After losing to Washington and Washington State each of the last two years by a combined seven points, Ashton Clark knew his team was close.
“We came up short those times, and we said it all week: ‘We are due to beat one of these Pac-12 teams,’” the Eastern Washington senior wide receiver said on Ferrall on the Bench. “‘We can do it, and we’re good enough to do it.’ We showed up and that’s what we did.”
Yes, the Eagles – a member of the Big Sky Conference – scored a touchdown with 18 seconds remaining to beat No. 25 Oregon State 49-46 in Corvallis on Saturday. Eastern Washington became just the third FCS team to beat a ranked FBS team since 2000.
“We definitely knew we could beat them,” Clark said.
Clark certainly did his part, recording team-highs in catches (nine) and yards (155), and his 24-yard touchdown reception gave the Eagles a 13-7 lead in the second quarter.
“I just went and made a play on it,” said Clark, who beat man coverage.
That, however, didn’t cap the scoring. In fact, the game featured nine lead changes, including six in the final 19 minutes and 22 seconds.
“It was so crazy,” Clark said. “Both defenses were playing well, but I think both offenses were playing better. It was kind of whoever had the ball last (was gong to win it).”
Eastern Washington got the ball, down 46-43, with about 90 seconds to play.
“There was no doubt in our mind we were going to go down the field and score,” Clark said.
The Eagles did just that, as sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams scored on a 2-yard run to give his team a 49-46 lead. He finished the game 23-of-30 for 411 yards and four touchdowns and carried 16 times for 107 yards and two scores. He also didn’t turn the ball over.
“He’s still young, and he’s got so much room to improve, and it’s crazy how he’s playing right now and how much (better) he can actually get, how high the ceiling is for him,” Clark said. “It’s nice to have a dual-threat quarterback back there.”
Oregon State had a chance to tie the game, but a long field goal attempt was no good.
“I didn’t even realize it was a miss until the refs signaled it,” Clark said. “I was prepared to go to overtime.”
Clark – a native of Vancouver, Wash. – is happy he stayed in state for college with so many friends and family so close to him. He said he wanted to help put Eastern Washington on the map, and after Saturday, he did just that.
“It’s a great feeling; it’s a great feeling to go in there and knock a team off,” he said. “Anybody can get beat on any day, and that’s kind of how we approach everything. We’ve just got to prepare for every team the exact same way and prepare every week as if you just lost last week.”