STATESBORO, Ga. – It wasn’t exactly fair. Maine had been practicing against the triple option offense for less than a week. Georgia Southern has been running it for nearly 25 of its football program’s 30 years.

The Black Bears used an assistant coach to run the offense in practice this week. Georgia Southern has been using option magician Jaybo Shaw to run it every day for the last two years.

The results were predictable.

The third-seeded Eagles ran up 476 yards, 360 on the ground, and ended Maine’s season with a 35-23 victory in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs Saturday.

“They know what they’re doing out there,” said Maine linebacker Vinson Givans. “It seems like they always have one more guy than you have.”

In fairness to the Black Bears, no team in the Colonial Athletic Association runs the triple option. Rhode Island ran it from 2000-07 when a former Georgia Southern coach, Tim Stowers, coached the Rams.

It was an offense Stowers used to lead the Eagles to the 1990 national championship.

The triple option is a three-pronged nightmare for opposing defenses. It starts with the quarterback either handing the ball to the fullback or faking it to the fullback.

If the quarterback keeps it, he’ll run to the outside with two more options — either keeping the ball or pitching it to a trailing slotback.

And the Eagles do know what they’re doing. They are second in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 331.9 yards per game. They had 477 on the ground against Old Dominion — another CAA team that never sees the option — in the first round of the playoffs.

A week after holding Appalachian State to 3 yards rushing, the Black Bears gave up 128 on the ground in the first quarter.

Georgia Southern scored touchdowns on five of its first six possessions.

“We got better at (defending the option) as the game went along,” Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove said. “We just ran out of time.”

The Black Bears did slow freshman fullback Dominique Swope, who totaled 573 yards in his last three games. Included were 153 and a touchdown against Alabama.

Swope finished with 84 yards on 23 carries against Maine.

“I give credit to their defensive line,” Georgia Southern center William Maxwell said. “They didn’t want to be moved.”

But Georgia Southern didn’t have to rely on the inside game. The Eagles had two more options and their outside speed proved too much to overcome for the Black Bears.

And the ball control of Georgia Southern’s running offense limited Maine’s offensive opportunities.

Georgia Southern had the ball for 42 minutes, 24 seconds of the 60-minute game.

“Being able to run the football and keep the clock rolling, that was an advantage for us,” said Eagles Coach Jeff Monken, whose team advanced to the semifinals for the second straight year.