Not surprisingly, the national accolades are pouring in for Eastern Washington University quarterback Vernon Adams.
On Monday morning (Sept. 2), the sensational sophomore was selected by The Sports Network as its NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Offensive Player of the Week after leading fourth-ranked EWU to a 49-46 victory over 25th-ranked Oregon State from the Pac-12 Conference foe on Saturday (Aug. 31).
Adams, who is from Pasadena, Calif., and graduated in 2011 from Alemany High School, finished with a school-record 518 yards of total offense in the win over Oregon State. He had four touchdown passes and rushed for two TDs, and scored the winning points with a 2-yard run with 18 seconds to play.
In addition to the honor from TSN, Adams is also one of four FBS/FCS nominees for Capital One Impact Performer of the Week (voting now taking place at www.espn.com/capitalonecup). He was also selected as College Sports Madness National FCS Offensive Player of the Week and that organization's Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
"It was pretty impressive -- he wasn't afraid of the situation," Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said. "When it was time to run he took off and ran, and made them pay with his legs. But he didn't just force the run – he found guys downfield. Ultimately, one of the things I'm most proud of is that he took care of the football. That's hard to do against a Pac-12 opponent. We took care of the ball as a team, but he had the ball in his hands the most. He really did a great job – I couldn't be happier."
Adams accounted for 78 yards during the monumental, game-winning 75-yard scoring drive for the Eagles, who were the 2010 NCAA Division I champions. Adams had 411 yards (17th-most in school history) and four touchdowns on 23-of-30 passing, and added 107 yards and two TD on the ground.
Adams broke the previous school record for total yards of 493 set by Todd Bernett against Montana in 1994. That total was the FCS Week 1 high, as was his 235.747 pass efficiency rating. He picked up where he left off last season when he had 364 passing yards in the second half alone of EWU's 45-42 loss to Sam Houston State in the FCS Playoffs.
Eastern's 49-46 victory was just the fourth time since the division was created in 1978 that a FCS (formerly known as I-AA) team defeated a ranked FBS opponent. The other times that feat occurred came in 1983 (Cincinnati def. #20 Penn State 14-3), 2007 (Appalachian State def. #5 Michigan 34-32) and 2010 (James Madison def. #13 Virginia Tech 21-16).
Eastern out-gained the Beavers 625-527 in the shootout, which featured seven total lead changes – six in the final 24:47. The 625 yards were the seventh-most in school history, and the most since EWU had 626 in the FCS Playoffs against McNeese State in 2007.
Eastern punted just once against the Beavers, and that came after Adams briefly left the game with cramps in the third quarter. Eastern scored six touchdowns and had three field goals in 10 possessions, with scoring drives of 60, 69, 57, 77, 65, 49, 69, 75 and 75 yards. Eastern had 31 first downs (eight from the school record), and was 5-of-10 on third down. Eastern also converted an important fourth down in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles are already 1-0 in nailbiters in 2013, and have now won 12 games since 2010 when trailing or tied in the fourth quarter. Besides a 49-46 victory over 25th-ranked Oregon State in 2013, Eastern won three in 2012 (Montana, Montana State, UC Davis), two in 2011 and six in the 2010 national title season.
Adams currently has a career passing efficiency rating of 170.0 (63 percent, 2,372 yards, 24 TD, 8 INT), which ranks as the school record.
He was selected as the Freshman of the Year on the College Sporting News "Fabulous 50" All-America team in 2012, and was also on the College Sports Journal Freshman All-America squad. Adams was also one of 20 players on the ballot for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman in FCS by The Sports Network (he finished sixth in the voting, which occurred prior to the playoffs).
Adams ranked fourth in FCS in passing efficiency (160.80) in 2012, and was the only freshman in the top 24 of the rankings. His efficiency rating also ranked fourth all-time in school history. In nine games as a starter and three as a sub, he completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 1,961 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.