CORVALLIS — Vernon Adams was not awed by Oregon State. The Beavers won’t soon forget the Eastern Washington quarterback.
Adams did everything Saturday, passing for 411 yards and running for 107 and the go-ahead score with 18 seconds left as the Eagles upset No. 25 Oregon State 49-46 to become the third FCS team to beat a ranked FBS team.
“Watching it live, it was really impressive,” Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin said. “He wasn’t afraid of the situation.”
The junior from Pasadena, Calif., played with panache, throwing for four touchdowns and running for two, completing 23 of 30 passes despite leaving the game twice — once with cramping and a second time after taking a hard hit near the sideline.
“It’s just having swagger,” he said. “Coming out here and not being nervous. Just come out here and play your game.”
Adams scored on a 2-yard run to put the Eagles up 49-46 on their final drive. It was the first time a team from the Football Championship Subdivision has defeated a ranked team from the Football Bowl Subdivision since James Madison beat Virginia Tech in September 2010.
Sean Mannion threw for 422 yards and Brandin Cooks had 13 catches for 196 yards for the Beavers, who two seasons ago were similarly surprised by lower-division Sacramento State and stumbled to a 3-9 finish.
Getting the ball back in the final seconds, Mannion led the Beavers down the field, completing two quick passes to give Oregon State a chance to tie, but Trevor Romaine’s 52-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
Ashton Clark had 155 yards receiving and Cooper Kupp had 119 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles (1-0), who are ranked fourth in the preseason FCS poll and third in the coaches poll. Eastern Washington has played tough against Pac-12 schools in recent years, falling 30-27 to Washington in the season opener in 2011 and 24-20 to Washington State last season.
The Eagles rolled up 625 yards of offense as Oregon State was powerless to deal with the mobile Adams. Eastern Washington scored on every possession except for one in the third quarter when Adams left briefly with cramping.
The Beavers led 7-6 after the first quarter as Eastern Washington’s first two scores were a pair of Kevin Miller field goals, but Adams threw a touchdown to Clark and two to Kupp as the Eagles took a 29-17 lead into halftime.
Oregon State got back on top briefly in the third, with a 7-yard TD reception by Cooks and a 3-yard scoring run for Storm Woods. The 2-point conversion made it 32-29 Beavers.
From there the teams traded scores. Oregon State led 46-43 after a 3-yard TD run by Woods with 4:50 left. However, Adams orchestrated an 11-play, 75-yard drive, capped with his final touchdown run.