St. Petersburg, FL — In the East-West Shrine Game game that finished with a flourish of offense, West quarterback Nic Shimonek (Texas Tech) hit Steven Dunbar (Houston) on a 34-yard pass with 1:32 left in the game for the winning touchdown. (The point after was good by Kansas State’s Matthew McCrane).
Congratulations to the 2018 East-West #shrinegame Most Outstanding Players!
Offensive MVP East #10 Daurice Fountain @northerniowa
Defensive MVP West #12 Natrell Jamerson @UWMadison #mvps #mvp @Trellionn12 @reece_jmm pic.twitter.com/cEqgb0HI7G
— Shrine Game (@Shrine_Game) January 20, 2018
It was the only offensive score for the West.
To start the game, both squads traded kicks after stalled drives – the East punting and the West missing a 41-yard field goal attempt.
On the East’s second possession, West defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (Delaware) sacked East quarterback J.T. Barret (Ohio State) causing a fumble that safety Natrell Jamerson (Wisconsin) scooped up and took 68 yards for the opening score. (McCrane’s kick was good.)
After the initial score, the game showcased the punters, with the West’s Shane Tripucka (Texas A&M) and the East’s Joseph Davidson (Bowling Green) making several appearances after stalled drives. Davidson finished the day with seven punts, and Tripucka with six – both averaging 48 yards per kick.
With just under two minutes left in the first half, East quarterback Riley Ferguson (Memphis) engineered a nine-play, 64-yard drive that started with a short pass that receiver Daurice Fountain (Northern Iowa) took 38 yards. The drive stalled on the West 16. Kicker Drew Brown (Nebraska) hit a 33-yard field goal with just seven seconds left before halftime.
With 2:02 left in the third quarter, the East struck again when Barrett hit Marcus Martin, a defensive end from Slippery Rock who had lined up at fullback, on a 4-yard pass. The score capped a 7-play, 30-yard drive that was set up by a 30-yard punt return by Fountain.
The offensive leaders for the game were Fountain with three catches for 61 yards, he also had 40 yards on a pair of punt returns; West running back Phillip Lindsay (Colorado) led all rushers with 51 yards on 12 carries; the leading rusher for the East squad was Ray Lawry (Old Dominion, 38 yards on seven carries) a late addition who joined the team on Thursday. Shimonek led all passers going 12-for-18 for 105 yards. By rule, the game only featured kickoffs to open each half with East running back D’Ernest Johnson (South Florida) returning the opening kickoff for 27 yards; West running back Justin Jackson (Northwestern) had a 28-yard kickoff return to open the second half.
Defensive standouts included East linebacker Chris Worley (Ohio State) leading the game with eight tackles; On the West, linebacker Tegray Scales (Indiana) led with seven tackles, defensive end Joe Ostman (Central Michigan) added six solo tackles and a sack; defensive ends Poona Ford (Texas), Justin Lawler (SMU) and Marcell Frazier (Missouri) all tallied sacks.
The game was played in front of a crowd of 21,700 inside Tropicana Field and was broadcast nationally on NFL Network.
About the East-West Shrine Game: Originating in 1925, the East-West Shrine Game is the longest-running college all-star football game in the country and features some of the highest-rated players in the projected NFL draft ranking. While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Learn more at shrinegame.com.
About Shriners Hospitals for Children: Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The 22 facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. To learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children, please visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
SOURCE: East-West Shrine Game Release