Second Half Surge Lifts National Team Past American, 26-14, in 2nd Annual Medal of Honor Bowl
CHARLESTON, SC - Ryan Williams (Miami, Fla.) threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd (South Carolina) to spark a 20-0 surge in the second half, lifting the National team to a 26-14 victory over the American squad in the 2nd Annual Medal of Honor Bowl held Saturday at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Williams earned National squad MVP honors after completing 7 of 15 passes for 115 yards and the team's only offensive touchdown of the game. The hookup with Byrd gave the Nationals the lead for good at 16-14 with 5:02 remaining in the third quarter.
Will Conant (Air Force) kicked four field goals, and Brison Williams (South Carolina) capped the second-half National uprising with a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown with 8:35 left in the game.
Quinn Backus (Coastal Carolina) won American team MVP honors with six tackles and an 87-yard pick six that gave his squad a 14-6 lead in the opening minute of the second quarter. Synjyn Days (Georgia Tech) scored the other American touchdown on a five-yard run with 8:46 left in the first quarter.
The National team held a 382-211 advantage in total offense. In addition to Williams, Gary Nova (Rutgers) hit on 6 of 14 passes for 85 yards while Kevin Rodgers (Henderson State) completed 5 of 17 for 59 yards.
Jake Waters (Kansas State) completed 9 of 21 passes for 71 yards for the American team, with David Frazier (Miami, Ohio) grabbing a team-high four receptions for 42 yards.
Brandon Wegher (Morningside) was the game's leading rusher with 90 yards on 14 carries, and Akeem Hunt (Purdue) ran for 30. NC State's Tony Creecy paced the American ground game with 44 yards, followed by The Citadel's Jake Stenson with 20.
Issac Blakeney (Duke) led all receivers with five catches for 103 yards. Conant booted field goals of 27, 21, 33 and 36 yards, the latter upping the National lead to 19-14 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
Shaq Riddick (West Virginia) highlighted the National defense with four tackles including two sacks, one of which resulted in a strip and his own recovery. Tank Jakes (Memphis), Brock Hekking (Nevada) and Jordan Williams (Tennessee) also had sacks for the Nationals.
Will Brown (Missouri S&T) led all tacklers with nine for the American team, and Jermaine Whitehead (Auburn) had a team-high six stops for the Nationals. Cariel Brooks (Adams State) contributed an interception for the Nationals.