Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Sports

South defense rules

MOBILE, Ala. — Dee Ford prefers to keep things simple: play hard and fast; let others worry about his NFL draft stock.

That approach certainly worked at the Senior Bowl.

The Auburn defensive end had two first-half sacks, and Derek Carr and David Fales each threw a touchdown in the South's 20-10 victory over the North on Saturday.

Ford, who earned positive reviews from observers during the week, quickly dismissed a reporter's suggestion that he made some money in the draft with his performance.

"I don't do this for cash," said Ford, selected the game's MVP. "I do this for pride. I do this because I really, really want to be great. The money will come. I'm just all about perfecting what I do.

"I've still got a lot of work. I've got the combine and pro day. My life doesn't stop here."

The showcase game for top senior NFL prospects was mostly dominated by defenses. The South racked up five sacks of Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas and intercepted three passes. Princeton defensive tackle Caraun Reid also had two sacks.

"Just talking to the linemen, they said these guys are kind of quick coming off the ball," Clemson quarterback and North team member Tajh Boyd said. "You've got to go out there and try to help those guys out."

Alabama receiver Kevin Norwood caught a 24-yard touchdown from Fales of San Jose State and was named the South's most outstanding player. Wisconsin's James White scored on a 1-yard run with 6:04 left for the North's only touchdown and was names top North player. He had 62 yards on 11 carries and five catches for 15 yards.

Offensively, it looked just like what it was: an all-star game with players trying to get in synch with only a few days of practice.

The quarterbacks who made the fewest mistakes won the day as the South built a 20-3 lead.

Fresno State's Carr started fast with three straight completions on the South's opening drive. He capped the march with a 17-yard touchdown to Colorado State tight end Crockett Gillmore and finished 7-of-12 for 45 yards.

Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's first two drives ended with field goals of 50 and 39 yards by Auburn's Cody Parkey. Garoppolo, MVP of the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, was a late addition after Alabama's AJ McCarron declined an invitation. Garoppolo was 6-of-11 for 32 yards.

Miami's Stephen Morris was 10-of-18 for a game-high 89 yards but also was intercepted twice for the North. Florida's Solomon Patton didn't have a catch for the South.

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