Pasadena, Calif. — LSU defensive tackle Frank Herron returned a fumble for a late touchdown and Penn State linebacker Troy Apke earned MVP honors, helping the National team stifle the American team 23-0 on Saturday in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl.
Herron scooped up a fumble by Texas A&M-Commerce quarterback Luis Perez and returned it all the way with 3:07 left. That came shortly after Apke intercepted Michigan’s John O’Korn and took it 56 yards to the American 31.
The National team did all of its scoring in the second half, also getting touchdowns from Stanford fullback Daniel Marx and Howard running back Anthony Philyaw.
The National team has won all seven Collegiate Bowls, held for the first time this year at the Rose Bowl after six years at the StubHub Center. The game is meant to highlight players on the bubble of the NFL draft for scouts and teams.
The touchdown from Marx came after National quarterback and TCU senior Kenny Hill stumbled and fumbled on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Marx went up the middle, off a defender and into the end zone from 1-yard.
After Washington State kicker Erik Powell made a 22-yard field goal, Philyaw scored with a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The National defense held the American team to 215 total yards.
American kicker Jordan Dascalo and his holder struggled on the windy afternoon. Dascalo, from Eastern Washington, missed on field goals of 43, 27 and 24 yards.
The first half included eight punts, three turnovers and three missed field goals.
O’Korn completed 6 of 13 passes for 94 yards. Central Michigan defensive back Amari Coleman returned a kickoff 11 yards, and Western Michigan tight end Donnie Ernsberger caught a pass for a yard.
Last year, 12 players from the Collegiate Bowl ended up being drafted. The American team this year was led by former Rams coach Mike Martz, and the National team by former All-Pro cornerback Darrell Green. Martz is 4-0 in the Collegiate Bowl.
East-West Shrine Game
West 14, East 10: Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Houston’s Steven Dunbar with 1:23 remaining. Wisconsin safety Natrell Jamerson returned J.T. Barrett’s fumble 68 yards for the West’s other TD in the nation’s longest running college all-star game.
Barrett, the Big Ten’s career total yardage leader from Ohio State, wasn’t impressive statisically in a bid to show he can make the transition from a college spread offense to a pro-style system.
The former Buckeyes star did, however, shrug off his early turnover to throw a 4-yard scoring pass to Slippery Rock’s Marcus Martin that put the East ahead 10-7 late in the third quarter.
Northern Iowa’s Daurice Fountain had three catches for 61 yards and set up Barrett’s TD throw to Martin, the NCAA Division II sack leader and 2017 lineman of the year, with a 30-yard punt return and a 16-yard reception.
Shimonek finished 12 of 18 for 105 yards and zero interceptions, while splitting snaps with Colorado State’s Nick Stevens and Sam Houston State’s Jeremiah Briscoe.
Barrett said during the week that his main objective was to get better rather prove anything to NFL scouts assembled for four days of practices and the game.
South Florida’s Quentin Flowers was another dual-threat quarterback expected to showcase his passing skills after excelling in a spread offense at USF. He practiced all week, but withdrew from the game due to a death in his family.
Barrett completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 3,053 yards and 35 touchdowns, while also rushing for 798 yards and 12 scores in leading Ohio State to the Big Ten championship as a fifth-year senior.
He was just five of 12 for 69 yards passing Saturday and watched Jamerson return his first-quarter fumble up the sideline in front of the East bench for the game’s first TD.
With Flowers missing the game, Barrett shared playing time with Memphis’ Riley Ferguson, who set up a first-half field goal with a 38-yard completion to Fountain.
Fountain was chosen the game’s most outstanding offensive player. Jamerson received the award for most outstanding defensive player.