Cooper Kupp Moves into FCS Lead for TD Catches;Adams is Big Sky - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Cooper Kupp Moves into FCS Lead for TD Catches; Adams is Big Sky Offensive POW

The football awards season got off to a rousing start Monday (Nov. 25) when Eastern Washington University quarterback Vernon Adams, the new Big Sky Conference record holder in single season total offense and touchdown passes, was selected as the final ROOT Sports Offensive Player of the Week by the Big Sky Conference.

Freshman sensation Cooper Kupp was rewarded with the team's offensive player of the week accolade after he and Adams led a record-breaking performance in a 42-41 victory over Portland State Saturday (Nov. 23) to wrap-up a perfect 8-0 season for the playoff-bound Eagles.

All-Big Sky Conference honors will begin to be released on Tuesday (Nov. 26), with voting taking place this week for national FCS awards presented by The Sports Network. Eastern has finalists in all four categories – Adams for the Walter Payton Award given to the top player; Kupp for the Jerry Rice Award given to the top freshman; linebacker Ronnie Hamlin for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player; and head coach Beau Baldwin for the Eddie Robinson Award given to the coach of the year. The winners will be announced Dec. 16.

Kupp ended the regular season as the leader in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision with 18 touchdown catches for the season, including two versus PSU to earn sole possession of the FCS record for consecutive games with a TD reception. The 2012 graduate of Davis High School in Yakima, Wash., has caught at least one TD in all of the games he has played in his 12-game EWU career.

Adams, who has now been honored by the Big Sky four times this season and six in his career, is ranked No. 1 again this week in the FCS in passing efficiency (185.7). That mark continues to rank as a school and Big Sky record while ranking fourth all-time in the FCS. He is also leading the FCS in total offense per game (379.2) and is third in passing yards per game (338.3 per game).

The sophomore from Pasadena, Calif., had five touchdown passes versus PSU, including the game-winner with 31 seconds left to Kupp to cap a frantic four-play, 74-yard drive that started with a minute to play. Adams broke Big Sky season records for total offense and touchdown passes as he completed 34-of-56 passes for 457 yards. He had career highs for attempts and completions, and equaled his career-high of 457 yards, which ranks fifth in school history.

With 481 total yards against the Vikings, Adams broke the Big Sky record of 4,400 set by Cameron Higgins of Weber State in 2008 and the school record of 4,224 yards set by Erik Meyer in 2005.

Adams' 46 touchdowns are now fourth all-time in FCS, and broke the Big Sky single season record of 42 TD passes set by Brian Ah Yat of Montana in 1996 and the school record of 37 set by Bo Levi Mitchell in 2010.

His 25-yard pass to Kupp on the game-winning drive against PSU broke the school record of 4,009 yards set by Bo Levi Mitchell in 2011. Adams now has 4,059 passing yards this season to rank fourth in BSC history and 19th all-time in FCS.

Besides his FCS-leading statistics, Adams also ranks nationally with a 66.4 percent completion rate (261-of-393 to rank ninth in FCS), 4,059 yards (third) and 46 touchdowns (second). He is third in FCS in points responsible for with an average of 25.3 per game (total of 302 to rank second, with 46 TD passes, four rushing touchdowns and one two-point conversion).

Kupp has 77 catches this season – a TD for every 4.3 catches so far – and is averaging 17.9 yards per reception. The next-best freshman in FCS has seven receiving TDs. Kupp is fifth in FCS and tops among freshmen in receiving yards per game (114.8), second in receiving yards and 17th in receptions per game (6.4).

In other individual national rankings, senior receiver Ashton Clark is 49th in receiving yards (76.2 per game, with a total of 914 to rank 34th) and 47th in receptions (5.3 per game, with a total of 63). Sophomore Shaq Hill is 54th in all-purpose yards per game (113.9, with totals of 761 receiving and 490 on kickoff returns). Senior cornerback T.J. Lee, who is in sole possession of the school record for career forced fumbles with seven, has four this season to rank ninth in FCS in average per game (0.33). He also is 34th in fumble recoveries per game (0.25), with a total of three. Jake Miller is 18th in FCS in average per punt (42.7).

As a team, EWU is leading FCS in passing efficiency (185,3), and is fourth in total offense (531.1 per game), third in passing (359.3), 52nd in rushing (171.8) and eighth in scoring (40.4). Defensively, EWU is 103rd in total defense (454.3), 74th in rushing (179.7), 114th in passing (274.7) and 75th in scoring (29.0). In addition, the Eagles are the eighth-most efficient team in red zone offense (88.6 scoring percentage), eighth in third-down conversions (48.7 percent), third in passing yards per completion (15.4) and eighth in pass completion percentage (66.5 percent).

Postseason statistics are included in team records and rankings. Below is a complete list of milestones for the EWU football team heading into its game Dec. 7 at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., in the FCS Playoffs.

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