Former Liberty County High School running back Shadrach Thornton and former Bradwell Institute lineman Chester Brown played in Friday’s Bitcoin Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Thornton, currently playing for N.C. State, and Brown, a current University of Central Florida Knight, went head to head on Tropicana Field. The Wolfpack won 34-27.
N.C. State’s first touchdown came in dramatic fashion, and Thornton played a pivotal role in the miscommunication play that caught the Knights off guard and let the Wolfpack score.
During their first offensive drive of the game, Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett handed the ball to Thornton who ran to the sideline as if looking for an opening to head downfield. Suddenly, Thornton planted his feet and launched his first career pass attempt — and 18-yard touchdown completion — to freshman Jaylen Samuels.
According to the Wolfpack’s website, the TD pass by a non-QB was the first in a Pack bowl game since Ledel George threw a 52-yard score in the 1992 Peach Bowl.
For the rest of the game, Thornton did his job in breaking open for long runs and blocking for his quarterback as needed.
By the end of the game, Thornton had tallied 96 yards on 17 carries.
The Wolfpack closed out the season at 8-5 overall and 3-6 in the ACC. Thornton rushed for 811 yards and nine touchdowns. He was 1-for-1 in passing with the 18-yard touchdown and has caught 15 passes for 133 yards and one touchdown.
The Knights finish at 9-4 overall. Brown was a member of the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team last year and saw action in three games against Florida International University, Penn State and UConn. During pre-season camp, the sophomore was moved to the offensive line and has played in all 12 games with three starts. This was UCF’s third trip to Tropicana Field in Tampa for a bowl game and the third meeting between the Wolfpack and the Knights. In the first, the Knights won, 25-23. In game two the Wolfpack won, 28-21, tying the series at 1-1. The Wolfpack now lead the series 2-1.