89th East-West Shrine Game
Saturday, January 18th at 4 pm ET, NFL Network
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
A total of six former MAC student-athletes will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in the 89th East-West Shrine Game on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 4 pm ET from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game will be televised by the NFL Network.
Included in the six are a pair of MAC West Division quarterback foes, as Northern Illinois senior quarterback Jordan Lynch will lead the East team and Ball State senior quarterback Keith Wenning will lead the West team.
The East will be coached by former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville. Former MAC student-athletes on the East squad are Lynch, Toledo senior center Zac Kerin, Bowling Green senior tight end Alex Bayer and Ohio senior defensive back Travis Carrie. The West will be coached by former NFL head coach Romeo Crennel. Former MAC student-athletes on the West squad are Wenning and Toledo senior wide receiver Bernard Reedy.
The East-West Shrine Game is the longest running college all-star game in the country. A staple in college football since 1925, the game has consistently proven to be a launch pad for players seeking professional careers in the NFL. More than 100 players from the 88th East-West Shrine Game signed with professional football teams in 2013. On average, more than 275 East-West Shrine Game alumni are on NFL rosters each year.
Bayer, who is a captain for the Falcons, is second on the team with 34 catches for 536 yards and three touchdowns. Bayer set a career high in the MAC Championship Game with seven receptions for 124 yards and a score. A native of Pickerington, Ohio, Bayer was named All-MAC at tight end for the second consecutive season in 2013. Bayer has also been integral in the run and pass games, as he has blocked in front of Travis Greene, who set the school record with 1,555 yards on the ground in 2013. Quarterback Matt Johnson has also passed for 3,195 yards this year.
Carrie becomes the ninth Ohio player in school history to participate in the annual all-star game. Carrie earned All-Mid-American Conference honors as both a punt returner (First Team) and as a cornerback (Third Team). In 2013, Carrie tied for the team lead with four interceptions and owned a league-best 12.7 punt return average. The second-year captain concluded his Bobcat career in style as he picked off a pair of passes, returning them both for touchdowns in the Bobcats' final home game of the year. He became the first Bobcat since Dion Byrum to return two interceptions for touchdowns.
Kerin, also a second-team al-league pick at center, led a Toledo offensive line that was No. 1 in the nation in fewest sacks (6) in 2013.
Lynch set yet another Conference record by placing third in the 2013 voting for the Heisman Memorial Trophy to earn the highest finish ever by a player from the Mid-American Conference. Lynch, a dual-threat quarterback who led NIU to a 12-0 start and a 24-3 record in two seasons as the Huskies' starter, placed behind only winner Jameis Winston of Florida State and runner-up A.J. McCarron of Alabama. Lynch turned in a record-setting season in his final campaign at NIU. He twice set the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 316 and 321-yard outings versus Central and Western Michigan respectively. The Mt. Carmel product threw for 2,676 yards on 233-of-369 passing, while his 1,881 rushing yards are second in the country. He is only the fifth player in NCAA history to have 20 rushing and 20 passing touchdowns in a season with 22 and 23 respectively, and has broken the NIU single season record for touchdowns scored. He was named the MAC's Vern Smith Leadership Award winner as league MVP for the second consecutive season and is a finalist for the Manning Quarterback and Senior CLASS Award.
Reedy, a second-team All-MAC selection at wide receiver in 2013, led Toledo with 62 receptions and 840 receiving yards this past season. For his career, Reedy caught 195 passes, which ranks fifth all-time at UT.
Wenning, who was named to the All-Mid-American Conference Second Team after the 2013 season, was one of 10 semifinalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which goes to the nation’s top collegiate quarterback. Wenning was the only quarterback in the Football Bowl Subdivision to throw for 299 yards or more in 10 regular season games in 2013. He completed 319-of-498 passes for 4,148 yards with 35 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2013. Wenning became the first Ball State quarterback to top 4,000 passing yards in a season and his 4,148 yards ranked sixth in the country and third in MAC history. Wenning finished his career as Ball State’s record holder and ranked third in the MAC in career pass completions (1,034) and attempts (1,642), fourth in career passing yards (11,402) and fourth in career passing touchdowns (92).
The East-West Shrine Game
The East-West Shrine Game® is the longest running college all-star game in the country. A staple in college football since 1925, the game has consistently proven to be a launch pad for players seeking professional careers in the NFL. More than 100 players from the 88th East-West Shrine Game signed with professional football teams in 2013. On average, more than 275 East-West Shrine Game alumni are on NFL rosters each year.
Since the very first players secured their helmets and laced up their cleats in San Francisco’s Ewing Field nearly 90 years ago at the very first East-West Shrine Game, 71 former East-West Shrine Game alumni have been honored with induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and more than 200 into the College Football Hall of Fame. Many of the NFL’s most recognized and decorated athletes, including Tom Brady, Brett Favre and John Elway, all started on the East-West gridiron.
Supporting a Mission
In addition to serving as one of the NFL’s primary sources for eligible players, the game benefits Shriners Hospitals for Children®, and helps support its mission of providing expert care to children in need, conducting innovative research and offering educational opportunities to medical professionals. East-West Shrine Game activities include a visit to a Shriners Hospital, which gives the players the opportunity to witness firsthand the true purpose of the game. “Going to the hospital was a very humbling experience,” said 2013 East-West Shrine Game alumni and newly signed Baltimore Raven, Trent Steelman. “Those kids have more courage and tenacity than any football player I know; and that I will never forget.”
About Shriners Hospitals for Children
Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Our 22 facilities, located in the United States, Canada and Mexico, provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.
About Shriners International
Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth with nearly 200 temples (chapters) in seven countries and thousands of clubs around the world.