Missouri Western's Hill shines in All-Star Classic
Michael Hill received a surprise invitation to the first Raycom College Football All-Star Classic, but looked like he belonged.
Hill rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries to lead the Stripes to a 31-3 victory over the Stars six days after getting the phone call that a spot had come available.
''You never know what to expect coming from Division II,'' said Hill said. ''You hear about the SEC and all that speed.
''I thought I could come compete and play with speed, too. I didn't know what to expect. I guess I fit in.''
He did indeed, flashing speed, moves and big-play ability in a game that featured 22 players from the Southeastern Conference.
Hill was chosen offensive MVP by NFL scouts and had runs of 44 and 49 yards for two of the game's biggest plays, both setting up his touchdowns.
The defensive MVP was Charles James of FCS Charleston Southern, who had two tackles and a pass breakup that resulted in a third-quarter interception.
James said he was ''surprised and shocked'' to be named MVP and didn't mind not getting the pick himself.
''As long as my teammates can get it and make a play on the ball, I'm happy,'' James said. ''That's what I'm here for.''
The game was played at Cramton Bowl, long home to the now-defunct Blue-Gray game traditionally played on Christmas Day.
Purdue's Robert Marve also had a strong performance in the showcase game for pro football prospects. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Stripes.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Hill bounced outside for the 44-yarder to make his first big impression.
''It was supposed to be a short-yardage play,'' Hill said. ''I went up inside and the whole line was low so I could see, and I spun right. I should have scored.''
He did the next play, anyway, on a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Hill added a 6-yard score midway through the fourth quarter after not logging a carry in the third.
Hill rushed for 2,168 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He finished second in the voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy given to Division II's top player and fared well against defenders from bigger schools, too.
Marve connected on a pair of long passes to set up scores for the Stripes.
He fired a 54-yarder to Notre Dame's Robby Toma in the third quarter but his third-down pass into the end zone was broken up by Air Force's Alex Means to force a field goal.
Later in the quarter Marve found Roy Roundtree of Michigan with a 39-yard, over-the-shoulder pass down the right sideline. Marve then threw for a 13-yard touchdown to Tyron Laughinghouse of Division II Saint Augustine.
Marve, who ranked third in the Big Ten in passing efficiency last season, also had a ball poked out from behind for a fumble on another promising drive, and the pick came off a deflection.
''I thought I had a very strong game with a couple of funny plays,'' said Marve, who started 11 games for the Miami Hurricanes in 2008 before transferring.
He said he wasn't surprised by the performances of Hill and Laughinghouse.
''Those guys were playing well throughout the week so it was no surprise to me,'' Marve said. ''
Virginia's Perry Jones added 42 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Pittsburgh's Tino Sunseri was the Stars' most productive quarterback. He was 8-of-18 passing for 105 yards but was intercepted twice.
Derrick Washington of Division II Tuskegee - about a half-hour from the stadium - gained 57 yards on 10 rushes for the Stars. Jacksonville State's Washaun Ealey, a Georgia transfer, had seven carries for 42 yards. Jaron Brown of Clemson was the game's leading receiver with six catches for 63 yards for the Stars.
Defensively, Prentiss Waggner (Tennessee) and Brandon Hepburn (Florida A&M) had interceptions on back-to-back plays in the third quarter, both off deflections.
Mississippi State's Cameron Lawrence had a game-high seven tackles for the Stripes.