Ron Pitts of UCLA intercepted a desperation pass by Ohio State's quarterback Mike Tomczak and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown with 1:41 left today as the West defeated the East, 28-14, in the 10th annual Japan Bowl all-star football game.
Trailing, 21-14, Tomczak drove his team down the field in the final minutes to the West three-yard line. But on fourth down, Tomczak was forced from the pocket and, as he was being tackled short of the goal line, tried to flip a pass toward the sideline. Pitts picked off the wobbly throw and ran untouched into the end zone.
Doug Flutie, the Heisman Trophy winner from Boston College, alternated with Tomczak at quarterback for the East. Flutie completed 10 of 19 passes for 146 yards before leading the East on a final drive after Pitts' touchdown.
The victory was the sixth straight for the West, which has won eight of the 10 games. A crowd of about 35,000 watched the game at Yokohama Stadium.
Short touchdown runs by Mike Waters of San Diego State and Jeff Smith of Nebraska gave the West a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.
Johnny Jones of Tennessee ran for a four-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to make it 14-6, before California quarterback Gale Gilbert tossed a three-yard scoring pass to Al Toon of Wisconsin late in the period.
Ethan Horton of North Carolina scored on a 14-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and Tomczak ran for a two-point conversion with 13:38 left in the game to pull the East within 21-14.