There weren’t many points scored in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday, but it didn’t come without controversy. The 23-0 win for the National Team over the American Team came with accusations that one side didn’t adhere to the rules designed to keep the all-star game simple for players on the field.
After a scoreless first half, National coach Mike Martz accused the American squad of illegal defensive fronts and stunts that made things confusing for an offense that practiced all week preparing for much more simple defensive looks.
Lol we got all-star game coaching controversy and cheating accusations pic.twitter.com/UbsB1mQoNY— Adam Stites (@AdamStites_) January 20, 2018
“We agreed to play certain defenses in this game and we line up and we’re seeing defenses we’ve never seen before,” Martz said. “We only have one week to get these guys ready, it’s about them, but for some reason we decided over here on the other side that we’re going to play a bunch of defense. I don’t know what’s going on, this is embarrassing.
“It’s a different front. You’re supposed to play one front, we all practiced against the same front, and I don’t understand it, and I’m very frustrated and angry about it.”
Martz spent six years as the head coach of the St. Louis Rams and made multiple stops as an offensive coordinator before retiring in 2012. This year was his fourth time serving as a head coach at the NFLPA Bowl. But it was the first time for Hall of Fame defensive back Darrell Green, who had no coaching experience since retiring from the NFL.
The American team was eventually penalized for an illegal defensive front in the fourth quarter, and clips at halftime showed Martz yelling across the field at Green for the defensive calls.
Adonis Jennings, WR, Temple
On a day without many offensive highlights, the Temple wide receiver led all receivers with 61 yards receiving. He got there on only two receptions, and it was mostly thanks to the best catch of the day when he hauled in a pass in traffic.
Adonis Jennings couldn't care less about your double coverage pic.twitter.com/LJ2y7dyLHw— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) January 20, 2018
Jennings averaged more than 17 yards per catch in each of his last two seasons at Temple, so making big plays isn’t anything new for him.
Frank Herron, DL, LSU
A four-star recruit at LSU, the 312-pound defensive lineman never really made much of an impact with the Tigers.
But he had the most exciting play of the game Saturday when he scooped up a fumble and rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown. There’s nothing quite as great as a big man scoring a touchdown, and it’s something he never did at LSU.
Troy Apke, DB, Penn State
The MVP of the game earned the honor by hauling in an impressive interception late in the game.
An impressive part of the pick is that he had the presence of mind to get up right away and return the interception 56 yards to set up the National Team in scoring territory. For the players in the game, the NFLPA Bowl was their first chance to adjust to the rules of the NFL.