CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The season came to a screeching halt for the University of Maine football team on Saturday.
Host Northern Iowa dismantled the Black Bears defense and shut down the UMaine offense while cruising to a 40-15 NCAA first-round playoff victory at the UNI-Dome.
Fourth-ranked Northern Iowa (11-2) advances to host UMaine rival New Hampshire in Saturday’s national quarterfinals.
Coach Jack Cosgrove’s 20th-ranked UMaine squad closed out the season at 8-5.
The Bears, who earned an at-large bid to the 16-team tournament out of the Colonial Athletic Association, found themselves having to play from behind after a second-quarter offensive outburst by the Panthers.
UMaine’s offense had only sporadic success while trying to throw often and quarterback Mike Brusko was intercepted four times.
Northern Iowa turned in a well-balanced offensive effort, gaining yards on the ground and through the air.
Pat Grace completed 15 of 24 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed 15 times for 54 yards. Tailbacks Corey Lewis abd Derrick Law added 75 and 64 yards,respectively, UNI amassed 422 yards of total offense.
UMaine accounted for only 264 yards, including a 31-yard reverse run by Landis Williams. Brusko completed 15 of 23 throws for 180 yards. Derek Session made five receptions for 70 yards.