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January 5, 2008

Red's big plays can't overcome Bowers

Under Armour Gallery | More All-Star Games Coverage | Army All-American Bowl Coverage

In Saturday's Under Armour All-Star Game the Silver Team rallied with 14 points in the second half to defeat the Red Team 17-14.

Five-star safety Will Hill had hoped that he would be able to take some bragging rights with him to the University of Florida from this game but that wasn't the case for the Red defensive standout.

With that being said, he was still happy with the way he and his teammates performed on Saturday afternoon.

"I thought we played pretty well," Hill said. "We just had some mistakes and we should have capitalized on some things. I am proud of my team though, we came out and played hard."

While the Red Team fell short on the scoreboard, it gave fans plenty of highlights.

Quarterback Mike Glennon supplied them through the air and on the ground. The N.C. State commitment took home team MVP honors after passing for 88 yards and scoring a touchdown on a one-yard rush in the second quarter.

"It was because of all of my teammates," Glennon said. "The linemen were giving me time to make plays. The wide receivers were making plays when they got the ball. This is the ultimate team sport and without them I couldn't have done anything."

Glennon had a favorite target on the afternoon, and for good reason.

Five-star wide receiver Julio Jones lived up to his superstar status and he did so right from the opening series.

The Alabama product had six receptions for 97 yards, including three in quick succession on his team's first drive.

"The guy is definitely something special," Glennon said. "He has some talent and I think he is going to be in the NFL someday. I have never thrown to a receiver as good as him."

Numerous times on the day, Jones was lined up opposite of Florida State commitment Terrance Parks. Parks said he enjoyed the battle with the premiere wide receiver at the event.

"It was great," Parks said. "I looked forward to the battle. It was great competition. I loved the competition."

Parks shared what makes Jones such a difficult match-up on the field.

"He is so strong," Parks said. "He is fast. He has good hands. He runs good routes. He has a combination of everything that makes him a great wide receiver."

As for Jones, he was disappointed that his team fell short on the scoreboard and felt as though he and his teammates could have done more on the afternoon.

"I felt like I did alright," Jones said. "They started to double-team me at the end so we just needed someone else to step up and make some big plays. Overall I thought we did okay."

The offense only managed to put up seven points but it did get some help from its defensive teammates to keep the game close.

Miami commitment Ramon Buchanan and Florida commitment Janoris Jenkins led the defense with five tackles each. Omar Hunter added two big sacks for 15 yards for a defense that racked up four sacks for 31 yards.

Hill, who finished with three tackles, said that the competition level was amazing all afternoon and he felt as though he measured up with a three tackle performance.

"You had the best of the best," Hill said. "It was all good. I came out and had a couple big hits and felt like I made some plays."

Hill's most impressive play of the afternoon was one of two interceptions recorded by the Red Team. In the final seconds of the first half, he picked off Clemson commitment Kyle Parker's hail mary heave to the end zone and returned the pass 62 yards before being tripped up by an offensive lineman.

If he had been able to get around that lineman, Hill may have been celebrating an improbable half-ending touchdown with his teammates.

"I knew I was going to the house but I came up short," Hill said. "I was disappointed in that."

The biggest play on the defensive side of the ball was supplied by South Carolina commitment Charles Whitlock.

Whitlock picked off Parker in the fourth quarter with just more than eight minutes remaining. He took the interception and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Red Team a late 14-10 lead.

After Silver retook the lead in the final minutes of the game, Red's supply of big plays ran dry.

One reason the offense struggled to do more down the stretch was that it had no answer for Silver Team MVP DaQuan Bowers, who was impressive throughout the week of practices and once again proved why the Clemson Tigers have landed a stud on the defensive line.

"He is a great player," Glennon said. "I am not looking forward to playing him every year. He is a very, very good player. I have seen him all week long. Earlier this week I was talking to some of the guys on the other team and I asked them who this Bowers kid was. They were sure to tell me I would meet him on Saturday."

The Red Team offensive line did slow down Bowers, who finished the game with two tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass break-up, and three quarterback hurries.

Late in the fourth quarter however, he proved to be too much to overcome.

"I thought our guys did a good job on him," offensive lineman Zebrie Sanders said. "We had him pretty well the first three quarters but I guess in the fourth quarter it meant a lot more to him and he gave 110-percent and it showed. He made some big plays down the stretch. He is a great player."

Even in defeat, the Red Team proved that Bowers was far from the only great player on the field.

Under Armour Gallery | More All-Star Games Coverage | Army All-American Bowl Coverage



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