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.
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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.”