Eastern quarterback Vernon Adams isn’t the same quarterback who struggled last year in Bozeman.
“I’m more mature now,” said Adams, who on Saturday calmly picked apart the Bobcats for 300 yards, no interceptions and a pass-efficiency rating of 302. He nearly broke the Big Sky and school record of 310.4 set by Eastern’s Mark Tenneson against Sonoma State in 1992.
His four touchdown passes gave him 38 and broke the school record of 37 set by Bo Levi Mitchell in 2010. Adams now ranks second in Big Sky history behind the 42 that Brian Ah Yat had in 1996 for Montana. It also ranks 14th in FCS history.
“Vernon was special and the receivers were special,” Baldwin said. “I didn’t realize (Vernon) had just two incompletions – that is impressive. That is just the type of player he is. He keeps getting better, and he keeps working at it.”
Now 16-3 as a starter at EWU, it was the ninth 300-yard passing game of his career. He also had his second-most rushing yards with 76, giving him a total of 376 yards of total offense in the game.
The only thing that stopped Adams was lower leg cramping in the second half, which kept him out of EWU’s final touchdown drive of the day.
Productivity, and then some
Eastern ran only 48 plays on the afternoon – the fewest of the season – but still gained 591 yards against a Bobcats defense that ranked second in the conference.
That averages out to 12.3 yards a play, easily topping the previous season high of 9.6 last week at Idaho State. It also broke the conference record for yards per play of 11.1 set by Northern Arizona against Portland State in 2010.
Until Saturday, MSU was giving up just 5.0 yards per play in conference games.
For the fourth time this season, the Eagles ran it more than they passed – 28 times for 244 yards.
Twice as nice
Combined with a 42-37 win at Montana two weeks ago, the Eagles have back-to-back sweeps of the Montana schools for the first time since 1992.
Last year, the Eagles beat the Grizzlies 32-26 in Cheney, then upset MSU 27-24 in Bozeman.
The win also avenged a 36-21 home loss to the Bobcats in 2011 – Eastern’s first loss on the red turf.
Eastern is now 21-3 in the Inferno.