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R.J. Bowers was the starting fullback for the Blue team at the 2000 Blue-Gray All-Star Classic.

Bowers shines for North squad at Blue-Gray All-Star Classic

Blue-Gray Game Official Site

MONTGOMERY, AL, December 25, 2000--Grove City senior fullback R.J. Bowers caught three passes for 34 yards, including a one-yard TD grab that nearly proved to be the game-winner, at the 63rd annual Kelly Tires Blue-Gray All-Star Classic in Montgomery, AL on Christmas Day.

Bowers, the most prolific running back in college football history with 7,353 career rushing yards, made two of his three catches on critical fourth-down plays in the final minutes.   Trailing 33-30, Bowers kept the North squad's drive alive on a fourth-and-two from their own 24, taking a pass on a swing-out route from Blue team MVP Mike McMahon of Rutgers and rambling 23 yards.  Moments later, McMahon hit Bowers in the flat on a fourth-and-goal from the one, giving the Blue team a 37-33 lead with 2:15 remaining.

The South rallied on its next possession and won, 40-37.  

Bowers' first catch set up the first score of the game as he and McMahon connected on a second-and-four from the Gray team's 11-yard line.  Bowers hauled in a flare pass at the 10 and ran down to the two, setting up a TD run on the next play by New Mexico State's Chris Barnes. 

The 6-1, 241-pound All-American had caught three passes in a game just twice in his four-year career.  He made seven total grabs in his senior season, three in his junior year, five as a sophomore and nine as a freshman.  

Bowers started the game and played on alternate North team possessions, which were scarce in the first half due to rules implemented to keep the game close.  The Blue squad, which led 23-6 at intermission, had the ball for just nine of the first 30 minutes.

Bowers, who carried the ball twice in the game for one yard, was used primarily as a blocker and receiver in mainly split back and I-formation sets.

Nearly 300 professional scouts and administrators were in Montgomery for five workout days leading up to the Blue-Gray Classic, which was televised live on ABC.  

Bowers will spend a few days at his home in West Middlesex, PA before preparing for the Hula Bowl on Jan. 20 in Maui.

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