You often hear that it’s good defense that wins championships. The same can be said for the 2015 NFLPA Bowl game as the National team, coached by Mike Martz, put the clamps on Mike Holgrem’s American squad and shut them out. Terrell Watson, who rushed nine times for 55 yards, was named MVP of the game.
National received the opening kick of the game and methodically drove 80 yards down the field in 12 plays. The key play was of the drive was UTEP QB Jamieill Showers scrambling 19 yards on 3rd and 6 from the American 47 yard line. FB Channing Fugate, of Eastern Kentucky, fumbled a handoff from the 2 yard line but luckily his teammate Terrell Watson, running back from Azusa Pacific, scooped it up and took it across the goal line for the touchdown
The American team had issues trying to move the ball; merely picking up one first down on each of the first two possessions. The National defense, coached by Ron Meeks, proceeded to force the American side to three consecutive three and outs.
“We spent a lot of time this week talking to them about fundamentals and technique specific to corner play, safeties, linebackers – all those things.” said coach Martz, “Ron Meeks and his staff did an exceptional job.”
The American were held to 178 total yards in the game.
Overall it was pretty much a hapless football game in the first half.
On the National’s 4th drive, Miami (OH) QB Andrew Hendrix picked up a first down on 4th and 1 with a QB sneak for 2 yds. Toledo kicker Jeremiah Detmer then kicked a 33yd fg to make it a 10-0 score.
The National’s first 2nd half possession was much like their first possession of the game, in that they easily moved the ball down the field and scored. Brandon Bridge went 3 for 3 passing with 40 yards. Channing Fugate atoned for his earlier fumble by punching it in with a 1 yard run.
The highlight of the game came on the subsequent American possession when Syracuse RB Prince-Tyson Gulley caught a screen pass and ran towards the left sideline and was met by crushing hit from Southern Mississipi’s DB Emmanuel Johnson.
Southern Mississipi CB Emmanuel Johnson just lowered the boom on RB Prince-Tyson Gulley @NFLPABowl #NFLPABowl— ProPlayerInsiders (@PlayerInsiders) January 17, 2015
“It’s just football,” stated Johnson. “Looking at my assignment, let my player come to me, and then you know… it eventually came to me. It feels good man. I was kind of doing some of that this week during practice and my coaches were getting on me for coming up so fast. They said ‘You can do that during the game.’ And when game time came. I just let it loose. ‘Practice how we play.’ That was our motto, and that’s what we did today.”