GREENVILLE — The second annual College All Star Bowl was dominated by defense in the Nationals’ 12-6 win over the Americans on Friday evening at Furman’s Paladin Stadium.
The game is for draft eligible senior collegians from across the nation hoping to further their hopes of playing professionally.
Washington cornerback Greg Ducre scored the game’s lone touchdown on a 30-yard interception return in the second quarter after Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price tried to make something out of a bad snap that rolled some 20 yards behind him.
After Price whirled and threw toward the sideline, Ducre stepped in and then weaved his way through several would-be tacklers to the end zone.
Furman kicker Ray Early kicked two field goals for the Nationals while South Carolina State kicker Nick Belcher kicked two for the Americans. The Americans had one final drive to try and take the lead in the final minutes, but were denied.
“We only had one practice together, but the defensive unit seemed to play pretty well and holding them to no touchdowns was pretty good,” said Clemson linebacker Spencer Shuey, who played for the winning team.
Shuey joined three other Clemson teammates in linebacker Quandon Christian, running back Roderick McDowell and long snapper Phillip Fajgenbaum in the game. Former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd (Nationals) and former South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (Americans) served as honorary captains. No Gamecocks competed.
McDowell had one of the stronger offensive performances with seven rushes for 53 yards.
“My line blocked great so I can’t take all the credit,” McDowell said. “This game really allowed me to showcase my skills. On a stage like this for scouts to see stuff like this, that I can make all the runs, it can help get me get to that ultimate level. And this week was not just playing the game, but I got to sit down and talk to some scouts about me and this week is really going to help me.”
None of the four former Tigers were invited to the NFL Combine and the outing served as another audition for pro personnel prior to Clemson’s March 6 pro day.
Shuey said the biggest positive was “just getting the opportunity to come out here and play with some of the best from all over the country and kind of expand your confidence in yourself to be able to compete against these guys who will have a shot at the next level.
“They did a great job with having scouts throughout our hotel and there during practice and they were there for us to talk to and introduce ourselves and I definitely feel I had some great meetings with them.”
McDowell has been working out in Atlanta with several other former Clemson players in preparing for a hopeful NFL career and really enjoyed the chance to team up with his Tigers for a game under head coach Danny Ford.
“We came away with the win, but really having a lot of fun was all that mattered,” McDowell said. “It felt good getting my brothers all together on one sideline, having fun and laughing, and this is the type of bowl game we’ll talk about later on and it will really bring back a lot of memories.”
Shuey added it was “definitely bittersweet playing with them for the last time. It’s been a great five years with them and it was nice to be able to squeak another game out of it.”