|Utah State's Robinson leads West past East in Shrine Game|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 19 January 2008 18:38|
He likely helped change that Saturday night, catching a touchdown pass and returning a punt for a score in the West's 31-13 victory over the East in the 83rd East-West Shrine Game.
``I came from a small school and not too many people know about me,'' he said. ``This was just an opportunity for me to go out there and just show what I could do against better competition. I wanted to show that no matter where I'm from, I'm still a good player and I can play with the best.''
He gave the West a 7-3 lead when he returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter. He quickly dashed past the first wave of defenders and then outran a couple more before juking the punter on his way into the end zone, which he flipped into.
Robinson, who led Utah State in scoring the last three seasons, extended the West's lead to 24-6 when he scored on a 5-yard pass from Josh Johnson in the fourth quarter. Robinson finished with four receptions for 28 yards.
Johnson had three carries for 91 yards and was 5-of-11 for 78 yards passing.
While at Utah State, Robinson broke the NCAA record for career all-purpose yards per play. He averaged 16.16 yards on 6,479 yards and 401 career plays. He had three kick returns for touchdowns this season and added one punt return score, making him the only player in the country with four returns for scores this season.
Houston's Anthony Alridge helped lead the West. After a forgettable performance in the Texas Bowl, Alridge closed out his college career in his home stadium with a game worth remembering.
Alridge scored on a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter that pushed the West's lead to 17-3. It was a redeeming performance for the running back who struggled in Houston's 20-13 Texas Bowl loss to TCU last month.
``It was just great to go out with a win at my home stadium,'' Alridge said. ``There's nothing like it. It was a special moment for me.''
The crowd at Robertson Stadium, which included a child wearing a Houston helmet and Alridge's jersey, cheered loudest on his score. He then showed off with his rendition of rapper Soulja Boy Tell'em's ``Crank That'' dance in the end zone, while fans held up signs supporting him including one that read 'Anthony's Army Forever.'
Alridge promised some fans he'd dance if he scored.
``I told them I was going to dance and that's what we did,'' he said, laughing.
Alridge had two reception for 39 yards.
Alvin Bowen extended the West's lead on a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown with 30 seconds left.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson stood on the West team sideline for most of the first half, cheering on his former Oklahoma teammates. The four Sooners in the game were running back Allen Patrick, defensive back Marcus Walker, tight end Joe Jon Finley and kicker Garrett Hartley.
Patrick was injured in the first quarter and had just one carry for three yards. Hartley missed a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter, but gave the West a 10-3 lead with one from 23-yard just before halftime.
Peterson, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, said he shared some advice with his friends on the team.
``I told them, 'This is your last opportunity in pads to show the scouts what you have, so you've just got to go out there and lay it all on the line,''' he said.
Walker intercepted a pass by Penn State's Anthony Morelli and returned it 22 yards in the second quarter.
The East team also had an NFL running back cheering it on in former Chiefs running back Priest Holmes, the former Longhorns star who retired this season.
Cory Boyd scored the only touchdown for the East on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter. The East's other points came on field goals of 42 and 28 yards by Wisconsin's Taylor Mehlhaff.
West coach Mike White said he enjoyed coaching again.
``I really appreciated the experience,'' he said. ``And it was great being included with (East coach) Dick Vermeil. He's my best friend and that never gets old, getting to beat your friends. It was a great win and a lot of fun to be a part of.''
The game wasn't quite as fun for Vermeil.
``The kids all played hard,'' Vermeil said. ``They tried hard. We just dropped too many passes ... and missed too many guys when they had them open.''
This is the third year the game has been played in Texas. It was held at Reliant Stadium last year and in San Antonio in 2006. The crowd was announced as 15,328, but looked to be significantly less than that.