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Cajuns shine in East-West Shrine and NFLPA Bowl Games

Calais returns kickoff 100 yards for TD
Posted at 1:25 AM, Jan 19, 2020

East-West Shrine Game:

Louisiana Wide Receiver Ja'Marcus Bradley had a touchdown catch to open the game for the East Squad. Meanwhile, All-American OL Kevin Dotson was named one of 3 "Nasty Boys" at the game, which goes to the best offensive linemen through the week of practices and the contest.


LeMay's 2 TDs lead East over West 31-27 in Shrine Bowl

by Fred Goodall

Mission accomplished for Florida International's James Morgan, Charlotte's Benny LeMay and Navy's Malcolm Perry in the East-West Shrine Bowl.

The trio shined for the East in a 31-27 victory, with Morgan leading two first-quarter touchdown drives and LeMay rushing for a pair of TDs, including the game-winner. Perry took a direct snap from center and sprinted 52 yards for a TD on his only carry.

"It was really a nice week," said Morgan. "I just wanted to come in, work as hard I could, learn as much as possible and go out and compete. It was quite an experience."

LeMay and Perry, a quarterback in college who's eyeing a pro career as a receiver, felt good about what they accomplished before scouts in town to evaluate prospects playing in the nation's longest running college football all-star game.

LeMay's 9-yard TD run with just under two minutes remaining sealed offensive MVP honors for the 5-foot-8, 216-pound running back, who finished with 80 yards on 16 carries.

"The offensive line did a great job," LeMay said. "It's really nice to come out here and have a good game."

Morgan started at quarterback for the East and shared playing time with Princeton's Kevin Davidson and Mississippi State's Tommy Stevens, who led his team downfield for the winning TD after the West took a 27-24 lead on James Robinson's 63-yard scoring run.

Robinson, who rushed for 1,899 yards and 18 touchdowns for Illinois State this season, finished with 80 yards rushing on seven attempts. He gained an additional 56 yards on two receptions, one a 46-yarder that led to a field goal.

Utah's Tyler Huntley threw a 7-yard TD pass to San Diego State tight end Parker Houston and North Texas' Mason Fine tossed a 36-yard scoring pass to Ohio State's Binjimon Victor to help the West wipe out an early two-touchdown deficit and make it 17-all heading into the fourth quarter.

Morgan, meanwhile, continued to state his case as a potential pick in the NFL draft by going 9 of 14 for 116 yards, including a 9-yard TD throw to Louisiana's Ja'Marcus Bradley to finish the East's game-opening drive.

Versatile UCF running back Adrian Killins Jr. had only one rushing attempt but led the East with seven catches for 91 yards, including a 37-yard reception on the winning drive.

Stevens also had an 18-yard completion to Rhode Island's Aaron Parker to set up LeMay's second touchdown.

Illinois State's Kirk Luther was voted defensive MVP.


Cecilia Native and UL Running Back Raymond Calais had a kick return TD for 100 yards in the NFLPA Bowl. He was 7th in the nation in KR YPG in 2019. Cajuns Cornerback Michael Jacquet also participated in the game.

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -

Tiano leads National to 30-20 win in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

by Joe Reedy

Nick Tiano realizes he might have limited chances to show scouts he deserves a chance in the NFL. On Saturday, he was able to take advantage of his playing time.

The Chattanooga quarterback threw for 135 yards and a touchdown en route to being selected the MVP of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl after leading the National squad to a 30-20 victory over the American team Saturday.

"It was a good night," said Tiano, who spent three seasons at Chattanooga after transferring from Mississippi State. "For us small-school guys, this was a big opportunity to come out here and show what we can do."

Tiano, who was 8 of 10 passing, gave his team a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter with a pinpoint 48-yard TD toss to Kirk Merritt. The Arkansas State receiver was in perfect position to haul it in despite double coverage from cornerbacks Ray Buford Jr. of New Mexico State and Damon Hayes of Rutgers.

"It was a great play call. We thought the defense might be aggressive," Tiano said. "Merritt made a great play by tracking the ball and getting it."

Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who led the National staff, was pleased with the way Tiano was able to handle the flow of the game and play with poise.

"He did a nice job of his accuracy and throwing down the field," Lewis said. "The ball location was good, for the most part, which is what you want. It was on time and coming out of his hand right."

Oregon State's Artavis Pierce, Georgia's Brian Herrien and New Mexico State's Jason Huntley rushed for touchdowns for the National team.

Louisiana-Lafayette running back Raymond Calais provided the American squad's top play with a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown on the opening play of the second half. Nathan Rourke of Ohio was 8 of 15 for 126 yards.

"Playing here does a lot because you're doing NFL stuff and going against high talent," Rourke said. "It's tough to get chemistry within a week, but it can help with the scouts because we were able to do interviews."

The American team, led by former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson, scored first when Michigan State's Brian Lewerke found Arkansas State's Omar Bayless in single coverage for a 3-yard TD.

The National squad then scored on its next three possessions. Oregon State's Artavis Pierce tied it with a 3-yard touchdown, and Matt Ammendola of Oklahoma State kicked a 45-yard field goal to make it 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Herrien extended the National's lead to 23-7 late in the second quarter on a 9-yard run. The score was set up when Iowa State linebacker Marcel Spears Jr. picked off Rourke's pass and returned it 35 yards to the American 9.

Following Calais' return, Huntley put the National squad back up by more than two scores with an 11-yard TD run. UCLA's JJ Molson kicked a pair of field goals - from 34 and 42 yards - to bring the American team within 10.

Lewis lauded his staff - which included Pro Football Hall of Famers Kevin Mawae, Rod Woodson and Jackie Slater - for their work with the players.

"The biggest thing is to give the players an opportunity to show what they can do by learning the plan and do the same thing they did on Saturday night," Lewis said. "There were very few errors and that's great. To play like they did shows what a good job the staff did."