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Senior Bowl 2012 - North Tops South Behind Isaiah Pead's Strong All-Purpose Performance

North Tops South Behind Isaiah Pead's Strong Performance - Senior Bowl 2012

Photo - RB Isaiah Pead - Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Senior Bowl, Saturday after totaling 129 all-purpose yards.

“A win caps off the week," Pead said. "You want to go in and practice hard, interview well and meet fans, but going away with a loss – as a competitor – I wouldn’t like that. We’re all out here competing and for the North side to come in and get a win caps off everything. I got everything I wanted out of this week. I got good work done at practice and I got a win for this game."

It was a record-setting day for the reigning Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Pead surpassed J.D. Hill of Arizona State as the Senior Bowl’s all-time leader in punt return yardage with 98 on the day. The previous record of 73 had stood since 1971. He also added 31 rushing yards. Pead raised a few eveybrows when he measured in at just under 5'10" and 193 lbs. at the Monday morning weighti-in. He played at over 200 lbs over the 2011 season, but he was noticeably quicker at the Senior Bowl practices and during the game. He also showed big play ability as a punt returner after only marginal talent in that role as a collegian.

Pead adds to his list of accolades which include: 2011 Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year, First-Team All-Big East running back and 2011 Liberty Bowl MVP. He led the conference with 1,259 rushing yards and 12 rushing TDs.

Joining Pead in the post-game awards ceremony was his teammate this week, Utah St linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner was named the Most Outstanding Player on the North after leading the squad with seven total tackles, including one tackle for loss, one interception and one pass breakup. “It’s a pleasure. Just to be out here with everybody and to be looked at as one of the best players on the field, it’s a great thing for a small school guy,” Wagner said.

Despite the North’s victory, the South did enjoy some highlights Saturday as Joe Adams earned Most Outstanding Player of the South squad with 133 receiving yards on eight catches. “It feels good because there are so many great players on the South team and to be chosen as a standout is definitely a blessing only from God,” Adams said.

It was Adams’ fumble however that led to the game’s first points, a 27-yard field goal by Purdue’s Carson Wiggs. The second quarter belonged to the North as they outscored their opponent 10-3, thanks to an 8-yard scoring strike from Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson to Cal’s Marvin Jones and another Wiggs field goal—this time from 32 yards out. Bullock added his second field goal of the day in the second quarter too, but the South went into the locker room down 13-6.

Michigan St QB Kirk Cousins continued the North’s offensive success in the second half, hitting Arizona St receiver Gerell Robinson over the middle for a 41-yard touchdown to give the North a 20-6 lead. The South appeared to have life in the early going of the fourth quarter on Arizona QBNick Foles’ 20-yard touchdown toss to his former teammate in Tucson, Juron Criner, but Wiggs’ third field goal of the day—a 28-yarder—was all the North needed to hang on for the win.

The South still leads the all-time series with the North 30-27-3. The win improved the Minnesota Vikings’ coaching staff to 2-0 all-time in Senior Bowls, while the Washington Redskins fell to 3-4.

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.