By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
MOBILE, Ala. — I’ll be posting comments and highlights from the Senior Bowl throughout today’s game, which begins at 2 p.m. MT on NFL Network.
— None of the five Broncos are in the North starting lineup. Doug Martin is listed as the No. 3 punt returner but isn’t listed as a kickoff returner, which is strange considering he took a kickoff for 100 yards in his last game and was never a punt returner in college. It’s unclear how the lineups were formed but it’s not necessarily the best players. On the South side, stud defenders Courtney Upshaw and Melvin Ingram aren’t starting. For competitive reasons, it would make more sense to spread the best players around, but I’m not sure if that’s what the teams are doing.
— As I reported yesterday, Kellen Moore will be the second quarterback in the game for the North. Russell Wilson of Wisconsin is starting. Kirk Cousins of Michigan State will follow Moore. Each quarterback gets two to three series during the first rotation. They’ll get one to two series during the second rotation. The goal is to balance playing time as much as possible.
— It’s a warm, sunny, beautiful day at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The stadium seats about 40,000 people and is tucked into a residential neighborhood not far from downtown. The stadium also is home to South Alabama football and the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
— Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State is starting at quarterback for the South.
— The North is wearing all red. The South is wearing all white.
— The South leads the all-time series 30-26-3. This is the 63rd game. For three years, it wasn’t a North-South format.
— CBSSports.com put three of the five Broncos on its Senior Bowl all-practice team, which combined the North and South — Martin, safety George Iloka and linebacker/defensive end Shea McClellin.
— The Broncos are wearing their Boise State numbers except for Iloka (18).
— North captains are Wilson, punter Brad Nortman (Wisconsin) and linebacker Cam Johnson (Virginia).
— Iloka started on the kickoff team for the North. The North kicked to start the game.
— South wide receiver Joe Adams fumbled to give the North the ball in South territory for its first drive. Wilson overthrew an open receiver on a corner route on third down, leading to the field goal.
— Shea McClellin started the second drive for the North defense and made one tackle. Billy Winn entered midway through the drive during a mass substitution (McClellin left) and helped the defense hold the South to a field goal.
— Martin started the second drive for the North. On the second play, he made the tackle on an interception return.
— All three Broncos defenders were on the field for the ensuing possession. The South went incomplete pass, 6-yard loss, interception (by Utah State’s Bobby Wagner).
— On the last play of the first quarter — first-and-goal at the 5-yard line — Martin knocked Ingram to the ground in pass protection.
— Martin was on the field for nine straight plays and didn’t get a carry.
— The South drove for a field goal in the second quarter. Adams might have scored after breaking a tackle, but McClellin caught him along the sideline at the 6-yard line. That led to a field goal.
— Moore made his first appearance with 7:35 left in the first half, with a first down at the North 20-yard line. His first pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and nearly intercepted. His second pass, on third-and-5, was a 6-yard completion. On a first-down play, Moore miscommunicated with the running back and had to fall down. He indicated the play was his fault, but it didn’t matter because Quinton Coples hit Moore late for a penalty. On the next play, the North tried to run a double-move route and Coples sacked Moore. The North punted after a screen pass went nowhere.
— Moore’s second possession started at the South 18-yard line after a nice punt return by Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati. On two straight plays, Moore threw the skinny post to the goal line that he’s famous for. Both times, the receiver dropped it — once at the 1-yard line and once in the end zone. He tossed to the running back on third down and the North punted.
— The South punted again and Pead made another long return. McClellin delivered the block that got the return started. Cousins came into the game to run the no-huddle with 1:07 left instead of Moore.
— Martin carried three times on the opening drive, gaining 19 yards. He had a 12-yard run. He also delivered a key block downfield on Gerell Robinson’s 40-yard touchdown catch from Cousins.
— Winn had an active third quarter, getting into the backfield quite a bit.
— Moore entered late in the third quarter. On his first play, he rolled to his left but the play was well defended. He tried to throw to the running back, but it was incomplete. The next two plays were runs, including a 2-yarder by Martin. The North punted.
— Moore’s last drive was his best. The North took over at its own 27-yard line, leading by seven. Moore was 3-for-5 for 41 yards with a drop and a pass-interference penalty on the 13-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a field goal. The completed a 23-yard pass to the fullback on third-and-16 and a 4-yard pass on third-and-3. The final five plays were runs as the coaches chose the game-clinching field goal over trying for a touchdown.
— Moore was 6-of-12 for 50 yards. Martin had four carries for 19 yards and a 25-yard kickoff return. McClellin made four tackles, Iloka had one and Winn got shutout (his one tackle was erased by penalty).
— Senior Bowl awards went to Isaiah Pead (MVP), Bobby Wagner (outstanding North player) and Joe Adams (outstanding South player).
Here are some quotes from the Broncos:
Martin: "You just had to take advantage of every opportunity that you had, and I felt like I did that very well."
Iloka, on getting texts from Boise State teammates and coach Chris Petersen: "You think once you’re done, you're done, but we’re a family there and they still look out for us. And all the Boise State fans that came down, we really want to thank them."
McClellin: "Everyone talks about the South, how they’re so good. They are, they’re great players, but it feels good to get a W."
North 3 10 7 3 23
South 3 3 0 7 13
North — Carson Wiggs (Purdue) 27 field goal, 9:27. Key play: The drive was set up by a fumble by wide receiver Joe Adams (Arkansas). Boise State highlights: None. Drive: 8 plays, 33 yards, 4:18. North 3, South 0
South — Randy Bullock (Texas A&M) 39 field goal, 3:47. Key play: Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State) hit tight end Brad Smelley (Alabama) for a 24-yard gain to start the drive. Boise State highlights: Shea McClellin made a tackle and Billy Winn helped stop the drive in North territory. Drive: 10 plays, 64 yards, 5:34. North 3, South 3
North — Marvin Jones (California) 8 pass from Russell Wilson (Wisconsin), Wiggs kick, 14:53. Key play: Linebacker Bobby Wagner (Utah State) intercepted a Weeden pass and the drive was kept alive by a third-down penalty for pass interference. Boise State highlights: Doug Martin played the entire drive but didn’t get a carry. He knocked stud end Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) to the ground on a pass block, though. Drive: 5 plays, 46 yards, 2:29. North 10, South 3
South — Bullock 24 field goal, 7:35. Key play: Adams made a 27-yard catch from Ryan Lindley, breaking a tackle, but McClellin did a nice job hustling down the sideline to keep him out of the end zone. Drive: 15 plays, 73 yards, 7:13. North 10, South 6
North — Wiggs 32 field goal, 2:05. Key play: Isaiah Pead (Cincinnati) returned a punt 60 yards and would have scored if he hadn’t tripped in the open field. Boise State highlights: Moore made the same throw twice in a row, the skinny post at the goal line. He hit the receiver in the hands both times and Marvin McNutt (Iowa) and DeVier Posey (Ohio State) both dropped the ball. Drive: 4 plays, 4 yards, :26.
North — Gerell Robinson (Arizona State) 41 pass from Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Wiggs kick, 11:44. Key play: On third-and-9, Cousins fired a nice pass to T.J. Graham (North Carolina State) for 22 yards. Boise State highlights: Martin rushed three times for 17 yards, including an 11-yarder. He also blocked downfield to allow Robinson to score. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards, 3:16. North 20, South 6
South — Juron Criner (Arizona) 20 pass from Nick Foles (Arizona), 12:55. Key play: Adams slipped several tacklers to pick up a first down on third-and-5. Boise State highlights: All three defenders played parts of the drive. On the TD, George Iloka delivered a big hit after the catch but couldn’t knock the ball loose. Drive: 11 plays, 57 yards, 4:35. North 20, South 13
North — Wiggs 28 field goal, 4:11. Key play: Kellen Moore hit fullback Bradie Ewing (Wisconsin) for 23 yards on third-and-16. Boise State highlights: Moore was 3-for-5 for 41 yards with a drop and a pass interference penalty. He wasn’t allowed to throw in the red zone. Drive: 13 plays, 63 yards, 8:36. North 23, South 13