Marvin Kloss’ final act in a USF helmet couldn’t have been more fitting.
After spending two seasons as arguably the Bulls’ most formidable scorer, the kicker found himself in a familiar position with the East All-Stars during the 90th East-West Shrine Game on Saturday at Tropicana Field.
Kloss, who led all USF players this past season with 62 points and was a Lou Groza Award finalist in 2013, accounted for all but six of the East team’s points with four field goals and was named the game’s Offensive MVP in a 19-3 victory.
“It’s a little different than at USF because the offense here didn’t really have a problem getting down in field goal range,” Kloss said. “(My team) told me that before the game, and the one thing they said was ‘Do your job.’ … That’s the mentality I have when I go out there. Just go out and keep it simple.”
Kloss’ afternoon, however, was anything but simple.
Aside from the pressures of performing well before numerous NFL and CFL scouts, a national spotlight and a robust crowd of 22,296, Kloss found himself in an unfamiliar situation even before his first field-goal attempt.
The long-snapper, Miami offensive lineman Shane McDermott and his holder, Baylor punter Spencer Roth, had never played those respective positions before Saturday, which seemed to put Kloss at an immediate disadvantage.
It didn’t matter. Kloss, who earned the nickname “Money” for his accuracy (31-of-40 in his collegiate career), drilled all four attempts from 39, 30, 47, and 19 yards and one extra point with relative ease.
“Great game by Kloss, man,” former USF teammate Andre Davis said. “He had, what, four field goals? He did his thing.”
Davis finished his collegiate career with three catches for 36 yards for the East, including a 19-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
East coach and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary echoed Davis’ praise.
“The kickers (Kloss and Roth) were great,” Singletary said. “I was thankful that they were as consistent as they were. … They did a great job.”
Kloss’ memorable performance may have also helped his standing in one other major category: April’s NFL draft.
Rated as the seventh-best kicker eligible for the draft by NFLDraftScout.com, Kloss said he’ll be attending a combine specifically for kickers in Arizona in a few weeks, before heading back to USF in March for the team’s pro day.
But Saturday, the future took a backseat to the present. It was Kloss’ day.
There was no better example than the moments following his PAT after Dominique Brown’s (Louisville) one-yard touchdown run with 3:49 left in the game.
As Kloss strolled toward the sideline one final time, McDermott ran up to tap him encouragingly on the helmet. Almost on cue, the hit song “I Like How It Feels” by Enrique Iglesias began blaring from the Trop’s loudspeakers.
Even the always-focused Kloss couldn’t help but crack a smile behind his green facemask.
“I never would have guessed this in a million years,” Kloss said, grasping his small crystal MVP trophy in one hand and his white, yellow and green USF helmet in the other.
“Just to have the opportunity to get this much exposure throughout one week and then this game, it’s truly been a blessing,” he said.