Sunday, January 12, 2003

Shrine Classic: East 20, West 17

By Janie McCauley
The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Torrie Cox rushed up to Ken Dorsey in the locker room to make sure Miami's star quarterback didn't get away before signing his shirt.

"National championship game this year and last year, you have to get Ken," said Cox, a defensive back for Pittsburgh who grew up in Miami. "Plus, he's from my hometown."

Dorsey, of the national runner-up Hurricanes, threw for 192 yards and led a scoring drive in the East's 20-17 victory in the East-West Shrine Classic on Saturday.

West Virginia's Avon Cobourne ran for two touchdowns, and Donald Lee of Mississippi State caught four passes for 122 yards and the go-ahead score for the East. Louisiana State's Jerel Myers added six catches for 148 yards.

The game features many of the nation's premier college players, divided into teams from the East and West.

"I was hoping to get 100 yards," said Cobourne, who finished with 72 on seven carries. "I did what I could. I just came down here to make myself a little more known."

Dorsey was the first of three quarterbacks for the East, and returned in the fourth quarter. He was 9-of-18 passing and directed the scoring drive on the East's first possession, capped by Cobourne's 41-yard run.

It was almost like a home game for Dorsey, who was a star at Miramonte High School in nearby Orinda. Dorsey's Hurricanes lost the Fiesta Bowl to Ohio State 31-24 in double overtime Jan. 3, and the quarterback was happy to have another chance to put the pads on so soon.

It wasn't just his teammates who wanted his autograph. Dorsey had about 100 fans in the stands at Pacific Bell Park. The closest he'd ever played to home during college was at Washington and in Los Angeles.

"I got to sign a few," Dorsey said. "The best part is to give back to the community. This is right in my backyard."

Lee's 5-yard touchdown catch with 14:56 remaining put the East up 13-10, and Cobourne ran 5 yards for a score with 49 seconds left. Lee was named offensive player of the game.

Arizona quarterback Jason Johnson completed 17 of 30 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns for the West, including a 14-yard TD strike to Keenan Howry of Oregon with 3 seconds left.

"The goal this week was to have fun and give it my best shot," Johnson said. "And don't worry about things I can't control - agents, the NFL, scouts."

Johnson hit Southern California's Sultan McCullough on a 76-yard screen pass for a touchdown 2:30 before halftime that put the West ahead 10-6. But that was one of few highlights for the West, which missed two first-half scoring chances in the red zone.

Notre Dame's Gerome Sapp intercepted Johnson at the goal line late in the first quarter. Then, UNLV quarterback Jason Thomas led the West to the 1 but the team had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Mike Barth of Arizona State with 8:45 left in the first half.

The East missed a scoring opportunity of its own in the third quarter when quarterback Curt Anes was intercepted in the end zone by California's Nnamdi Asomugha, but Lee's score made up for it.

Ohio State, which won its first national championship in 34 years, had three representatives: safety Michael Doss, punter Andy Groom, and safety Donnie Nickey.

Cal and Colorado each had four players, the most of all schools. Cal defensive lineman Tully Banta-Cain was named defensive player of the game after he made four tackles, forced two fumbles and had 11/2 sacks.

The game was a homecoming for East coach Tyrone Willingham, who just finished his first season coaching Notre Dame following seven seasons as head coach at Stanford.

"It was a great experience returning to the Bay area and getting a chance to coach in front of this region's great fans," he said.

Fresno State's Pat Hill coached the West.

The Shrine game, begun in 1925, has raised more than $14 million for the Shriners Hospital.

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