Monday, January 25, 2010
BT players lead East to Shrine Game win
By Adam Rittenberg
It seemed only fitting that Saturday's East-West Shrine Game was decided on a touchdown connection between two Big Ten players.
The Big Ten contingent represented extremely well in Orlando, particularly in crunch time.
Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka capped an impressive two-minute drill by finding Penn State tight end Andrew Quarless for a 2-yard touchdown with six seconds left in the game. The score lifted the East team to a 13-10 victory.
Kafka and Quarless were two of several Big Ten NFL hopefuls who played big roles in the win. Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield, a defensive end-turned linebacker, had an interception in the first half and Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark led two scoring drives for the East team.
Quarless, Clark and Penn State punter Jeremy Boone won at Orlando's Citrus Bowl Stadium for the second time in three weeks. Thankfully for all of the players in the Shrine Game, the field conditions were a lot better this time around.
Kafka, who earned Offensive MVP honors, completed 18 of 27 pass attempts for 150 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Clark was extremely efficient as a passer, completing 7 of 10 attempts for 75 yards.
Michigan State's Blair White recorded game highs in both receptions (7) and receiving yards (93), while Quarless had three receptions for 20-yards, including an exceptional one-handed grab on the final drive. Boone averaged 46 yards on five punts, placing one inside the 20-yard line.
ESPN's Scouts Inc. singled out Kafka and Indiana offensive lineman Rodger Saffold for their strong performances in the game.
Needless to say, several players improved their draft stock on Saturday. It'll be interesting to see if the Big Ten can keep its postseason momentum going this week at the Senior Bowl.