West defeats East in tight Shrine contest
Penn State’s Apke makes impression
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.
For J.T. Barrett, playing in the 93rd East-West Shrine game was more about showing what type of leader he is than impressing statistically.
“I think, at the end of the day, I wanted to show I could command the offense,” the Big Ten’s career total yardage leader said Saturday.
“I think that’s part of who I am, and at quarterback that’s what you need,” Barrett added. “I was able to do it at Ohio State, and I think I did a pretty good job this week of commanding the offense and owning it.”
Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Houston’s Steven Dunbar with 1:23 remaining to give the West a 14-10 victory.
Barrett completed a 30-yard pass to move the East into West territory, however his bid to pull off a comeback ended with four consecutive incompletions.
“Nic threw a great pass and I couldn’t do anything but catch it,” said Dunbar, who had three receptions for 52 yards. “It was a play we tried a couple of times, and it was finally there. I’m just thankful to be in a position to do this.”
Wisconsin safety Natrell Jamerson returned Barrett’s early fumble 68 yards for the West’s other TD in the nation’s longest running college all-star game.
Barrett amassed 12,697 yards and accounted for 147 TDs in four seasons at Ohio State.
He wasn’t impressive statistically Saturday in trying to show he has what it takes to make a successful transition from a college spread offense to a pro-style system.
The former Buckeyes star did, however, shrug off his first-quarter turnover to throw a 4-yard scoring pass to Slippery Rock’s Marcus Martin that put the East ahead 10-7.
Defense ruled in a game meant to showcase potential NFL players, and LSU defensive tackle Frank Herron and Penn State linebacker Troy Apke delivered the final blows.
The 312-pound Herron returned a fumble for a late touchdown and Apke had an interception while earning MVP honors, helping the National team stifle the American team 23-0 in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl.
“I knew from the first time we put on pads, this defense was going to be special,” said National coach Mike Martz, now 4-0 in the game.
The game was scoreless at halftime before the National team pulled away. Stanford fullback Daniel Marx followed an American fumble with a 1-yard touchdown run, and Washington State kicker Erik Powell connected on a 22-yard field goal. Apke then returned an interception 56 yards to set up Howard’s Anthony Philyaw for a 12-yard TD run.
A couple minutes later, Herron scooped up a fumble by Texas A&M-Commerce quarterback Luis Perez and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown with 3:07 left.