Vernon Adams

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Carson Wentz looks to follow in Joe Flacco’s FCS footsteps

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One of the hottest names buzzing in the NFL Draft conversations is North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. Though he typically tends to fly under the radar on the FCS level, North Dakota State’s string of four consecutive national championships has helped players like Wentz catch the eyes of the scouts. The scouts have most certainly taken notice of Wentz, who is widely considered to be one of, if not the, top quarterback prospect in the NFL Draft this spring. Wentz knows there is hope to make it at the next level, because other FCS quarterbacks have proven they can be franchise quarterbacks.

“I think the success of guys like Joe Flacco or Tony Romo or, . . . the list goes on whether it’s quarterbacks or other position players,” he said, according to Pro Football Talk. “There’s a lot of talented individuals at the FCS level that can play. Especially a guy like Flacco coming in really right away as a rookie and winning some ballgames I think shows that that adjustment can be made by special players for sure.”

Romo, of the Dallas Cowboys, played his college football at Eastern Illinois where he earned three All-Ohio Valley Conference honors and was three-time OVC Player of the Year and a 2002 Walter Payton Award winner. He went undrafted in the 2003 NFL Draft, but things seem to have worked out well for him with the Cowboys. Flacco took a slightly different path to the Baltimore Ravens. Flacco started out at the FBS level at Pittsburgh but transferred to FCS Delaware after serving as a backup to Tyler Palko with the Panthers. Flacco set 20 records for the Blue Hens and guided Delaware to the national championship game in 2007, where Delaware fell to the same Appalachian State team that famously upset Michigan in Ann Arbor. Wentz has drawn plenty of comparisons to Flacco given his stature and arm strength.

Wentz isn’t the only former FCS star quarterback looking to make it at the next level, of course. Oregon’s Vernon Adams spent one season with the Ducks after a highly successful run at Eastern Washington. Unlike Wentz though, Adams appears to be fighting just to be drafted by an NFL team due to his lack of size (of course, Russell Wilson isn’t exactly a big guy, and he’s fared well).

Vernon Adams tosses 4 TDs, 313 yards to give Oregon first-half lead on USC

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Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams has thrown four first-half touchdowns and has accumulated 313 passing yards against No. 24 USC, and the No. 23 Ducks lead the visiting Trojans 31-14 at the half.

Adams has completed touchdown passes of 48 yards, 52 yards, 37 yards and 30 yards against the USC secondary, which has struggled to keep up the pace and cover wide-open receivers in the open field at various times. When Oregon’s receivers have so much room to work with, bad things happen to Oregon opponents. Oregon has averaged 17.8 yards per pass as they continue to pick apart the USC defense.

USC lost star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a brief period of time. The sophomore was helped off the field by trainers and was examined on the sideline. He would return after missing only a few minutes of action.

Oregon needs to win to keep the pressure on Stanford for the Pac-12 North division. An Oregon win and a Stanford loss to cal will award the Ducks a division crown.

Oregon QB Vernon Adams will keep playing with a broken finger

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Not too long before Oregon faced off with Michigan State in East Lansing last week a report came out saying quarterback Vernon Adams had an index finger injury. It turns out it is broken, although he may not miss any playing time because of it. That should be a nice relief for Ducks fans.

According to a report this morning from Aaron Fentress of Comcast SportsNet Northwest, the injury was suffered in Oregon’s season opener against Eastern Washington (Adams’ previous school) and it made gripping the football more difficult against the Spartans last week. For now it appears Adams will continue playing through the injury, even if it means losing a bit of touch on the football until the injury heals in the coming weeks.

Against Michigan State, Adams completed 22 of 39 pass attempts for 309 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted twice. While the injury likely affected his game, nobody at Oregon is using the injury as an excuse. Unless the pain becomes insufferable for Adams or the lack of ball control becomes a significant concern for Oregon’s offense against teams not as defensively strong as Michigan State, there may be no reason to take Adams out of the offense. However, offensive coordinator Scott Frost will have Jeff Lockie prepared to step in should it come to that.

Report: Oregon QB Vernon Adams playing with injured index finger vs. Sparty

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As if facing Michigan State’s defense in East Lansing was not already a difficult enough task for Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, now it appears he will have to do so while playing with an index finger injury. For a quarterback, of course, this injury is a tad more significant than it may be for most other positions.

A report this morning from ESPN.com this morning says Adams injured his index finger in Oregon’s season opener last week against his former school, Eastern Washington. Adams was banged up at time against his former teammates at Eastern Washington, but the word of an index finger injury is new. For now, the plan is still to have Adams lead the Ducks offense on the road tonight against Michigan State. If Adams is unable to get a grip on the football and his throws, do not be surprised to see Oregon throw Jeff Lockie into the mix.

Adams completed 19 of 25 pass attempts for 246 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week for Oregon. He also rushed for 94 yards on 114 rushing attempts.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 1 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

WACK-12
The Pac-12 came into the 2015 season looking to challenge the SEC for conference football supremacy.  While that may end up still being the case, it was a rough Week 1 in myriad regards for the Left Coast league, particularly its northern division.

First and foremost, No. 21 Stanford went into Evanston as heavy favorites only to be upended and upset by Northwestern.  And it wasn’t just that one of the preseason favorites in the North was beaten, it was that they were roughed up by the Wildcats and seemed to play timid on both sides of the ball.  More embarrassingly, a couple of hours later Washington State lost to FCS Portland State, which came into the game a 30-point underdog.

The South contributed to the first-week malaise as No. 15 Arizona State, viewed by some as a darkhorse playoff candidate (sheepishly raises hand), capped off the night with a 20-point loss to unranked Texas A&M.  At least that, though, was a loss to a Power Five school, and one from the stacked SEC West no less, in what was essentially a home game for the Aggies.

Add in Washington’s loss to Boise State — no shame in that — and Colorado’s loss to Hawaii Thursday night — a whole hell of a lot of shame in that — and it turned into a horrific lost weekend for the conference.  That said, remember how many were writing the Big Ten off a year ago at this time?  Yeah, it wouldn’t be wise to repeat that history.

WEAK 1?
If you thought that the Week 1 schedule, especially Saturday, was especially lacking when it came to compelling on-paper matchups, you’re not alone.  In fact, the raw data is sitting right along side you.

Opening weekend, and including the two still remaining, there were/are 87 games involving FBS teams.  Of that, 11 pitted Power Five vs. Power Five (for this exercise, I’m considering BYU a P5); another 47 — more than half — featured FBS teams playing an FCS team.  There were 22 Power Five teams that opened their season against an FCS team, with the ACC far and away leading the cupcake way with seven.  The Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 had four apiece, while the pastry alley that is the late-season SEC lagged behind with three.

There were also 23 games played between Power Five and Group of Five teams.  The SEC accounted for eight of those games, while the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 saw four each.  The FCS-heavy ACC had three such games.

It wasn’t just the Power Fives feeding on the FCS, though, as 25 Group of Five teams opened against the former Div. 1-AA.  The remaining six games saw Group of Five squads squaring off against each other.

While most of the FBS feasted on their FCS cupcakes, a handful choked on them.  Two that lost to FCS teams were Power Five members in the aforementioned Wazzu and Kansas (South Dakota State, more on that below) and two were Group of Five teams in Army (Fordham) and Wyoming (North Dakota).

BAD BLOOD CHEAP SHOT?
Vernon Adams transferred from Eastern Washington to Oregon earlier this offseason and ultimately earned the Ducks’ starting quarterback job.  As luck would have it, Adams’ current and former teams squared off in the season opener in Autzen Saturday night, and there was one interesting development in UO’s 61-42 win.

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