-Davis 59-20 a month ago, Eastern Washington scored with only 44 seconds remaining over the Aggies on Sam McPherson 35-yard touchdown scamper to escape 34-29. EWU needed a 20-8 fourth quarter to advance.</p><h2><strong>Why Eastern Washington Can Win/Cover</strong></h2><p>Like Maine, Eastern Washington is also peaking at the right time and has won six straight. The Eagles feature a stellar running game, which is 10th in FCS action at over 266 YPG. There bell-cow is McPherson, whose gained 1,288 yards and found the end zone a dozen times.</p><p>Quarterback Eric Barriere is the right compliment for this offense and he has 16 TD passes and been picked off just seven times. Barriere is in charge of a highly potent offense that averages 44.8 PPG</p><p>On defense, the Eagles are similar to Maine in permitting 21.7 PPG, but they allow 85 more yards per game and play the bend but don't break approach. EWU has a perfect 8-0 record on their semi-famous red turf in 2018.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>Final Verdict</strong></h2><p>For <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/college-football/" target="_blank" title="Free picks for the entire college bowl season at SBR.">college football picks</a>, having to play back to back games out west has to be tough on Maine. In a positive sense, the Black Bears have zero pressure, having never reached this point and after upsetting Weber State, who beat Eastern Washington, their confidence has to be soaring.</p><p>However, the Eagles have and an extremely veteran team with 28 seniors, who have reached this juncture two years ago before losing. Playing in a stronger conference and at home, Eastern Washington would seem to be on a mission to reach the title game and it's powerful offense and a stingy defense makes them a 35-24 winner.</p>
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