Bowers helps lead North
to victory at 2001 Hula Bowl
GROVE CITY, PA, January 20, 2001--The longest rush at the 2001 Hula Bowl was credited to the only Division III player in uniform.
Grove City senior fullback R.J. Bowers, just the seventh Division III player to earn a spot in the Hula Bowl's 55-year history, advanced an inside handoff 15 yards in the first quarter, setting up the North Team's first touchdown. Bowers finished with 21 yards rushing on six carries and caught a three-yard pass as the North defeated the South, 31-23, at War Memorial Stadium on the island of Maui.
Bowers, 6-1, 245-pounds, was the starting fullback for Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer's North squad. He hauled in a three-yard pass from Heisman Trophy finalist Drew Brees of Purdue on the North's first play from scrimmage.
The three-time All-American, who will turn 27 on February 10, was the second-leading rusher for the North Team, which gained just 70 of its 347 total offensive yards on the ground. The North's Montrell Coley of Hampton University picked up one more yard than Bowers, rushing for 22 yards on five attempts.
Bowers, who was named the NCAA Division III Player of the Year earlier in the day, hopes his exposure at the Hula Bowl and Blue-Gray Classic all-star games will raise his stock as the NFL Draft approaches. Nearly two-thirds of last year's Hula Bowl participants were drafted or signed as free agents by the NFL.
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