R.J. Bowers' pursuit of the NCAA's all-time rushing record came up 88 yards short against Westminster.
Bowers held to 61 yards as Wolverines fall to Westminster
GROVE CITY, PA, October 21, 2000--R.J. Bowers' run to glory was put on hold Saturday as the Westminster Titans held the soon-to-be NCAA rushing king to a career-low 61 yards on 23 carries and dealt the Grove City Wolverines their first shutout loss in 38 games.
Westminster (6-1) defeated host Grove City (3-4), 23-0, outgaining the Wolverines in total offense, 433-149.
With 6,871 career rushing yards, Bowers now needs 88 yards to break college football's all-time career rushing record (6,958), held by Brian Shay, who played at Division II Emporia State from 1995-98. The 6-1, 238-pound senior will chase the record next week when Grove City travels to Bethany College for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
"The biggest disappointment is not (not) getting the record, but not getting 100 yards," said Bowers, who came in with an NCAA-record 32 straight games over 100 yards. "That is a streak I wanted to keep alive. But, hey, it was a great run while it lasted. Next week, we'll start a new one."
Bowers, playing in front of an overflow crowd of 4,400 at Robert E. Thorn Field, rushed for 40 yards on 17 carries through the first two quarters. He carried the ball just six times in the second half for 21 yards as the Wolverine offense was on the field for just over eight minutes. Westminster possessed the football nearly twice as long in the game, 38:17 to 21:43, sustaining three drives for over six minutes and another for almost five minutes.
Grove City, who was last shut out in Week Nine of the 1996 season against Denison, advanced the ball into Titan territory just twice in 10 possessions.
After a scoreless first quarter, Titan junior place-kicker Jon McCartney put Westminster ahead 3-0 with a 32-yard field goal three minutes into the second, capping a seven-play, 55-yard drive.
Grove City started its next drive from its own 35-yard line, but Bowers fumbled on first down after a four-yard gain and the Titans took over at the 39. On a third-and-10, Westminster senior quarterback James Graham connected with senior wide receiver Brian Lipiello on a 39-yard touchdown pass. McCartney added the point after to give the Titans a 10-0 lead with 11:23 left before halftime.
Westminster chewed up 4:50 on its next possession and bumped its lead to 13-0 at intermission on a 27-yard field goal by McCartney.
McCartney added his third field goal of the day from 37 yards out late in the third and Ciavarra rounded out the scoring with a four-yard touchdown run with 4:36 left in the game.
Ciavarra finished with 140 yards on 33 carries, while Graham completed 17 of 28 passes for 186 yards.
Senior OLB Don Augustine and senior free safety Adam Jones paced the Titans with nine tackles apiece, including two each for loss. Grove City junior strong safety Michael Volchko recorded a team-high 17 tackles for the Wolverines, including six solos.Go back to Wolverine Football Home Page