Wallace leads way in Blue-Gray Classic

Friday, December 26, 2003

TROY, Ala. -- Butchie Wallace wrapped up his college career healthy and happy, good news for the oft-injured and overshadowed Marshall running back.

Wallace rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, lifting the Blue squad to a 31-24 victory in the Blue-Gray All-Star Classic on Thursday in the stadium where he broke his right hand three months earlier.

"I'm just happy to come back down here and get a win," said Wallace, injured late in Marshall's 33-24 loss at Troy State in September. "All my bad memories here -- at least most of them -- are wiped out.

"It's something I'm going to cherish forever."

Long a Christmas Day tradition, the Blue-Gray game was canceled last year because officials couldn't line up a sponsor. It had been held 50 miles north in Montgomery since 1938, matching college seniors from the North (Blue) against those from the South (Gray).

Wallace, who played for Blue offensive coach Bob Pruett at Marshall, was a late addition to the roster and responded with touchdown runs of 3 and 17 yards in a 3:34 span of the fourth quarter. His long list of injuries at Marshall included a sprained ankle, concussion, pulled leg muscles and back problems.

Wallace arrived in Alabama on Tuesday night to replace Southern Illinois running back Tom Koutsos, who hurt his right knee in practice. Representing a program more known for its passers than runners, Wallace capitalized with seven carries for 33 yards.

"He got here late, then got to play and scored two touchdowns," Pruett said. "That's an awesome deal for him.

"He was sitting by the phone when we called and got here the next day."

The Blue squad broke a 17-all tie early in the fourth on Wallace's 3-yard score.

San Jose State quarterback Scott Rislov was 3-of-3 passing for 62 yards on the drive, including a 34-yarder to Penn State tight end Matt Kranchik to the 3. Wallace rambled into the end zone again on the next drive.

Rislov, who threw for 3,016 yards and only five interceptions this season, was equally efficient in the All-Star game to earn overall MVP honors for the Blue. He was 16-of-24 for 195 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown to Nebraska-Omaha's Ryan Krause in the second quarter.

Derrick Ward of Ottawa College in Kansas was the Blue's offensive MVP with five catches for 59 yards and 38 yards on five rushes. Syracuse linebacker Rich Scanlon won defensive honors with eight tackles.

The Gray's overall MVP was Cody Spencer, a North Texas linebacker who had a game-high 13 tackles.

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