HOUSTON -- Nevada's Jeff Rowe threw two touchdown passes,
one of them covering 79 yards to Fresno State's Paul Williams, to
help the West beat the East 21-3 on Saturday night in the 82nd
East-West Shrine Game.
With the West ahead 14-3 late in the first half, Rowe found
Williams running down the right sideline as defensive back Kenny
Scott of Georgia Tech fell about midfield. Williams hauled in the
pass at about the East 40 and sprinted into the end zone. It was
the second-longest TD pass in Shrine history, eclipsed only by an
80-yarder 80 years ago.
On the previous West possession, Rowe, who had 16 TD passes and
just seven interceptions in the regular season, connected with
Texas Tech's Joel Filani on a 6-yard scoring pass, capping a
Hall of Fame coach Don Shula coached the East squad. Dan Reeves,
who played or coached in an NFL-record nine Super Bowls, directed
BYU's John Beck, the Mountain West offensive player of the year,
connected with Boise State's Brad Lau in the left flat and Lau
strolled into the end zone to give the West a 7-0 lead on the
opening drive of the game.
There was little offense for either team until the West erupted
with Rowe's two scoring passes, which earned him honors as
offensive player of the game, and little offense after that.
Virginia Tech kicker Brandon Pace, who in the first period
missed a 43-yard field goal attempt, made one from 40 yards with
10:44 to go in the first half to account for the East's lone score.
The East's Daniel Bazuin, a defensive lineman from Central
Michigan and the school's career sacks leader, had 2½ sacks and two
tackles for yardage losses to take defensive player of the game
Reeves elected to have each of his three quarterbacks play
entire quarters, starting with Beck, then Rowe, who completed just
four of nine passes for 115 yards. Zac Taylor of Nebraska played
the entire second half when the West had only three possessions and
both teams were scoreless. He was sacked three times.
The game moved last year to San Antonio from San Francisco after
years of declining interest in the Bay Area of California, then to
Houston's Reliant Stadium this year. Paid attendance was announced
as 23,554, an improvement of about 5,000 from a year ago at the
Alamodome, although the actual crowd Saturday night appeared