MOBILE, Ala. - Darren Sproles ran for a touchdown, Charlie Frye threw for 138 yards and a score and Mike Nugent kicked three field goals in the Senior Bowl to lead the North to a 23-13 victory Saturday over the South.
The game capped a weeklong audition for top NFL prospects and wound up showcasing lesser-known players such as Akron's Frye and the game's smallest player in Kansas State's Sproles, who's trying to prove he can play in the NFL despite his size.
The 5-foot-5 Sproles outplayed bigger tailbacks, darting through the middle for 24 yards and the game's first touchdown with 10:07 left in the third quarter, immediately ripping off his helmet to celebrate the score.
Frye was the North's most effective quarterback, completing 10 of 12 passes and hitting Northwestern's Noah Herron for a 22-yard touchdown in the final minutes to earn Most Valuable Player honors.
Purdue's Kyle Orton was 6-for-13 for 51 yards with an interception on his opening series, while Connecticut's Dan Orlovsky was taken to the hospital before the game with the flu, according to game officials.
Sproles gained 55 yards on five carries to earn North offensive player of the game honors. Ohio State's Nugent, the Lou Groza Award winner as the nation's top kicker, booted field goals of 25, 36 and 41 yards. Bill Swancutt of Oregon State was the North's defensive player of the game.
Jason Campbell of Auburn completed 9 of 13 passes for 116 yards and set up two field goals by Mississippi's Jonathan Nichols to earn top offensive honors for the South. Clemson's Leroy Hill was the team's defensive player of the game.
Georgia's David Greene hit former Arkansas star Matt Jones, a college quarterback who played receiver in the game, for a 5-yard touchdown with 1:05 to play. Greene, Division I's winningest quarterback, was 11-for-16 for 102 yards.
J.J. Arrington, California's 2,000-yard rusher, had five carries for just 9 yards for the North.
Campbell, who led the Tigers to a 13-0 record and a No. 2 finish after three up-and-down seasons, also had another drive going early, but West Virginia's Kay-Jay Harris fumbled away a handoff.
Frye took advantage of a rare opportunity in the national spotlight after his Zips were the 57th team in the NCAA's 56-team bowl sweepstakes. They were the only bowl-eligible team left out of the postseason.
The game's biggest offensive star, Auburn tailback Carnell Williams, made a cameo appearance on the first series but didn't play again because of a strained muscle in his back. Williams is a potential top-five draft pick who spent the week meeting with coaches like Miami's Nick Saban (No. 2 pick) and Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden (No. 5).
The other two top projected runners in the draft, Auburn's Ronnie Brown and Cedric Benson of Texas, skipped the game. The top-rated quarterbacks, meanwhile, are juniors Aaron Rodgers of California and Alex Smith of Utah, who weren't eligible for the game.
The defenses came up with the majority of the big plays in the first half, forcing three turnovers.