Curry gets two sacks in Senior Bowl
HUNTINGTON — Midway through the third quarter of Saturday's Senior Bowl, the NFL Network flashed a graphic with the title "Made Money."
Underneath was a group of football players who had improved their draft stock in Mobile, Ala., this week. Who had turned heads enough to make scouts scratch off their previous notes and replace them with more recent information.
Vinny Curry, the lone Marshall representative, was on that list.
His performance confirmed it.
The reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year collected two sacks, deflected a pass and hurried Brandon Weeden into an interception as Curry's North squad defeated the South, 23-13, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
"It was crazy," Curry said during a phone interview Saturday evening. "It was a good experience. I definitely jumped myself up there. I think I accomplished a goal of mine.
"That would be to become the best defensive lineman up here."
Curry didn't make his first appearance until the South's second offensive possession.
Rocking his signature No. 99 jersey, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive end kept repeating his signature moves.
Within moments of touching the field, Curry collapsed on Baylor's Terrance Ganaway for a 4-yard loss after he was tripped up in the backfield.
On the very next snap, Curry zipped by 6-5, 346-pound Cordy Glenn of Georgia and got a hand on a Weeden screen attempt for Florida's Chris Rainey.
"The only thing running through my head was just to go out there and play my game," Curry said of his initial thoughts. "I just wanted to play hard."
Less than two minutes after he said, 'Hello,' he nearly said 'Goodbye' to Weeden, the heralded quarterback from Oklahoma State.
On a second-and-10 from the North's 43-yard line, Curry took advantage of a Weeden slight stumble out of his snap and rerouted the signal caller's scramble.
Weeden eventually surrender to Curry, who simply gobbled him on the ground.
This prompted the NFL Network's commentators to start talking.
"Third and fourth round grades were floating around prior to this," said Mike Mayock, the station's draft guru. "Then, during the week I heard a lot of people taking second round about Vinny Curry. I love his motor and he's got some natural pass-rush instincts. I think he's got a chance to be a starter in the NFL."
"I know Brandon Weeden isn't a sprint champion," added Charles Davis. "But I like the way Vinny Curry redirected on that play."
But it was the next snap when Curry's presence was felt even more.
The Neptune, N.J., native bull-rushed former C-USA rival and UAB tackle Matt McCants to a blind-side wallop of Weeden as he tossed toward the right sideline. Because of Curry's hit, Weeden's pass was under-thrown and Utah State's Bobby Wagner easily made an interception.
"Actually, I thought I sacked him," Curry said. "But then I saw the pick. I said, 'I'll take that too.'"
Wagner's interception earned him MVP honors.
But Curry couldn't have been all that far behind in the voting.
In the third quarter, he collected sack No. 2 by putting his hands directing through Florida State's Zebrie Sanders, a modest 6-5, 308-pounder, shaking off a bump from Georgia center Ben Jones and throwing Arizona's Nick Foles to the turf.
It was the exclamation point on an afternoon that did nothing but increase Curry's chances come late April.
"I was just trying to come up here and do what I've been doing for the past couple years at Marshall," he said. "Same player, same helmet, same results here."
Curry will now head back to training in Atlanta in preparation for the NFL Combine in late February.