Cheney, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Vernon Adams threw three of his five touchdown passes in the second half as No. 3 seed Eastern Washington pulled away from South Dakota State for a 41-17 victory in the second round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.
EWU (11-2) advanced to host Jacksonville State (11-3) in the national quarterfinals next weekend.
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime before the Eagles took command behind Adams, the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year and a finalist for the Walter Payton Award as the FCS player of the year.
The redshirt sophomore threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Zach Wimberly with 8:40 left in the third quarter to give EWU a 21-14 lead. Following a botched South Dakota State punt, Adams connected on a 15-yard TD pass to Cooper Kupp at the 4:46 mark to make it 27-14.
Justin Syrovatka cut into South Dakota State's deficit with a 27-yard field goal late in the third quarter, but Adams' 69-yard touchdown pass to Cory Mitchell on the second play of the fourth quarter pushed EWU's lead to 34-17.
Adams finished 12-for-22 for 217 yards. He has thrown for a Big Sky Conference- record 51 touchdowns this season.
Kupp had four receptions and two touchdowns for 90 yards. He surpassed Randy Moss' national freshman record with 20 touchdown receptions and tied the receptions mark with 81.
Quincy Forte rushed for 202 yards and a 20-yard touchdown on 21 carries.
South Dakota State junior Zach Zenner, the FCS leader in rushing yards, finished with 71 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and went over 2,000 yards for the second straight season. He finished the season with 2,015 yards.
Quarterback Austin Sumner was 26-for-40 for 315 yards and one touchdown.
Eastern Washington, the 2010 FCS national champion, is 6-0 at home this season and has won nine straight games. South Dakota State's five-game winning streak ended in the first all-time meeting between the two programs. The Jackrabbits fell to 9-5.