AUSTIN, Texas - What was supposed to be a blowout was instead a narrow, hard-fought 21-14 victory for Team USA's under-19 team in a second annual battle with an international team tagged "The World" on Wednesday night at Westlake High School.
The only thing more surprising than the result was the absolutely frigid conditions - temperatures dipped into the low teens - but USA used 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns by Texas-bound Joe Bergeron to gain its second straight win.
USA won last year's game 17-0.
Bergeron scored on a 56-yard run off a fake punt with 7 minutes, 49 seconds left in the second quarter and added a 13-yard TD reception from Kevin Hogan late in the third quarter to give USA a 21-6 lead.
But The World team, made up of players from 15 countries and four continents scored on a 40-yard bomb from Ben Rossong to Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren with 2:41 remaining. A two-point conversion pass from Rossong to Tevaun Smith, who earlier scored on a 79-yard kickoff return, cut the gap to 21-14.
The World got just one more play the rest of the game but Rossong's pass fell incomplete.
The game finished off a festive six-day event that also featured a Signing Day Breakfast earlier Wednesday morning. Of the 46 players who signed letters of intent, 45 were from Team USA, so a rout appeared likely.
After Rutgers-bound Savon Huggins capped the USA's opening drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, the runaway was on.
But Smith took the ensuing kickoff 79-yards down the USA sideline for the touchdown and this contest was nip and tuck the rest of the way.
Only about 1,000 fans braved the bitter conditions, but those who stuck it out saw a good, clean, competitive game. USA outgained The World 319-131 but had trouble converting in the red zone.
Much more on this game and a USA-World wrap-up later.