By City News Service
Brendon Kay of Cincinnati guided the National team on back-to-back touchdown drives to begin the third quarter in a 31-17 victory over the American team in the third annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl today at StubHub Center.
Kay threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Miami tight end Asante Cleveland on the National's first possession of the third quarter to break a 14-14 tie. On its next possession, Anthony Wilkerson of Stanford ran 27 yards for a score to cap a three-play, 55-yard drive that began with Kay's 20-yard pass to James Sims of Kansas.
Cairo Santos of Tulane kicked a 39-yard field goal for the National team on its next possession.
Wilkerson played high school ball at Tustin. He wasn't the only local player in the game. Playing for the American squad, El Toro alumnus Vincenzo D'Amato of California kicked a 35-yard field goal with 9 minutes 28 seconds remaining for the only points of the fourth quarter.
Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder of Dana Hills and Arizona State lineman Evan Finkenberg of Tesoro also played for the American team.
The game is conducted by the National Football League Players Association to give players who recently completed their college careers an opportunity to showcase their talents to potential employers and to introduce the game's more than 100 players to the association and business of the NFL.
J.C. Copeland of LSU was selected as the MVP for running for two one-
yard touchdowns in the second quarter that gave the National team a 14-7 lead.
The American team, coached by Dennis Green, the former Minnesota Vikings
and Arizona Cardinals coach, tied the score 1:14 before halftime on a 15-yard
pass from Schroeder to Diontae Spencer of McNeese State.
Franklin Quiteh of Bloomsburg, a Division II school in Pennsylvania, scored the only touchdown of the first quarter on a 20-yard run, capping the American team's six-play, 80-yard drive.
For the third consecutive year, the National team was coached by Dick Vermeil, who guided the St. Louis Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV and coached the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. The National team also won the first two games.
The game's practices that began Tuesday drew representatives from all 32
NFL teams, including at least seven general managers, 13 directors of player
personnel and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, according to Jilane Reynolds,
a communications associate with the union representing the league's players.
Six Canadian Football League teams also sent representatives, Reynolds said.
In each of its first two years, 23 players who played in the game have been on the opening game rosters, Reynolds said.
In the week leading up to the game, the players attend presentations from current and former players, union officials and others on topics including life skills, money management, the business of football, dealing with the news media, managing social media and personal security, Reynolds said.