Dak Prescott didn’t want to let his Senior Bowl turn end quietly.
The Mississippi State quarterback’s first drive of the second quarter included a false start penalty and led only to a punt, but he bounced back on his second chance and helped lead the South to a 27-16 victory over the North on Saturday.
“I came back the second series and realized that if I wanted to make something happen in this game, this was my only opportunity,” Prescott said. “And it was a two-minute drive. I got the guys going. They rallied behind me, blocked well, made some good catches and we were able to get in the end zone.”
Boise State safety Darian Thompson was the North Most Valuable Player after posting five tackles and two pass breakups.
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Prescott ran a couple of times, completed two passes for first downs to Baylor’s Jay Lee and two more to Southeast Missouri’s Paul McRoberts, including a 5-yard touchdown. Then Prescott’s day was over, and it was enough to secure him Most Outstanding Player honors.
He wasn’t the only SEC West quarterback to lead South scoring drives. Arkansas’s Brandon Allen and Alabama’s Jake Coker also produced points, though without throwing for scores.
Allen passed for a game-high 106 yards, including a couple of on-target deep balls. Prescott threw for 61 yards and a touchdown with both teams rotating their four quarterbacks after each quarter.
Both were 7 of 10 passing.
Baylor’s 6-foot-7 defensive end Shawn Oakman loomed large on the North defense. He racked up two first-half sacks and a forced fumble and was named the South’s Most Valuable Player.
“I felt like they (NFL teams) saw me play,” Oakman said. “They were able to see me play really full-tilt, and I think I gave them what they wanted to see.”
The game’s top quarterback prospect, North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, had a mostly quiet first quarter. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 50 yards and the North didn’t score, but he drew positive reviews during the week.
“I think I just really answered that this stage and this speed isn’t too big for me,” said Wentz, who led the Bison to a fifth consecutive FCS title. “Whatever level you’re from — even if you come from the SEC or Division III — you’ve got to adjust to the speed, and I think this was just a good feel for that.”
Ohio State quarterback-turned-receiver Braxton Miller also didn’t produce big plays on offense.
Miller, whose play got a lot of attention during the week in practice, had two catches for 8 yards and a 5-yard run while dropping a short pass. He did have a 31-yard kick return, one of the few roles he didn’t play at Ohio State.
Each quarter had a two-minute warning to give more quarterbacks a chance to run the offense in that situation.
The game’s rule switching possession after each quarter helped keep the North benefiting more from a huge special teams play.
Wisconsin’s Joe Schobert blocked a field goal attempt and West Virginia’s K.J. Dillon returned it 73 yards in the final seconds of the third quarter.
USC’s Cody Kessler couldn’t get the North into the end zone before the quarter ended. Kessler couldn’t hit an open Miller in the end zone.
That came after Allen’s best drive.
He threw a pretty deep ball to Kansas State tight end Glenn Gronkowski – younger brother of New England Patriots star Rob – late in the third quarter. Then he fired another pass to McRoberts, the first player from FCS Southeast Missouri to make the game.
McRoberts gained 46 receiving yards and returned a punt 27 yards.
Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett led North players with three catches for 58 yards.
For the South, North Carolina State’s Jacoby Brissett, a Florida transfer, got into the act with a touchdown drive in the fourth.
He and former Gators teammate Jeff Driskel – who played his final season at Louisiana Tech – matched up in the final quarter. Driskel’s wobbly throw on the final play went into a crowd for a 29-yard touchdown to Aaron Burbridge of Michigan State.
Alabama’s Coker, a Mobile native who led the Crimson Tide’s national champion run in his lone season as starter, played the first quarter and helped set up a 25-yard touchdown scamper by TCU’s Aaron Green.