MOBILE, Ala. – EJ Manuel’s January couldn’t have gone much better on the field. More importantly, he’s hoping for a similarly happy February for his family.
The Florida State quarterback passed for a touchdown and rushed for another on the South’s first two drives in a 21-16 victory over the North in the Senior Bowl on Saturday, and was named Most Outstanding Player.
Now, Manuel can try to be the MOS – Most Outstanding Son. His mother, Jackie Manuel, who was diagnosed with breast cancer before the season, has been recovering from her final round of chemotherapy, and Manuel said she’s scheduled to have surgery Friday.
That’s kind of been my motivation, Manuel said. I call my mom every single day and tell her I love her. I never miss a day. They’ll be sending that award home to her. I won that award for her. I went out there and played well for her. I’m happy I was able to do it.
Purdue defensive lineman Kawann Short was the North’s top player, finishing with three tackles, one for a loss. Notre Dame center Braxston Cave played for the North.
Manuel and running backs Stepfan Taylor and Mike James combined to put the game for senior NFL prospects away on the South’s final drive. Stanford’s Taylor carried five times for 32 yards and caught a 6-yard pass from Manuel.
Manuel converted a fourth-and-1 play on a sneak to set up a 5-yard touchdown run for Miami’s James with 2:41 left. He completed 7 of 10 passes for 76 yards with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Alabama tight end Michael Williams. He also scored on a 2-yard run.
Brigham Young defensive end Ezekiel Ansah received MOP honors for the South team. He had seven tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble.
It was fun. I came out here to work hard, with a bunch of all-star players, obviously, Ansah said. Everyone out here is an MVP. I just came here to learn and get better.
It was an up-and-down day for most of the quarterbacks.
Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson completed 8 of 11 passes for 40 yards for the South. Landry Jones, a four-year starter for Oklahoma, was 3-of-9 passing for 16 yards and was sacked twice.
For the North, Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Dysert was 10 of 16 for 93 yards and was intercepted once and sacked twice. North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon completed half his 16 attempts for 82 yards, and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib was 4 of 10 for 44 yards and threw an interception.