All-star games tend to be high on talent and low on teamwork, an equation that paid off for Alabama defensive back George Teague in the Japan Bowl on Sunday.
Teague helped lock up the game for the East when he intercepted a pass by Pacific’s Troy Kopp with about three minutes to play and ran it back 47 yards for a touchdown.
The East, which intercepted three other passes and recovered a fumble by Lorenzo Neal of Fresno State early in the third quarter, won by 27-13.
“I wasn’t getting much action, so I was really glad to get a big play like that,” said Teague, who is headed back home for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
“It’s been a great year for me, going to a national championship, scoring a touchdown and then coming here and scoring another.
“I wasn’t rated that well as a defensive back, and things like this can help you get the public eye and a little more status as a football player.”
Teague scored a touchdown in Alabama’s Sugar Bowl victory over Miami for the national championship with an interception he returned 31 yards.
Neal fumbled on the second play of the second half, and Penn State’s Reggie Givens picked it up at the West 28. Two plays later, Florida quarterback Shane Matthews found Penn State’s O.J. McDuffie on a 25-yard scoring pass for a 17-10 East lead.
Craig Hentrich of Notre Dame kicked field goals of 32 and 33 yards, and Mississippi State’s Kenny Roberts scored on a two-yard run as the East won for the seventh time in 18 Japan Bowl outings.
Washington’s Mark Brunell scored the only West touchdown, on an eight-yard run with 2:30 to play in the first half. Jason Elam of Hawaii kicked field goals of 24 and 26 yards, the first tying the score three seconds before halftime and the other drawing the West within a touchdown with 5:56 to play.
“Sometimes you don’t quite play as well as you want to,” said West coach Spike Dykes of Texas Tech. “But when you throw a lot of passes, that can happen.”
East Coach Steve Spurrier of Florida said that although his team had no turnovers or major mistakes, he had hoped for a better game.
“Normally, we get players and really coach them for about two years before they start playing in real games,” he said. “These games, we just get one week.”