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West's second quarter flurry grounds East 29–9 in 91st East-West Shrine Game

East players in action on the fieldThe West all-star squad snowed-over the East team in front of 23,106 game fans at Tropicana Field.

The East Squad started strong when a pair of interceptions by Florida Gator teammates pushed Coach Charlie Weis’s squad to an early 9-point lead. Linebacker Anthony Harrell’s grab ended the West all-stars’ first drive setting up a quick 32-yard field goal by Liberty kicker John Lunsford. Cornerback Brian Poole ended the West’s third drive with 98-yard pick 6 (NFL-length PAT missed) as the East’s defense dominated the first quarter.

The West then turned the tables when Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr. entered the game. Adams tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Colorado State tight end Kivon Cartwright on the first play of the second quarter (Texas A&M kicker Taylor Bertolet converted the PAT to make it 9-7.)

The West defense forced the East to punt after just five plays on the ensuing drive, but an illegal block penalty on the return left the West pinned inside its own 10. Adams responded on the first play hitting a wide open receiver Danny Anthrop (Purdue) for a 93-yard touchdown (PAT missed) putting the West ahead for the first time with 12:41 left before the half.

Game actionThe West defense forced another three-and-out on the ensuing drive. Adams then returned to the field to lead an 80-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown toss to Illinois receiver Geronimo Alison (Bertolet’s kick was good with 4:50 left in the half.)

Both teams traded punts after fruitless four-play drives (including the game’s first sack when Stonybrook DE Victor Ochi caught Adams for a 5-yard loss.) The East threatened with a pass-interference assisted drive that was dashed when safety Mike Caputo intercepted fellow Wisconsin player Joel Stave’s pass and returned it 67 yards to the East’s 11 yard line with 25 seconds to go in the half. Two plays later Bartolet converted a 24-yard field goal to put the West ahead 23-9 at halftime.

The only scoring in the second half was when Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld connected on a 6-yard TD pass to Alison with 20 seconds left in the third quarter (PAT missed) to put the West ahead 29-9.

The second half was filled with strong defensive plays, including an acrobatic interception by Illinois safety Clayton Fejedelem ending the East’s first drive of the half. Caputo added his second interception of the game on the first drive of the fourth quarter.