CHENEY — Vernon Adams’ fifth touchdown pass, with 31 seconds to play, lifted Eastern Washington to a wild 42-41 win over Portland State Saturday night.
The Vikings (6-6, 3-5 Big Sky) had taken the lead on a Collin Ramirez pass to Victor Dean with a minute left but Marcus Kinsella missed the extra point.
Adams then took the Eagles 74 yards in four plays, hitting Cooper Kupp for a 15-yard touchdown. Kevin Miller kicked the extra point.
Adams and the Eagles (10-2, 8-0) set a host of records in becoming the first team other than Montana to win an outright Big Sky title since EWU’s 1997 title. They are also the first team other than Montana to go unbeaten in league play since Nevada in 1991.
EWU scored the first TD but never led again until the final point. After Quincy Forte’s 3-yard run, Kieran McDonagh countered with a 2-yard TD to tie the game with 10 seconds left in the first quarter.
Kasey Closs had 4 and 3 yard scoring receptions from McDonagh, a Skyview High grad, in the second quarter and Eastern trailed at the half for only the third time this season. Those deficits came in their losses — Sam Houston State and Toledo.
Forte scored his second TD early in the third quarter and late in the third Adams hit Ashton Clark from 17-yards out to tie the game at 21.
Closs picked up his third TD on a 13-yard strike from Collin Ramirez early in the fourth quarter but then Kupp tied it with an 18-yard reception. It gave him a touchdown in all 12 games this season, a FCS record, erasing Randy Moss (Marshall, 1996) and Ramses Barden (Cal Poly, 2008) from the record book.
D.J. Adams put PSU up again, at the 5:53 mark, with a 10-yard run but Forte tied it at 1:44 when he turned a swing pass into a 13-yard score, his third.
The final four touchdowns drives, two by each team, took a total of 17 plays, covered 258 yards and took 2-minutes, 37-seconds.
Portland State finished with 603 yards and EWU 528.
Ramirez and McDonagh combined for 351 yards and each had two scoring passes and an interception. Thomas Carter also hit 2 of 3 passes for 59 yards. Adams ran for 144 yards on 28 carries. Closs finished with 10 receptions for 155 yards and Dean had five catches for 124. However, the Vikings had three turnovers.
Adams finished 34 of 56 for 457 yards and was picked off twice. Kupp had nine receptions for 142 yards, pushing his freshman FCS record to 1,378 yards. Heritage High grad Ashton Clark had seven receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles also lost two fumbles.
Adams set the conference record for TD passes, his 46 surpassing the 42 of Montana’s Brian Ah Yat in 1995. He now has the school record for passing yards (4,059), passing Bo Levi Mitchell (4,009 in 2011) and total offense (4,550), moving by Eric Meyer (4,224 in 2005).