BYU's Hall, Pitta and Jorgensen each made strong contributions during the East-West Shrine Game.
ORLANDO -- The lowest scoring East-West Shrine Game in nearly 20 years will be remembered as having one of the most exciting finishes in the 85-year history of the game.
Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka threw the game-winning touchdown to Penn State tight end Andrew Quarless with six seconds left, leading the East to a 13-10 win over the West. The 23 combined points was the lowest total since the West won 14-6 in 1992.
“It’s funny because a lot of people think all-star games don’t mean a lot,” said Kafka, who was named the game’s Offensive Most Valuable Player after leading the 11-play, 55-yard winning drive. “But the guys on the sidelines want to go out there and get the win. The offensive line gave us good protection and he (Quarless) went up and got it.”
The West took a 10-6 lead with 6:59 left in the game when BYU quarterback Max Hall found UCLA fullback Ryan Moya for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
“The competition was terrific,” said West Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer. “I thought it was as entertaining as any all-star game I’ve seen.”
Wisconsin linebacker O’Brien Schofield was named the game’s Defensive MVP with three tackles and an interception for the East.
Pitta led all West receivers with four receptions and 72 yards, including one catch for 30 yards. The only reception for more yards on the day was Hall's 41-yard completion to Eastern Washington tight end Nathan Overbay to help set up the West's only touchdown.
Having just returned to the game since playing in the first quarter, Hall completed three straight passes to Overbay, Pitta and Moya to cover the final 66 yards of a 5-play, 78-yard fourth-quarter scoring drive. For the game Hall led the West, going 7-of-12 for 119 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also contributed nine yards on the ground.
Cougar defensive end Jan Jorgensen earned plenty of action at right end for the West defense. He finished with two tackles, one being a solo takedown, while contributing to a defensive front unit that was singled out for praise by Schottenheimer at the half.
"I think our people up front have done a good job," Schottenheimer said at the break on the ESPN2 telecast. "They’ve shown the ability to rush the passer as well as defend the run."
Other comments made regarding BYU players during the game included the following:
ESPN game analyst Todd McShay
"Dennis Pitta is such a productive pass catcher. ... He just knows how to get open and I think he has the best hands of any tight end in this year’s class."
ESPN game analyst Brian Griese
"(Hall) threw the ball accurately... He was accurate all week (during practices) and that’s my No. 1 criteria for a quarterback is can he throw the ball accurately. I know what I look for (in a quarterback at the NFL level). Accuracy No. 1, then decision-making, leadership and work ethic."
"The tight end from BYU, Dennis Pitta, really had a good week of practice. He’s made some plays already in this game. He has the size and speed to play at the next level. (He's) a mismatch for safeties and also linebackers in man-to-man coverage."
The Asset Protect East-West Shrine Game, benefiting Shriners Hospitals for Children, was held at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando for the first time. The game featured more than 100 of the nation’s top football all-stars. The week of events included practices, attended by scouts from all 32 NFL teams, and a visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa.
“The kids are the winners,” said East Head Coach Romeo Crennel. “The game and the week are for them.”
Shriners Hospitals for Children is an international pediatric specialty health care system that provides expert care for orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate without financial obligation to patients or their families. The organization also conducts innovative research and provides medical education programs.
For more information, please visit www.shrinegame.com or www.shrinershospitals.org