The Black Bears roll past Richmond and can clinch the conference’s automatic NCAA bid next week.
RICHMOND — The No. 16 Maine football team scored two touchdowns in the first quarter Saturday and went on to a 28-9 win over Richmond, locking down at least a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title.
The Black Bears (7-3, 6-1 CAA) entered the day tied for first in the conference with Delaware, which lost at Stony Brook, 17-3. Picked to finish eighth by the league’s coaches, Maine can become the outright champion and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs if it beats Elon (6-3, 4-2) at home next Saturday.
Maine allowed just 6 rushing yards on 16 carries in the first three quarters against Richmond. Chris Ferguson threw three touchdown passes in the first half and four overall, as Maine’s tall receivers took advantage on balls thrown to sides of the field. But Ferguson appeared to hurt his right shoulder and had to come out of the game in the third quarter.
Isaiah Robinson came in to replace Ferguson and lost a fumble late in the third quarter.
Richmond (3-7, 1-6) has used several quarterbacks this season because of injuries and subpar play and entered the contest with 17 interceptions thrown – the most in the country. Kevin Johnson made the start Saturday, but the Spiders mostly used Reid Chenault, who had thrown just 10 passes this season.
Maine scored on the first drive of the game, as Ferguson threw to Earnest Edwards for a 3-yard touchdown. The Black Bears made it 14-0 later in the quarter, taking advantage of single coverage on their wideouts, as Jaquan Blair beat his defender and grabbed a 6-yard pass.
Ferguson connected with Edwards for a 29-yard touchdown to make it 21-3 with 9:44 left in the second quarter.
Maine stretched its lead to 28-3 in the third after a fumble recovery by linebacker Taji Lowe. Micah Wright caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ferguson.
Jeffrey DeVaughn had an interception and four tackles in the first half for Maine.
This story will be updated.