Photo courtesy of USA Today

It was a bright, sunny day in Pasadena during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. But, in the end, the National team, led by quarterback Nick Tiano, beat the American team 30-20. College stars sought to become legends of the Sunday gridiron. In front of scouts and NFL personnel, players fervently staked their claims for the NFL draft.

All 32 teams were represented, scouting some of the brightest senior stars. As the NFLPA Bowl grows, an increasing number of players are drafted. Last year, 19 players who participated in the bowl were selected to the NFL. Noted players who’ve been drafted include Shaquille Griffin, Luke Wilson, John Battle, and Tarik Cohen.

National Team Standouts

Chattanooga’s Nick Tiano threw for 133 yards and a touchdown and was selected NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Most Valuable Player. Tiano was 8-10 passing, including a bomb to Kirk Merritt for a touchdown. Jason Huntley led the National team with 54 yards rushing on seven carries and a touchdown.

On the defensive side of the ball, UCLA’s Krystopher Barnes had a monster game. Barnes flashed his NFL talent with seven tackles and a sack. He was especially strong in the run game filling gaps.

Oregon State’s Artavis Pierce; Georgia’s Brian Herrien; and New Mexico State’s Jason Huntley, rushed for touchdowns for the National team. The Nationals had an interception with one interception and a fumble called back.

American Team Sensations

Ohio Bobcats quarterback Nathan Rourke led the American team at QB going 8-15 with 126 yards. His interception led to a National Team touchdown. Michigan State football running back Darrell Stewart lead the team in receiving with 6 catches for 54 yards out the backfield. For the defense, UNLV’s Javin White had 9 tackles and a tackle for loss. White was strong in the passing game with a pass break up as well.

The American team had a total of 251 yards, but failed to find a rhythm. Their lack of production hurt them as they sought to join the NFL ranks.

Michigan State University’s Brian Lewerke played solid, competing for the only touchdown pass for the Americans. Overall, the National team shined and posted several players who’ll likely be drafted in April.

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