CORVALLIS — Vernon Adams passed for 411 yards and ran for 107 and the go-ahead score with 18 seconds left as Eastern Washington upset No. 25 Oregon State 49-46 on Saturday to become the third FCS team to beat a ranked FBS team.
Adams overwhelmed the Beavers in a performance in sure to attract attention around the nation. He threw for four touchdowns and ran 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.
Adams returned, though, and scored on a 2-yard run to put the Eagles up 49-46. 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.
Asked if he thought his team overlooked the Eagles, coach Oregon State Mike Riley was thoughtful.
"I don't. I don't," he said. "I think that would be a discredit to that kid playing QB and all the plays they made. I don't think that's it."
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. It was the school's first win over a Pac-12 opponent. Eastern Washington went 11-3 last season and was the Big Sky Co-Champions before losing in the semifinals of the FBS playoffs. The Eagles were ranked No. 4 in the preseason FCS poll and third nationally 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.
"That's a good football team with good players. They've been good for a long time," Riley said.
The Beavers went 9-4 in 2012 and played in the Alamo Bowl. It was the biggest turnaround in school history over the season before which opened with a 29-28 overtime loss to the Hornets.
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 upset was one of the more stunning of the opening weekend. North Dakota State stunned Kansas State 24-21 on Friday night, Towson defeated Connecticut 33-18 on Thursday, and McNeese State beat South Florida 53-21 on Saturday.