Notre Dame's Chris Brown makes impact in Shrine Game loss

Staff and wire reports
ND Insider

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Charlie Weis’ likely temporary return to coaching turned out to have a decided schematic disadvantage.

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., was playing for the other team.

Adams, the offensive MVP, threw for 191 yards on just nine passing attempts, with three of his six completions going for touchdowns as the West routed the retired Weis’ East team, 29-9, Saturday at Tropicana Field in the 91st East-West Shrine Game.

Three current Notre Dame players suited up for the former Irish head coach (2005-09), who last coached at Kansas early in the 2014 season before being fired. Wide receiver Chris Brown had the most profound impact among them.

Brown, a starter on Saturday, ran a reverse for six yards on the East’s first offensive play from scrimmage and had three catches for a team-leading 42 yards, though he did let a late would-be TD pass slip through his hands.

Irish defensive end Romeo Okwara and safety Elijah Shumate each played in a reserve role. Okwara was credited with one tackle, while Shumate played but didn’t show up on the final stat sheet.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah was impressed with Brown both during the game and in the practices leading up to it, and projected ND’s second-leading receiver in 2015 as a fifth- or sixth-round pick in the April 28-30 NFL Draft.

The Shrine Game is considered the second-tier of postseason college all-star games behind the Senior Bowl, where Irish defensive tackle Sheldon Day and center Nick Martin are set to play next Saturday in Mobile, Ala.

Forty players from last year’s Shrine Game were drafted. Though ND didn’t have any players in that game, the last five Irish players to suit up in a Shrine Game were drafted — Prince Shembo (fourth round), TJ Jones (sixth) and Bennett Jackson (sixth) in 2014, and Theo Riddick (sixth) and Zeke Motta (seventh) in 2013.

One of Weis’ assistants Saturday was former ND quarterback Brady Quinn, still the career record holder at the school in almost every significant statistical category related to passing.

Weis may have been tempted to simply play Quinn then have him coach. Michigan's Jake Rudock started at quarterback for the East and shared playing time with Wisconsin’s Joel Stave and UMass’ Blake Frohnapfel.

Each of the East quarterbacks was intercepted once, while throwing for a combined 117 yards with zero touchdowns. Overall coach June Jones’ West team outgained the East, 457-179.

Six of the East’s nine points came on a 98-yard interception return by Florida’s Brian Poole.

Adams, meanwhile, played less than a half for the West. One of his TD tosses was a 93-yard connection with Purdue’s Danny Anthrop, who finished with five catches for 120 yards.

Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld also threw a TD pass for the West.

Navy's Keenan Reynolds, who is trying to transition from quarterback to running back after setting the NCAA record for career rushing touchdowns with 88, did not play for the East because of back spasms.

East wide receiver Chris Brown (21), of Notre Dame puts a move on West cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (29), of Minnesota, during the East-West Shrine Game, Saturday at St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/CHRIS O'MEARA)