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Spotlight: Oregon’s Vernon Adams looks good after breakup

Vernon Adams Jr.

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. (3) hands off to running back Kani Benoit (29) in the first quarter of their game against Eastern Washington on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.

(Ryan Kang / Associated Press)

Ever dump someone in a relationship and then find them at the same place you are on your next date? Awkward.

Vernon Adams Jr. knows the football equivalent. The quarterback transferred to Oregon from Eastern Washington, knowing the Ducks’ opener Saturday was against … well, you can guess.

“It is a rare and somewhat unfortunate set of circumstances that it is him versus them,” Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich said last week.

Yes, it was unfortunate for them.

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Adams was his typically productive self against his former team, passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 94 yards in a little more than three quarters as Oregon defeated Eastern Washington, a Football Bowl Subdivision power, 61-42.

A couple of Oregon’s Pac-12 Conference rivals already knew that Adams, a Mission Hills Alemany High product, was major-college caliber. Adams led Oregon to a 49-46 upset of Oregon State in a 2013 opener, and Washington barely escaped Adams and the Eagles last year, 59-52, at Husky Stadium.

Adams passed for 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns in 37 games for Eastern Washington, adding 11 more touchdowns on runs. But the Eagles appear to have a capable replacement.

Jordan West, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior who is a former walk-on, completed 23 of 34 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns against Oregon before he was injured early in the third quarter. He was 3-1 as a starter last season when Adams was injured, passing for 1,072 yards and nine touchdowns with one interception in seven games.

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Trivia question

What active major-college football player has the most wins as a college quarterback?

Truth

The best college-football-related line of the opening weekend might have come from golfer Jordan Spieth.

Watching Texas struggle to do much of anything on offense during the first half against Notre Dame, he wrote on Twitter.com: “Texas’ offense looking about as useful as my last 4 rounds” Spieth is the world’s second-ranked golfer, but he has missed the cut in his last two tournaments.

Wonder what Tiger Woods thought of Stanford?

 

Bouncing back

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Some guys are both lucky and good.

Quarterback Greyson Lambert was demoted by Virginia Coach Mike London during the spring, losing his starting spot to Matt Johns.

So Lambert, who graduated, decided to take advantage of an NCAA rule that allows athletes who have graduated to transfer without penalty.

Lambert landed at Georgia.

And while Johns played well Saturday, completing 21 of 35 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown with one interception in Virginia’s 34-16 loss to UCLA, Lambert was enjoying life guiding the offense of the ninth-ranked team in the nation.

Lambert, who was named Georgia’s starter only five days before the opener, completed eight of 12 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs routed Louisiana Monroe, 51-14, in a game shortened by about 10 minutes because of lightning in the area.

Cool

Sometimes you have to wonder about divine intervention.

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In honor of a late teammate, Arkansas Tech lined up with only 10 players on defense for its first play against Southern Nazarene on Thursday. Going a man short was a tribute to former lineman Zemaric Holt, who drowned while swimming with some teammates in July.

Southern Nazarene, which is known for trying trick plays, predictably opened with one — a double reverse that looked as if it might have been setting up a pass play. Except that the second exchange was muffed, with the ball rolling to the 10-yard line.

That’s where Arkansas Tech linebacker Nick Atkins picked it up and took it into the end zone, sparking a 62-14 victory.

Hopefully, Oklahoma Baptist was paying attention. (Or, come to think of it, maybe not.) Since Arkansas Tech’s opener was on the road, the Wonder Boys — yep, that’s the school nickname — will line up with 10 players for their first play on defense in their home opener Sept. 12.

Advice: Run up the middle. Or just take a knee.

Not cool

Coaches can be coy when it comes to sharing news about their teams, saving, for example, any announcement about the winner of a position battle and making everyone wait to see who lines up where on the first play.

And then there is Rutgers Coach Kyle Flood, who waited until 10 minutes before the start of his team’s opener to share he had kicked five players off his team, including three projected starters.

Flood really can’t be blamed for stalling, though. All five were arrested Thursday, so he didn’t have a lot of time to sort everything out.

Defensive backs Nadir Barnwell, Ruhann Peele and Delon Stephenson, along with fullback Razohnn Gross were charged with aggravated assault, riot and conspiracy to commit a riot for their parts in a fight in April. Defensive back Dre Boggs, who was expected to start along with Barnwell and Stephenson, was charged in two home-invasion robberies.

Rutgers regrouped well enough to easily win against an overmatched opponent, 63-13, but its troubles may not be over.

Flood is being investigated by the school for allegedly breaking school and NCAA rules by contacting a teacher about a poor grade one of his players received.

The player: Barnwell.

Trivia answer

Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, with 26 — only the Buckeyes are so stacked that Miller no longer even plays quarterback. He is expected to start Monday’s game against Virginia Tech at wide receiver. Next up on the list is Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, with 24.

Hogan didn’t pull any closer in the Cardinal’s opener, a 16-6 loss to Northwestern in which he was sacked three times, intercepted once, and completed 20 of 35 passes for 155 yards.

One-liners

Portland State’s 24-17 upset of Washington State was its first win over a Pac-12 Conference team in 15 games and Washington State’s first loss to a Football Bowl Subdivision team in 20 games. … Temple’s 27-10 upset of Penn State snapped a 31-game losing streak in a series that dates to 1943. … The star of Texas Tech’s 59-45 win over Sam Houston State was quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who passed for 425 yards and four touchdowns, but receiver Jakeem Grant proved a triple threat with six catches for 71 yards, a touchdown rushing in his only carry, and 136 yards in three kickoff returns, including a 94-yard touchdown.

mike.hiserman@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeHiserman


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