MOBILE, Ala. -- Ohio State's Troy Smith outplayed Florida's Chris Leak in a rematch of quarterbacks from the national championship game, leading the North to three scores and a 27-0 win over the South in the Senior Bowl yesterday.
Smith's numbers weren't spectacular on a cold, rainy day. He completed only 5 of 15 passes for 52 yards with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Washington State's Jason Hill. But the Heisman Trophy winner made fewer mistakes than Leak, who had a fumble that led to a quick touchdown for the North.
"Just getting a win today meant a lot," said Smith, grinning widely as raindrops pelted his helmet. "I feel pretty good, but there's always room for improvement."
Smith and Leak were fighting to improve their standing in a draft that will include Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who didn't play because of an injury, and LSU's JaMarcus Russell, who was ineligible to play as a junior.
Smith directed a nine-play, 75-yard opening drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run off right tackle by Penn State's Tony Hunt, who ran for 38 yards on eight carries and was selected the game MVP.
The South had to punt after Leak took a sack for an 8-yard loss. The North answered with a 38-yard field goal by Mason Crosby of Colorado, who capped a 30-yard drive that included Smith's 13-yard completion to Rutgers's Brian Leonard for a first down on fourth and 7.
Leak, whose Florida Gators demolished Ohio State, 41-14, to win the BCS championship earlier this month, was 5-of-9 passing for 23 yards. UTEP's Jordan Palmer, the brother of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, completed 5 of 8 passes for 91 yards for the South.
With things already going badly, Leak was blindsided by Nebraska Jay Moore and fumbled at his 26. The turnover set up a 7-yard TD pass from Michigan State's Drew Stanton to Aundrae Allison of East Carolina.
Crosby also had a 21-yard field goal for the North.
It was the first shutout in the Senior Bowl's 58-year history.