R.J. Bowers ran away with the NCAA's all-time rushing record in a 20-14 overtime win over Bethany.
Bowers breaks NCAA rushing record in OT win at Bethany
BETHANY, WV, October 28, 2000--Let it be known that at 2:14 ET, Grove City College senior R.J. Bowers became the all-time leading rusher in the history of college football.
Bowers ran for 128 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns as the Wolverines won their third overtime game of the season Saturday, beating host Bethany, 20-14. Grove City improved to 4-4 overall and secured second place in the Presidents' Athletic Conference at 3-1. Bethany fell to 5-4, 1-3 in the PAC.
The record-breaking run occurred on a one-yard dive with 10:27 left in the second quarter. The game-winning run came on a third-and-eight in the first overtime as Bowers powered in from the 11, giving him 6,999 rushing yards in his career.
"It made the record a whole lot sweeter to do it in a victory," said Bowers, staring into a sea of media that included eight television cameras and nearly 20 newspaper photographers. "I share this record with my offensive line who made this day possible."
Bowers broke the rushing record set by Brian Shay of Division II Emporia State, who amassed 6,958 yards from 1995-98. He also tied Shay's all-divisions career touchdown record of 88, which broke the Division III standard of 86 held by Division III Carey Bender of Coe College. Bender's D-III record of 529 career points was also shattered as Bowers upped his total to 538 points.
"Nothing has hit me yet," said Bowers. "I'm sure that at some point it will sink in. It was just a special day for me and my teammates. We all share in the victory and the record."
Bowers wasted little time chipping away at the 88 yards needed to break the record. On his second carry of the day, the West Middlesex, PA native rambled 67 yards to the Bison three and scored on the next play to give the Wolverines the early lead.
Bethany tied the game at the half, 7-7, and took a 14-7 lead in the middle of the third quarter.
Grove City got even with 9:12 left in the fourth on a one-yard plunge by Bowers. The drive started when senior CB Brock McCullough (Spruce, PA/Purchase Line) recovered a fumbled punt return at the Bethany 15.
The Bison mounted a drive late in the fourth, taking the ball to the Grove City 23, but Wolverine junior LB Jonathan Forbes (New Martinsville, WV/Magnolia) blocked Scott Henderson's 40-yard field goal attempt with 4:51 left in regulation. It marked Forbes third blocked field goal in as many weeks.
Junior FS Josh Sachleben (Ringtown, PA/North Schuylkill) snuffed out Bethany's first overtime possession with an interception on a third-and-15 from the 30.
Junior HB Michael Orlando (Wickliffe, OH/Wickliffe) helped the winning cause with 114 yards rushing on 16 carries. Junior SS Michael Volchko (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban) recorded his team-high fourth interception of the season.
Grove City outgained Bethany in total offensive yards, 302-284.
Bowers will have the chance build on his NCAA-record rushing total as the Wolverines close the season with home games against Carnegie Mellon on November 4th and Alfred on the 11th.
"What's important to me is winning the next two games," added Bowers. "But I'm going to savor today at least until Monday."
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