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January 12, 2013

Defense powers West to Casino del Sol All-Star win



The West defense made it a tough Friday night for the East quarterbacks in the second annual Casino del Sol College All-Star game at Kino Stadium.

Led by former Arizona head coach Dick Tomey, the West rolled to a 40-7 victory over the East behind five interceptions and a safety.

The game featured a number of Div. I and II draft-eligible talents from around the country in search of a shot at the NFL, which had 110 scouts and personnel in attendance. Among the players, Arizona was represented by fullback/defensive end Taimi Tutogi, center Kyle Quinn and defensive end Dominique Austin - all of which played for the West.

"My job tonight was just to go out there and do whatever coach Tomey told me to do," Tutogi said. "He's one of the best to ever coach the game of football. It's been an honor."

Tutogi collected 28 rushing yards on five carries - or five times the amount of touches he had in 2012 - and a first-quarter touchdown that gave the West the lead for good. He also played several snaps on defense.

Quinn and the rest of the offensive line helped the West running backs collect 152 yards on the ground and a pair of scores. Austin recorded two solo tackles.

"It's been a great experience representing the West and representing the University of Arizona one last time," Quinn said. "It's been a very hectic and crazy week, trying to learn an offense really quick."

Added Austin: "It's been a great experience, one of the best experiences I've had in football."

Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel, a Tucson native, completed 6 of 8 passes for a game-high 115 yards and a touchdown for the West. Tuel hooked up with Brice Butler late in the third quarter for a 32-yard score.

All three East quarterbacks threw at least one interception, including a pair by Tim Jenkins and Nathan Stanley. The duo accounted for a majority of the snaps and combined to complete just 13 of 29 passes.

After the East scored on the game's opening drive, the West came back before the end of the quarter to take a 10-7 lead through the first 15 minutes.

Trailing 7-3, the West's Troy Stoudermire, a cornerback from Minnesota, shifted the momentum with a diving interception on an underthrown pass that bounced off a player. The West capitalized as Tutogi plowed in for the 1-yard touchdown.

"It was nice, seeing that I only got the ball once at the U of A this year," Tutogi said, smiling. "So I tried to take the ball and had a little chip on my shoulder and did what I could with it. I think it worked out well."

The West tacked on another big defensive play with 10:51 remaining in the half. UCLA safety Dalton Hilliard picked off Findlay quarterback Clay Belton for a 74-yard interception return to the end zone, extending the advantage to 17-7.

The East's troubles on offense did not let up as a bad snap led to a safety at the 4:26 mark to go down by 12 points. Just before the end of the half, the West tacked on a fourth interception in the closing seconds to take a 19-7 lead into the locker room.

California running back Isi Sofele capped the rout with a 15-yard touchdown run with 4:26 to play.

Quinn and Tutogi will now prepare for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which will be played next Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

"I'll learn from this game and take it down there next week and show what I can do," Quinn said.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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