White team beats Red, wins Magnolia Gridiron Classic
JACKSON, Miss. -- Steven Jyles doesn't want the NFL scouts to think he's one-dimensional.
The Louisiana-Monroe senior passed for 80 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 31 more yards to lead the White to a 19-7 victory over the Red in the Magnolia Gridiron All-Star Classic on Saturday.
"I can throw the ball. I really didn't get to show my arm off," Jyles said. "But my ability to run and throw the ball, I hope they find interest in that."
The White team, which consisted of Division I-A seniors whose teams either didn't qualify for or already played in bowl games, needed a late defensive stop to defeat their Red counterparts from Division I-AA, II and III and other schools. Each team also had players from NAIA schools on its roster.
The Red recovered a fumble by the White's Kasey Young of Western New Mexico at the White 49 with 49 seconds remaining and moved it to the 28.
But John Eubanks of Southern Mississippi intercepted Travis Lulay's final pass at about the 10 and returned it 80 yards before tripping at the Red 10 as time expired.
"Somebody hit me in my feet, swiped my feet out from under me and I lost my balance," Eubanks said.
Jyles finished 6-of-10 passing with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Boone Stutz of Texas A&M and one interception.
He passed for 2,235 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 436 yards and nine TDs during a difficult regular season in which Louisiana-Monroe lost to I-AA Northwestern State -- which had three players and coach Scott Stoker on the Red team.
"A lot of the guys I played against on [the Red], they beat us in college so I really wanted to beat those guys one last time before it was all said and done," Jyles said.
Montana State's Lulay was 8-of-14 passing for 90 yards for the Red, while Blayne Baggett of Indiana State was 9-of-21 for 79 yards with a 1-yard touchdown run.
"Any opportunity for a guy from a smaller school ... to play and impress scouts in front of bigger competition, it's a plus for us," Lulay said.
The White took a 10-point lead early in the second half. Jyles' TD pass to Stutz capped an efficient five-play, 74-yard drive to open the half and make it 17-7.
Bill Sampy of Louisiana-Lafayette caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Matt Bohnet of Eastern Michigan, and Justin Brantley kicked a 22-yard field goal for the White.
With time winding down in the first half, the Red team made the play of the day. Baggett threw a 12-yard pass to Texas Southern's Hank Edwards, who then lateraled to Alabama State's Keldrick Williams. He ran 39 yards to the White 1 with three seconds remaining, and Baggett sneaked in on the next play as time expired in the half to cut it to 10-7.
Williams led all rushers with 54 yards on eight carries.
"For four days of practice, I think we came out and did all right," Lulay said.
Organizers have hoped the Magnolia Classic will fill the void left by the defunct Blue-Gray game, a one-time Christmas tradition since 1978 which was canceled for the third time in four years.
Officials said several players from both teams left as early in the third quarter to catch flights home for the holidays.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press