Posted on September 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Monday, Sep 1 at 7:00 PM
Eastern Washington University senior punter Jake Miller and junior quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. have been selected by the Big Sky Conference as its first ROOT SPORTS football Players of the Week for the 2014 season.
This is Adams' seventh career Player of the Week honor and the first for Miller. They joined Sacramento State linebacker Darnell Sankey as recipients of the league's three awards presented weekly.
The Eagles, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision polls this week, defeated Sam Houston State in their opener 56-35 on Aug. 23. Eastern followed that with a 41-9 romp past Montana Western last Saturday (Aug. 30), and play the University of Washington this Saturday (Sept. 6) at Husky Stadium in Seattle.
Miller, a 2010 graduate of Central Valley High School in Spokane, Wash., punted six times for a 49.3 average against Sam Houston State, including kicks of 64 (third-longest of his career and 10th in school history), 54 and 50 yards. He had three downed inside the SHSU 20-yard line, then in his next game both of his punts were downed inside the 20.
Already Eastern's leading career punter, Miller has a 47.0 average in eight punts this season, with three of at least 50 yards and five downed inside the opponent 20-yard line. His career average of 43.6 yards per punt is more than a full yard ahead of the record of 42.3 set by Jesse Nicassio from 2002-03, and is currently sixth in FCS history (he needs 11 more punts to meet the minimum of 150).
Adams was nearly perfect against Montana Western, completing 28-of-31 passes for 370 yards and five touchdowns in less than three quarters of action for a passing efficiency rating of 243.8. One game earlier versus Sam Houston State, Adams was 26-of-48 for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
With five TD tosses against Montana Western, Adams now has 84 touchdowns in his Eastern career, tying him with Erik Meyer (2002-05) for second in school history and eighth all-time in the Big Sky Conference. The school record is 96 (second in league history) set by Matt Nichols (2006-09). Adams now has 7,627 career yards, moving him from fifth to third in school history behind Meyer (10,261) and Nichols (12,616). Adams has had 14 performances of at least 300 yards in 29 career games.
The Walter Payton Award candidate from Pasadena, Calif., is now 22-4 as a starter at Eastern. His 20 victories entering the season represents the most back-to-back wins by a starting quarterback in school history (Bo Levi Mitchell had 19). One of the losses for the 2013 Payton Award runner-up was against Sam Houston State last year, and the other three were against Southern Utah in 2012 and Toledo and Towson in 2013.
Adams nearly broke a Big Sky record with a 302.2 efficiency rating last Oct. 9 when he was 16-of-18 for 300 yards and four TD in a 54-29 romp over Montana State. His career rating of 176.1 is currently a school and Big Sky record and ranks second all-time in FCS.
Adams will now try and lead EWU to another upset win against a FBS opponent. The Eags travel to Seattle to take on Washington. First year head coach Chris Petersen was not happy with his teams performance in week one and he knows his team cannot flounder against the FCS No. 2 Eastern Washington.