MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- It took Penn State half a season to come together. Nittany Lions running backs Eddie Drummond and Omar Easy needed just a week to mesh with their all-star team.
Drummond and Easy both had short touchdown runs, lifting the Blue to a 28-10 victory in the Blue-Gray All-Star Classic on Tuesday.
''This is a bowl game for me right here,'' said Easy, voted the Blue's outstanding offensive player. ''It was fun. We meshed as a team from all over the country and came together for a win today.''
The Penn State players were relegated to the all-star game after the team lost its first four games before a strong finish came up a win short of bowl eligibility.
It was a long day for the offenses, with the Gray squad committing five turnovers and none of the quarterbacks reaching 100 yards passing.
After Penn State's runners put the Blue in charge, Algie Atkinson of Kansas returned a fumbled punt 11 yards for a touchdown with 4:10 remaining to seal the game. It was an appropriate way to decide a game dominated by the defenses from the outset.
''We jelled as the week went on, almost as if we had been a team for a while here,'' said Northwestern linebacker Kevin Bentley, the Blue's MVP with 16 tackles and an interception. ''We just wanted to get a victory and that's what we got.''
The Gray managed just one first down in its first three fourth-quarter possessions before Atkinson's score. The Gray's opening drive of the final quarter ended with Tyree Foreman losing a fumble on a fourth-and-2 run from the Gray 42. The Blue's David Hills then missed a 30-yard field goal.
Mississippi State defensive back Shawn Byrdsong was MVP for the Gray, showing he could make the switch from safety to cornerback. He deflected seven passes and intercepted another.
Of the four quarterbacks, only Alabama State's Darnell Kennedy (99 yards) and Idaho's John Welsh (91) approached 100 yards.
''The offense needs a little bit more time to get clicking than the defense, and I guess the all-star game showed that,'' said Kennedy, a Montgomery native.
Easy had a 2-yard score in the first quarter and Drummond added a 3-yard score late in the third quarter.
Todd DeLamielleure of Hofstra claimed the defensive honors for the Blue with 10 tackles, one for a loss.
Foreman, of Virginia, rushed for 56 yards to earn offensive honors for the Gray. Nate Morrow of Vanderbilt (15 tackles) was voted the team's top defensive player.
The Blue's Welsh completed 8 of 19 passes, with one interception. David Neill of Nevada was 1-for-9 for 20 yards.
The Gray's Kennedy, a Montgomery native, was 9-of-27 with an interception. Greg Zolman of Vanderbilt was 12-of-23 for 67 yards.
Defensive players provided the biggest numbers. Bentley's interception set up the game's first touchdown.
Byrdsong also had a punt return for a touchdown negated by penalty before fumbling his final attempt at a return. He was still happy with the MVP trophy.
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