Oklahoma State’s Cary Blanchard found some solid footing when it counted most.
He kicked a 25-yard field goal with 8:02 to play, helping to give the Blue team a 17-14 victory Tuesday in the Blue-Gray college all-star game.
The Gray failed to score three times inside the 10-yard line, the last opportunity ending when Georgia’s John Kasay missed a 40-yard field goal with 1:38 to play.
Blanchard, who averaged only 28.8 yards on five punts and badly missed a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter, got another opportunity when the Blue drove from its 25 to the Gray eight. The key play was a 43-yard reverse by Missouri’s Linzy Collins. On fourth and one, Blanchard came on to kick the winning field goal.
“It felt really good to get another chance,” he said. “I didn’t have too great a day punting.”
Blanchard said part of the problem was the natural grass at Cramton Bowl, which was slippery. He is used to playing on artificial surfaces in the Big Eight Conference.
“In the Big Eight, everything is turf,” he said. “It took me a little while to get used to the grass.”
Each team committed two turnovers in the final eight minutes, but the Gray’s were more costly. On first down from the Blue 11, a pass by Scott Zolak of Maryland was intercepted by Oklahoma lineman Scott Evans with 6:25 left.
“It was a middle screen,” said Zolak, who completed 15 of 25 passes for 254 yards with two interceptions and a fumble. "(Evans) looked like he was going to rush, then he backed off. It was a great play on his part.”
The Gray had a final chance after Oklahoma State’s Gerald Hudson fumbled at the Blue 48. Zolak appeared to throw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Phil Logan of Kentucky with less than two minutes remaining. But another receiver, Louisiana Tech’s Bobby Slaughter, was called for pass interference. The drive stalled and Kasay’s attempt at a tie was 10 yards short.
The Gray fell behind, 14-0, but pulled even in the third period. Zolak scored on a one-yard dive after throwing a 20-yard pass to Florida’s Kirk Kirkpatrick.
The Blue scored on its first two possessions.
Sheldon Canley of San Jose State went seven yards for a touchdown with 11:09 remaining in the first period, capping a four-play drive. Zolak fumbled at his 44 after being hit by Frank Blevins of Oklahoma, and the Sooners’ Tom Backes recovered at the 36.
The Blue had to start at its 26 on its next possession. Ralph Martini of San Jose State completed five passes for 43 yards and Bob Christian of Northwestern went the final 15 yards with 2:50 to play in the first quarter.
The Gray finally scored in the second quarter. A short punt gave it the ball at the Blue 39, and Logan broke free from San Francisco State’s Doug Parrish to make a diving catch for a touchdown on a Zolak pass.
The Gray wasted another scoring opportunity on the final play of the first quarter. Houston’s Chuck Weatherspoon was stopped for a one-yard loss by Blevins on fourth and goal from the one.