Four touchdowns in the first 15 minutes of the game had the West pointing towards a blowout win but the East fought back.
After a Clayton Thorson (Northwestern) touchdown pass to Xavier Burke (Virginia Tech) cut the lead to 31-24, the East held the West to a three-and-out and got the ball back with 1:54 left in the game.
The blowout was on early thanks to a big play by the defense from the West, Xavier Washington recovering a fumble by Thorson at the East 35.
The next series, Tony James (Oregon), fumbled and Jamardre Cobb (Arizona) recovered and two more big plays by Kaaya, a 40-yard pass to Brown and a 15-yard pass to Shay Fields for a touchdown, put them up 14-0.
After a three-and-out by the East, Jonathan Lockett (USC) took a punt back 81-yards for a touchdown and the West led 21-0 with 2:37 still left in the first quarter.
But instead of rolling over, the East got things going, using an 8-play drive which ended with a two yard touchdown run by Thorson to cut the lead to 28-7.
Neither team got on the board in the third quarter, and both offenses were silent for much of the fourth before the East scored with just under five minutes left.
The East had one last chance and after two straight completions by Thorson, he threw two straight incompletions, including one on fourth down that Bobby Okereke (Stanford) broke up, to give the ball back to the West.
Thorson was named by the Semper Fidelis Bowl as the MVP for the game after throwing two touchdown passes and rushing for one and finished 16-for-26 for 211 yards.