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Casino del Sol College All-Star Game: Former Tucsonan helps West rout East

WSU quarterback Tuel hoping to show NFL he has all the tools
2013-01-12T00:00:00Z 2013-01-12T06:29:06Z Casino del Sol College All-Star Game: Former Tucsonan helps West rout EastDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

When Jeff Tuel was 12 years old, he used to go to Tucson's McDonald Park three times a week and dream of one day playing in the NFL.

On Friday night, about 15 miles away from his former stomping grounds, Tuel took an important step toward realizing that dream.

The Washington State quarterback shined at the Casino del Sol College All-Star Game at Kino Stadium, going 6 for 8 for 115 yards and a touchdown. He led the West to a 40-7 win over the East before a crowd of 4,393.

Tuel grew up in Tucson, living here until he was 14, and relished the opportunity to come home and play in front of so many old friends.

"This is where it all started," Tuel said. "I'll drive by McDonald Park tomorrow and check it out.

"That's where the love of the game developed for me."

Tuel was strong Friday early and often.

His first big throw of the night came in the first quarter when he hooked up with Stanford's Drew Terrell for a 49-yard pass down to the 1-yard line. One play later, Arizona's Taimi Tutogi scored on a rush over the top.

After giving way to Kansas' Dayne Crist for the second quarter and most of the third, Tuel tossed a 32-yard touchdown pass to San Diego State's Brice Butler to stretch the lead to 33-7 late in the third.

It was an important performance for Tuel.

He's rated as the 19th-best quarterback prospect by cbssports.com. Eleven QBs were drafted in 2012.

In other words, Tuel is a fringe prospect and needed a strong showing Friday night.

He got one.

"Every guy here has a dream, and we're trying to accomplish that dream," said Tuel, who will now play in the NFLPA-Collegiate Bowl in California next Saturday. "It will be the same thing next week. Just go out there and have fun and let it fly and don't make it bigger than it is."

Tuel wasn't the only Pac-12 player to shine Friday night. In fact, the game turned into an impromptu conference showcase.

Tutogi had 28 yards on five carries, including his touchdown. He had one carry for minus-1 yard as a senior for the Wildcats this season.

"I got some carries tonight and did something with them," Tutogi said. "It was a lot of fun. I also got to play a lot of defense (defensive end) and that was a great experience too, getting after the quarterback."

Other Pac-12 players to shine Friday night included:

• UCLA safety Dalton Hilliard had a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter.

• Terrell, who was named the game's MVP, had a 34-yard punt return on top of his 49-yard catch and finished with 59 receiving yards.

• California running back Isi Sofele had a 15-yard touchdown run and 64 yards on 11 carries total.

• Sofele's teammate Aaron Tipoti had an interception and a sack.

• Arizona's Kyle Quinn (center) and Dom Austin (defensive end) also saw the field for the majority of the game with Austin picking up a tackle-for-loss.

"We all came in here and there's a little rivalry, but at the same time, we all root for each other and want to see the conference do well," Tutogi said. "It was exciting to see. I thought the best players tonight were from the Pac-12."

The West led 19-7 after the East opened the scoring on its first drive. Dick Tomey's squad continued to dominate, and picked off five passes.

"Anytime you win a football game 40-7, it's a lot of fun," Quinn said.

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Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 8 4 0 0.667
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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