Hampton WR Mathis has 108 yards of offense
LADY LAKE, Fla. -- LSU quarterback Marcus Randall hopes the NFL scouts took note that he's a quick study.
After being introduced to a new offense five days ago, Randall completed seven of 11 passes for 88 yards to earn MVP honors at the Gridiron Classic and lead the South to a 24-21 win over the North on Saturday.
"That just shows my knowledge for the game is real," said Randall, who passed for 2,765 yards and 18 touchdowns with the Tigers. "I know how to play this game."
During the week, more than 200 scouts were on hand to see and talk with the 97 players.
"They did a lot of personal interviews and so forth with the pro people," said Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, co-coach of the North squad. "They did all they could do to get someone to notice them so they might get a chance come draft day."
In a second half that saw four lead changes, UNLV running back Dominique Dorsey's 28-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter provided the difference.
For the North, Hampton receiver Jerome Mathis scored on a 26-yard reception and a 38-yard run off a reverse. Mathis had 108 yards of total offense -- 59 yards receiving on two catches, and 49 yards rushing on two carries.
"Every time I step on the big stage, I get even better," said Mathis, one of just 10 players who didn't come from Division I-A programs.
The South was outrushed 234-105 and converted only two of 11 third downs, but took advantage of a key fumble by Boston College's Grant Adams and three missed field goals by Maryland's Nick Novak.
Texas' Chance Mock threw a 23-yard touchdown to Mississippi wide receiver Eric Rice late in the third quarter to put the South up 17-14. The touchdown was set up by Texas A&M's Byron Jones recovering a muffed punt return by Adams.
With 11 seconds left in the third quarter, Mathis' run put the North back ahead by four. Coming from the left, Mathis took the ball from running back Maurice Hall, turned the corner, evaded several would-be tacklers about 10 yards downfield and outran the pursuit for the score.
The North took a 14-10 lead early in the third quarter on a TD pass from North Carolina's Darian Durant to Mathis. Ohio State's Lydell Ross set up the score with a 25-yard run on the previous play.
The North tied the game at 7 late in the first quarter on 6-yard run by Ross. West Virginia quarterback Rasheed Marshall carried most of the load on the drive, completing three straight passes for 67 yards and scrambling for an additional 8 yards.
Marshall was 10-of-16 for 113 yards, with 30 rushing yards. He also lined up as a wideout, although he didn't catch any passes.
"As soon as I got out there, I felt like I had been out there the whole game," Marshall said. "I lined up and I was going with the flow. It was a smooth transition."
For the second straight year, the Gridiron Classic was played at The Villages, a massive retirement community 60 miles northwest of Orlando. A temporary stadium was erected on a converted polo field, and fans arrived in hundreds of golf carts.
After the opening kickoff, the South needed just four plays to go 69 yards for a touchdown, a 7-yard run by Central Florida's Alex Haynes. Randall started the drive with a 43-yard pass to Efrem Hill of Sanford.
Florida's Matt Leach added a 43-yard field goal for the South.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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