Adam Zimmer is 1-0 as a head coach.
Zimmer, the Vikings linebackers coach who was tabbed to be head coach of the West in the 94th East-West Shrine Game, was able to lead his squad to a 21-17 victory on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The West squad built a 21-point lead with an impressive opening drive and a pair of touchdowns after turnovers, then withstood a late charge by the East in the annual invite-only college all-star game.
After a 47-yard field goal by Utah’s Matthew Gay pulled the East within four points with 4:19 remaining, the West was able to drive from the 25-yard line (there are no kickoffs or onside kicks after scores) to the East 12 and milk all but the final four seconds.
“They got some momentum in the fourth quarter, and we had a really nice drive to seal the game. It was a really good job of running the football,” Zimmer told NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala after the game. “Guys fought hard, they worked hard all week and they deserved to come out with a win.”
A dropped pass on a fourth-and-4 gave the ball back to the East, but a short-toss-and-multiple-lateral play ended quickly with a fumbled exchange.
Pittsburgh’s Darrin Hall, Jr., rushed five times during the possession and ripped off a 39-yarder on second-and-10 two plays after a roughing the passer penalty on Oklahoma State’s Jordan Brailford gave the West a fresh set of downs. Brailford had been disruptive throughout the game and brought pressure, but officials ruled that he hit Fresno State QB Marcus McMaryion high on a third-and-5.
In addition to Zimmer, Vikings assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken was the special teams coordinator and Vikings assistant defensive line coach Robert Rodriguez was the defensive line coach for the West.
Vikings co-offensive line coach Andrew Janocko was the offensive coordinator and assistant defensive backs coach Jeff Howard was the defensive backs coach for the East.
Q1, 11:10 remaining
West 7, East 0
Nick Brossette (LSU) catches a 22-yard touchdown pass from Brett Rypien (Boise State); John Baron II (San Diego State) kicks PAT [8 plays, 81 yards, 4:50 time of possession]
Q2, 7:05 remaining
West 14, East 0
Devine Ozigbo (Nebraska) rushes for a 2-yard touchdown; Baron kicks PAT [1 play, 2 yards, 0:06]
Q3, 9:43 remaining
West 21, East 0
Shawn Poindexter (Arizona) catches a 22-yard touchdown pass from Easton Stick (North Dakota State); Baron kicks PAT [1 play, 22 yards, 0:08]
Q3, 2:52 remaining
West 21, East 7
Terry Godwin II (Georgia) catches a 6-yard touchdown pass from David Blough (Purdue); Matthew Gay (Utah) kicks PAT [8 plays, 74 yards, 3:12]
Q3, :05 remaining
West 21, East 14
Godwin catches a 17-yard touchdown pass from Blough; Gay kicks PAT [6 plays, 72 yards, 1:56]
Q4, 4:19 remaining
West 21, East 17
Gay kicks a 47-yard field goal [12 plays, 56 yards, 7:26]
Here are three takeaways from the game:
1. Offensive & Defensive MVPs
Godwin was named the Offensive MVP after totaling 80 yards and two scores on four receptions.
Although he showed an ability to separate from defenders, Godwin also had a costly fumble after a catch that set up the second touchdown by the West.
Montre Hartage (Northwestern) ripped the ball away from Godwin as the receiver was heading to the turf, and Tyree Kinnel (Michigan) scooped the ball and returned it 32 yards.
Oregon linebacker Justin Hollins was named Defensive MVP. Hollins recorded 10 tackles (three for loss) and 2.0 sacks.
2. Jesper hauls in a big one
Former Roseville receiver Jesper Horsted, who played collegiately at Princeton, caught two passes for 42 yards while wearing No. 84.
The 2015 Minnesota High School Athlete of the Year by the Pioneer Press had receptions of 4 and 38 yards. The long reception was significant for the East on its first touchdown drive of the day.
At Princeton, Horsted totaled 195 receptions, 2,698 receiving yards and caught 28 touchdown passes. He set school single-season records for receptions (92) and touchdown catches (14) in 2017 when he earned First-Team All-Ivy League honors and let the conference in receptions, receiving yards (1,226) and touchdown catches.
Horsted was one of two Minnesota natives in the game, along with Trey Pipkins (Apple Valley). Pipkins played tackle for the West.
3. Emphasis on individual matchups
The Shrine Game enforces a few rules that de-emphasize scheme and place more emphasis individual matchups.
Offenses must use balanced formations and are prevented from doing any pre-snap motions or shifts.
Defenses can play Cover 1, Cover 2 or Cover 3 and are prevented from blitzing or stunting.
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
American 10, National 7
Across the country, more draft-eligible players participated in the eighth annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl.
The American squad, led by Chuck Pagano, topped the National team that was led by former Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice 10-7 on Saturday afternoon.
National running back Wes Hills was named 2019 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl MVP after rushing 10 times for 78 yards and his team’s only score, a 4-yard run with 10:00 left in the first half.
Hills earned an invitation to next week’s Senior Bowl and an interesting comparison from Tice:
The American squad tied the game with 7:35 left in the third quarter with a 22-yard touchdown pass from JaJuan Johnson (Rhode Island) to Juwann Winfree (Colorado) two plays after an interception.
Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone made a 43-yard field goal with four seconds left in the third quarter, and the American defense held the rest of the way.