January 19, 2003
MOBILE, Ala. -- Shane Walton only needed to touch the ball once Saturday.
The Notre Dame defensive back returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to help the North win the Senior Bowl 17-0 over the South.
"Any time a cornerback touches the ball, his goal is to get into the end zone," said Walton, who returned two of his seven interceptions for touchdowns as a senior. "You don't get the ball too much."
He picked off Texas' Chris Simms and raced untouched down the left sideline with 9:13 left.
Penn State's Larry Johnson carried 13 times for a game-high 59 yards for the North and was named MVP.
The South's star-studded offense was mostly done in by mistakes, with three turnovers and a missed field goal keeping the North's shutout intact.
Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer of Southern California led the South into North territory on the first three series, coming up empty each time. He threw short in the end zone on fourth down on the first possession, a missed field goal ended the second series, then on the third, Florida State's Talman Gardner couldn't handle the ball on an end around on fourth and inches.
"You never like to lose," said the South's Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech, who threw for 5,017 yards this season, 29 on Saturday. "I haven't been shut out since about the eighth grade, so I'm not used to that."
Colorado State's Cecil Sapp scored on an 8-yard run and Maryland's Brooks Barnard made a 22-yard field goal.
Florida receiver Taylor Jacobs missed the game with deep thigh bruise.
FLORIDA STATE: The Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune reported that linebackers coach Joe Kines accepted the defensive coordinator position at Alabama.
The paper said an official announcement would be made by the university today or Monday.
Kines, a native of Cedartown, Ga., was the defensive coordinator under former Alabama coach Ray Perkins from 1985-86 and the coach at Arkansas in 1992.
OHIO STATE: Thousands of Buckeyes fans piled on layers of scarlet and gray clothing to brave the cold and honor the national champions. Between 50,000-60,000 attended a 50-minute celebration at Ohio Stadium, school officials said.
The temperature was 10 degrees with a minus-3 wind chill. OSU beat Miami 31-24 in double overtime Jan. 3 in the Fiesta Bowl to win the title.
"We couldn't make it to Tempe, but we're happy to be here," said Ahmad Sinno, a sleeping bag draped over his shoulders. "We're happy to be here to be able to celebrate with the team."