Nick Tiano took advantage of his playing time at the ninth NFLPA (NFL Player Association) Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Saturday, to lead the National Squad to a 30-20 victory over the American team, and showed scouts he deserves a chance in the NFL.
The former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback passed for 135 yards and a touchdown on the way to being selected as MVP.
“It was a good night,” Tiano told AP. “For us small school guys, this was a big opportunity to come out here and show what we can do.”
Tiano was 8 of 10 for 135 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown pass, in the National team’s win. He teamed behind center with San Diego’s Reid Sinnett, who was 9 of 16 for 93 yards with 13 more on the ground.
Marvin Lewis, the former Cincinnati Bengals coach who led the National coaching staff, saw how Tiano was able to handle the flow of the game.
“He did a nice job of his accuracy and throwing down the field,” Lewis told AP. “The ball location was good, for the most part, which is what you want. It was on time and coming out of his hand right.”
Other players who showed their best for the National team at the Rose Bowl include Oregon State’s Artavis Pierce, Georgia’s Brian Herrien and New Mexico State’s Jason Huntley.
On the opposing team, Omar Bayless also shone during the game. As a receiver for the American Team, Bayless caught the first touchdown in the opening quarter on a 3-yard pass from Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke.
Louisiana-Lafayette running back Raymond Calais provided the American squad’s top play with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half. Nathan Rourke of Ohio was 8-of-15 passing for 126 yards.
After the American team’s first score from Bayless’ touchdown, the National squad scored on its next three possessions. Pierce tied it with a 3-yard touchdown, and Oklahoma State’s Matt Ammendola kicked a 45-yard field goal to make it 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is the premier postseason all-star game for any draft-eligible college football players. More than just a game, the week-long experience provides players with the chance to showcase their game to NFL scouts and coaches, while learning from the best in the business.
The Collegiate Bowl not only prepares players for the speed and intensity of professional football, but also for the business and lifestyle changes that come with it.