Marlon Lucky made the most of his rare moments in the spotlight in the East-West Shrine Game.
The Nebraska running back rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown on
seven carries and the East defense stopped the West three times
inside the 10-yard line to secure a 24-19 win Saturday in the
annual showcase for college all-stars hoping to make an impression
on NFL scouts.
Lucky was only the Cornhuskers' second-leading rusher this
season, splitting carries with Roy Helu Jr. and Quentin Castille.
By season's end, Lucky was third on the depth chart and needed a
good performance on Saturday to help his chances of playing in the
"It was a big one for me," said Lucky, voted the game's
Offensive MVP. "I didn't have a strong year and to just come out
and play my game and show what I can do, I seized the opportunity.
Now it's back to training."
Javarris Williams and Tyrell Sutton had touchdown runs for the
East. Tom Brandstater and Stephen McGee threw touchdown passes for the West.
Brandstater threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Mike Thomas with
8:11 left in the third quarter to cut the East lead to 17-13. Early
in the drive, Brandstater converted a third down with a 28-yard
pass to tight end Bear Pascoe, his Fresno State teammate.
The East was aided by a pass interference penalty on its next
series and backup quarterback Brian Hoyer threw a 20-yard pass to
Penn State's Deon Butler to set up first-and-goal. Sutton, who
played at Northwestern, finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown
McGee, who missed most of his last season at Texas A&M with a
sprained shoulder, threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jarett Dillard
with 14:07 left in the game. Dillard finished his career at nearby
Rice with an NCAA record 60 touchdown receptions. He dropped a pass from McGee on the 2-point conversion try.
Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly replaced McGee for
the West's final drive and moved his team inside the 10. Under a
heavy pass rush on fourth down, Reilly's last-ditch pass to Marko
Mitchell sailed out of bounds with 1:55 left.
"It was a great stand for us," said East linebacker Mike
Tauliili, the Defensive MVP after recording a game-high 13 tackles.
"It was a great atmosphere playing with the best of the best."
The East won for the first time since 2005 and set the tone with
an early goal-line stand.
Gartrell Johnson, Colorado State's leading rusher the past three
seasons, broke a 39-yard run on the West's first possession and a
12-yard pass from Brandstater to Thomas set up first-and-goal.
But West fullback Jorvorskie Lane, who set a Texas A&M record
with 49 career rushing touchdowns, was stopped three times inside
the 5-yard line and the East took over at its own 1.
Hoyer replaced East starter Chase Daniel late in the first
quarter. He eluded West defensive end Michael Bennett and threw a
27-yard pass to Butler before Lucky scored on a 7-yard run.
Lucky was third on the East's depth chart coming into this game,
behind Sutton and Williams.
"I've been on the back burner for a while," Lucky said. "I
needed it bad. My season wasn't very good, so I had to come out and
David Buehler kicked a 49-yard field goal for the West to make
it 7-3 with 7:52 remaining in the half.
Louisville's Hunter Cantwell replaced Hoyer on the East's next
series and completed a 22-yard pass to Butler. Lucky ran 47 yards
on the next play to set up Williams' 3-yard touchdown run.
East cornerback Morgan Trent, from Michigan, then intercepted a
pass by Reilly and returned it to the West 18. Lucky had another
long run, but the East settled for Graham Gano's 24-yard field goal
to stretch the lead to 17-3.
Brandstater returned for the West's final drive of the half and
threw a 30-yard pass to Boise State star Ian Johnson to the 3-yard
line. But the East defense held again and Buehler kicked a 21-yard
field goal on the last play of the first half.
The players on both sides spent the week mingling with scouts
between practices. Most of them now look ahead to the NFL combine
on Feb. 20.
"It's been a really important week for all of us," said
Butler, who caught three passes for 69 yards. "This is for a
professional job. Now, it's more a time where guys start thinking
individually and honing their skills. When you're at school, you're
just thinking about your team and winning. Here, scouts really get
to study you individually, your habits and what you can do at the