There was a play last season when Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams scrambled around for 13 seconds before throwing a touchdown.
Then a redshirt freshman, Adams juked backward from the Sacramento State 10-yard line to the 35 of the Hornets before escaping a defender’s grab of his facemask to hit his receiver for the game-winning score.
That might have been the birth of “Big Play V.A.”
The Eagles have built a website, www.BigPlayVA.com, around the nickname and the quarterback’s accomplishments, and Adams has more than lived up to it during his sophomore year.
Adams has passed for 22 plays of 40 or more yards this season. Six of those have gone for 60 or more, including 76- and 86-yard touchdown passes to receiver Shaq Hill.
In the past three games alone, Adams has passed for 1,189 yards and 15 touchdowns. His 39 passing touchdowns are already a single-season school record and are just three shy of the Big Sky Conference record.
With a rating of 192.2, he is on pace to break the single-season school record for passing efficiency, and his 59 career passing touchdowns already rank fourth on the Eastern Washington career list.
Adams’ biggest performance might have been a 49-46 victory over Oregon State where he set the program record with 518 yards of total offense — 411 passing and 107 rushing.
He’s second on the team in rushing with 47 yards per game, but Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh sees a player who’s progressed far beyond the big-play threat that spent all that time scrambling in the backfield against Sacramento State.
“As much as they want to call him ‘Big Play V.A.’, last year, that’s what I thought he was,” Walsh said. “This year, he has really polished his quarterback skills, and that makes him even more dangerous. When you take an athlete and you make him a polished quarterback on top of being that athlete, it’s pretty scary. He can do a lot of things with his feet, a lot of things with his arm. Now, he’s doing a lot of things with his mind.”