MOBILE, Ala. - Isaiah Pead took a stutter step forward, then raced to the left sideline and traveled 60 yards up the field before finally getting tripped up by a leg tackle.
The former Cincinnati running back followed that nifty punt return with a 38-yarder a couple of minutes later, late in the first half, to play a starring role Saturday in the North's 23-13 victory over the South in the Senior Bowl.
The first one set up a field goal and helped Pead outshine bigger names to earn Most Valuable Player honors.
Among state players, Florida State linebacker Nigel Bradham had one sack, three tackles and a pass breakup. Fellow Seminole Zebrie Sanders started at right tackle. Florida running back Chris Rainey had three kick returns for 60 yards, one punt return for 17 yards and one carry for 5 yards. Fellow Gator Jaye Howard had two assisted tackles on the defensive line.
Michigan State's Kirk Cousins and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson threw touchdowns for the North. Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs put it away with his third short field goal, a 28-yarder with 4:11 left in the showcase for senior NFL prospects.
Pead only had 74 yards on eight punt returns as a senior. But not only did his big play spark the North, the 5-foot-10, 193-pounder also gained a team-high 31 yards on eight carries.
"I think he may have opened some eyes," said Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who led the North. "Some people may have wondered if he can do certain things. I think he may have answered some questions today."
Arkansas receiver Joe Adams, the South's Most Outstanding Player, had eight catches for 133 yards. Linebacker Bobby Wagner of Utah State (seven tackles and an interception) was named the North's Most Outstanding Player.
INTERIM PICK INTERVIEWS TO REPLACE SCHIANO: Interim coach Kyle Flood interviewed for the head coaching job to replace Greg Schiano at Rutgers. Schiano stepped down Thursday to become the Bucs' coach. Flood said none of the 17 high school players who had committed to the Scarlet Knights had changed their mind going into Wednesday's national signing day.
NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats landed wide receiver Kyle Prater, a former five-star recruit and Chicago-area product who transferred from Southern California. He redshirted as a freshman and had just one catch for 6 yards last year in an injury-plagued season.