Matt Stevens’ Touchdown Pass Wins for West in Japan Bowl

Associated Press

Matt Stevens of UCLA threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Baker of Fresno State with two minutes left to play Sunday as the West All-Stars rallied to beat the East, 24-17, in the annual Japan Bowl.

Five minutes earlier, the West had failed to tie the score when Kevin Willhite of Oregon scored on a two-yard run but Don Shafer of USC missed the extra point wide to the right, leaving the East ahead, 17-16.

The East then marched to the West 21-yard line, but K.C. Clark of San Jose State made his third interception of the game in the end zone, this time off a pass by Alabama’s Mike Shula. Oklahoma State All-American Mark Moore covered the last few yards on a return to the East 48 on a lateral from Clark.

Three plays later, Stevens hit Baker in full stride in the end zone with a perfect pass. Stevens then passed to Robert Smith of Iowa for a two-point conversion.

It was the West’s ninth victory in 12 Japan Bowls.

The East had snapped a 10-10 tie earlier in the fourth quarter on a 19-yard touchdown run by Troy Stradford of Boston College.