Ferguson, Jefferson lead Maine to 55-27 FCS playoff win
ORONO, Maine (AP) — Chris Ferguson threw for five touchdowns, Ramon Jefferson ran for a career-high 186 yards with a touchdown and seventh-seeded Maine used a big first half to defeat Jacksonville State 55-27 on Saturday in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
The Black Bears (9-3), who play at second-seeded Weber State next weekend, won a playoff game for the first time since 2011 and did it by piling up a season-high 42 first-half points.
Ferguson threw three scores in the first quarter, two to Earnest Edwards, for a 21-0 lead. Zerrick Cooper hooked up with Jamari Hester for a 36-yard score late in the first quarter and a 70-yarder early in the second to bring the Gamecocks (9-4) within a touchdown. Ferguson responded with his fourth TD pass, Edwards scored on a 3-yard run, the second time Maine cashed in on a short field after a Jacksonville State fumble, and Jefferson scored for a 42-14 lead.
The five-time reigning Ohio Valley Conference champions collected 14 penalties for 136 yards. The Gamecocks finished 1 of 14 on third down and 2 of 6 on fourth, despite piling up 477 yards. Cooper a sophomore transfer from Clemson, was 19 of 44 for 365 yards with an interception.
Maine, the Colonial Athletic Association champs, won a playoff game at home for the first time, with a season-high 268 yards on the ground and Ferguson throwing for 159.