Azusa Pacific’s Watson stars in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
CARSON, Calif. (AP) Terrell Watson and Channing Fugate had short touchdown runs to help the National team beat the American squad 17-0 in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday.
Watson, a Division II star at nearby Azusa Pacific, had a 2-yard scoring run and finished with nine carries for a game-high 55 yards. He was selected the game MVP.
”Coming from a D-II school the competition might not be as good,” Watson said, ”but at the end of the day we’re all human and God gave me the ability to play. No matter who you line me up in front of, it shouldn’t matter.”
National coach Mike Martz was one of many impressed with Watson’s performance.
”He belongs in the NFL,” Martz said. ”I don’t think there’s any question in my mind after seeing him all week he belongs. Somebody in the league is going to get a terrific player.”
Malcolm Agnew, from Southern Illinois, had eight carries for 53 yards.
Fugate, from Eastern Kentucky, had a 1-yard touchdown run. Brandon Bridge of Southern Alabama completed 3 of 5 passes for 51 yards.
The National limited the American to 178 yards and surrendered just nine first downs.
”The enthusiasm that this group brought here is a unique opportunity that years ago didn’t exist,” Martz said. ”On both teams that was impressed upon and they took advantage of it.”
Cole Stoudt of Clemson completed 7 of 8 passes for 48 yards to lead the American team. Marcus Murphy of Missouri ran for 47 yards on just three carries.
”It was fun for me,” American coach Mike Holmgren said. ”There’s a lot of value to an event like this. It was a great experience for me and my coaching staff.”
The National team opened with an 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, although it needed a lucky bounce to get into the end zone. Quarterback Jameill Showers of UTEP fumbled the exchange with Watson at the 2, but Watson picked up the loose ball and plunged across the goal line.
”For me being a D-II player,” Watson said, ”it was a big deal to come out and get a touchdown and show you can compete at the higher competition level.”
The National team made it 10-0 on Toledo kicker Jeremiah Detmer’s 33-yard field goal with 3:16 left in the half.
In the second half, the National team forced an American punt on the opening possession. On the ensuing drive, the National offense marched 64 yards in seven plays, capped by Fugate’s 1-yard touchdown run.
”There was a lot of work to be done this week,” Martz said, ”and the kids did a remarkable job.”