Cent. Florida 43, Moscow 6
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ They were routed 43-6, but the Moscow Bears were thrilled to get the one thing they wanted against the University of Central Florida on Saturday night: One touchdown.
The TD came with 10 minutes remaining when Bears quarterback Andrei Arsentiev hit Sergey Shavyrin with a 61-yard pass, triggering a celebration on both sidelines.
″I left like I was in heaven,″ Shavyrin said with help from a translator. ″Central Florida is the best team we’ve ever played. We wanted to score. When I caught the pass, I was so happy.″
The Russians picked up football in 1989. To learn the game, they have toured the United States playing semi-pro and local amateur teams. Central Florida was the first college team to line up against any team from the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The Knights scored on the opening kickoff by running a double reverse that fooled the Bears. Cornell Francis fielded the kickoff, then handed off to Robert Alexander. As Alexander raced down the east sidelines for the 80-yard score, the Russians were still chasing Francis along the west sidelines.
″We wanted to get out front early, then have some fun,″ Central Florida coach Gene McDowell said. ″We got to play our second- and third-string guys. We got a lot of work in. We had a lot of fun.″
The Knights had 290 total yards while Moscow had 102. The Bears, however, were victims of four interceptions.
″They can compare as one of the strongest teams we’ve ever played,″ center Oleg Nikishin said. ″I learned to understand the game a little better. I learned to see other players and what happens.″
The Moscow players will spend a week in the Central Florida area, touring attractions and working with the Knights’ coaching staff in private clinics.
″We’d love to see America,″ Arsentiev said. ″But most important is to practice. This game opens the eyes of the world to football.
″If they would come to Russia and play, that would be the most happiest day of my life,″ he said. ″Our dream is to play American football with the Americans.″