Maine bounces App State in second round
Boone, NC (Sports Network) - Quarterback Warren Smith threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns as Maine eliminated Appalachian State, 34-12, in the second round of the FCS playoffs Saturday.
Smith completed 17-of-26 pass attempts while Maine (9-3) advanced to a national quarterfinal next Friday or Saturday at No. 3 seed Georgia Southern (10-2), which defeated another CAA Football squad, Old Dominion, 55-48, on Saturday.
Appearing in the playoffs for the seventh straight year, Appalachian State (8-4) hadn't lost in its first game since a 14-13 defeat to Maine in the first round in 2002.
The 15,291 in attendance at Kidd Brewer Stadium watched as Maine never trailed against the Mountaineers.
The Black Bears broke open a 13-6 game in the third quarter when Smith connected with John Ebeling for a 21-yard touchdown with 8:32 left and David Hood scored on a 54-yard run to open their next drive.
Travaris Cadet's 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter pulled Appalachian State within 27-12.
But Maine's Kendall James intercepted quarterback Jamal Jackson on the Mountaineers' next drive and coach Jack Cosgrove's Black Bears turned it into a 60- yard touchdown drive, capped by a Pushaun Brown 31-yard run with 9:30 left to make it 34-12.
Brown finished with 111 yards on 24 carries.
Conversely, Appalachian State's three rushing yards were its fewest since rushing for minus-one yard in a 40-35 loss at Northwestern State on Sept. 25, 2004 and its fewest ever in a FCS playoff game.
Maine jumped to a 7-0 lead right after Appalachian State's opening series ended three-and-out. Smith completed three passes on a four-play drive, the final one a 44-yard touchdown pass to Damarr Aultman with 12:48 left in the first quarter.
Appalachian State freshman Doug Middleton kept Maine from extending its lead by blocking Brian Harvey's 20-yard field goal attempt with three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Jackson found rhythm on a scoring drive in the second quarter and fired a 20- yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field to Andrew Peacock with nine minutes left. But Drew Stewart's extra point attempt was blocked off the crossbar and Maine maintained its 7-6 lead.
Appalachian State basically got the point back after Maine extended its lead to 13-6 on Smith's 35-yard touchdown pass to Aultman with 4:51 left. Brandon Grier blocked Harvey's extra point attempt to keep the Mountaineers within seven points by halftime.
But the Black Bears took control in the third quarter.
Troy Altman's nine tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a sack, led the Maine defense.
Aultman caught five passes for 117 yards.
For Appalachian State, NFL-bound wide receiver Brian Quick caught seven passes for 41 yards and became the Mountaineers' all-time leader with 202 career receptions. He extended his all-time lead in career receiving yards to 3,418 and despite not scoring finished with a record 31 touchdown receptions.
12/03 18:25:15 ET