Eagle quarterback and EWU leads FCS in passing efficiency, with Cooper Kupp moving up to third with 11 TD receptions
For the second time this season, sophomore quarterback and Walter Payton Award candidate Vernon Adams has earned National Offensive Player of the Week honors from College Sports Madness after leading the third-ranked Eastern Washington University football team to a 42-37 victory at 10th-ranked Montana Saturday (Oct. 26).
Other national accolades and Big Sky Conference player of the week honors will be awarded on Monday (Oct. 28). Adams was also honored by College Sports Madness as FCS Offensive Player of the Week earlier this season after directing EWU to a 49-46 upset victory at Oregon State on Aug. 31.
The sophomore quarterback completed 27-of-40 passes against the Grizzlies for a career-high 457 yards, ranking as the fifth-most in school history. His six TDs tied the school record set on five previous occasions, including once by Adams in the second half alone of last year’s loss in the semifinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.
Adams is ranked No. 1 again this week in passing efficiency in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. With a 67.3 percent completion rate (171-of-254 to rank eighth in FCS), 2,646 yards (fourth), 30 touchdowns (second) and eight interceptions for the season, he has a rating of 187.5. Eastern also leads the nation with a 184.8 team rating.
In addition, Adams is third in FCS in points responsible for with an average of 25.0 per game (total of 200 to rank second, with 30 TD passes, three rushing touchdowns and one two-point conversion). He is also third in FCS in total offense (372.5) and fifth in passing yards (330.8 per game).
In other individual national rankings, redshirt freshman receiver Cooper Kupp is third in FCS with 11 touchdown receptions, and is also 14th in receiving yards per game (97.1, with a total of 777 to rank 12th) and 41st in receptions (5.5 per game, with a total of 44).
In each of his last two games -- Southern Utah on Oct. 19 and Montana on Oct. 26 -- Kupp had 11 catches to equal the 12th-best in school history tied with 10 others, including teammate Ashton Clark with 11 grabs versus SUU a year ago. Kupp finished with 168 yards and a score against the Thunderbirds and versus the Grizzlies he had two touchdowns and 182 yards to rank 18th all-time at EWU.
Clark, a senior wide receiver, is 30th in FCS in receiving yards (85.5 per game, with a total of 684 to rank 26th) and 41st in receptions (5.5 per game, with a total of 44). Senior cornerback T.J. Lee, who is now tied for the school record for career forced fumbles with six, has three this season to rank 12th in FCS in average per game (0.38). He also is 18th in fumble recoveries per game (0.38), with a total of three.
As a team, EWU is leading FCS in passing efficiency (184.8), and is eighth in total offense (503.1 per game), sixth in passing (340.6), 65th in rushing (162.5) and 19th in scoring (37.4). Defensively, EWU is 85th in total defense (417.8), 60th in rushing (168.9), 100th in passing (248.9) and 70th in scoring (27.8). In addition, the Eagles are the 12th-most efficient team in red zone offense (89.3 scoring percentage) and seventh in third-down conversions (50.0 percent).
Eastern plays at Idaho State this week before hosting fifth-ranked Montana State on Nov. 9 at Roos Field. Both the Eagles and Bobcats are tied at 4-0 in the conference. Eastern is 6-2 overall while the Bengals, who are coached by former Eagle head coach Mike Kramer, are 3-5 on the season and 1-4 in the league.