Nigel Malone shines while Collin Klein struggles at East-West Shrine Game

The East-West Shrine Game couldn’t have gone much better for former Kansas State cornerback Nigel Malone.

He jumped in front of a pass just before halftime and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown that gave his team a 21-3 lead. When the game was over, he was named Most Outstanding Player on defense.

“I didn’t exactly finish how I wanted to in the Fiesta Bowl,” Malone (told the Tampa Bay Times), referring to his Wildcats’ 35-17 loss to Oregon on Jan. 3. “This meant a lot to come out in my last, real college game and come up with a victory, especially with a great group of guys.”

It’s hard to say how one play might impact his NFL chances (he was projected as a possible late-round selection heading in) but a pick six in a college all-star game certainly can’t hurt. Malone had a knack for interceptions with the Wildcats, and proved he could still make them in a new setting. He also must have felt relieved to hold the ball all the way across the goal line.

The game didn’t go as well for former K-State quarterback Collin Klein, though.

Instead of boosting his NFL stock, he struggled to find a rhythm. He completed 5 of 12 passes for 43 yards and also threw an interception.

From the Associated Press game recap:

Klein acknowledged he didn’t have the kind of day he wanted, but said his confidence isn’t shaken moving forward.

“I felt pretty good. We were a little rough, made a lot of mistakes and penalties that kept getting us in bad down-and-distances,” Klein said. “But I think I got better and I learned a lot this week. We’re moving on.”

Again, it’s hard to tell how much impact one game will have on a college player’s draft chances, but Klein was certainly hoping for more.

Both Malone and Klein have a few months left to impress NFL scouts.

The next group of former K-State football players will be in action on Saturday at the Senior Bowl, with Arthur Brown and Chris Harper suiting up for the North team.