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Jennings Helps Spur South Squad to Victory

January 26, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Rashad Jennings led all running backs with 41 yards on nine carries, helping the South team to a 35-18 victory at the 2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl.

Rashad Jennings led all running backs with 41 yards on nine carries, helping the South team to a 35-18 victory at the 2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl.

2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl Final Stats

Liberty's Rashad Jennings dotted his collegiate football resume with one more victory last Saturday, as the running back led all ground gainers and helped his South team to a 35-18 victory at the Under Armour Senior Bowl, played at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

The South squad, under the direction of head coach Jack Del Rio and his Jacksonville Jaguars' coaching staff, jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

The all-star team, made up of the nation's best senior FBS and FCS players, capped off the game's longest drive at 16 plays, when Alabama's John Parker Wilson called his own number and the quarterback scampered four yards for a score to give his squad a 7-0 lead at 4:52.

Jennings picked up a fourth of the South's yardage on the 80 yard drive, beginning with an 18 yard sweeping run for a first down near midfield. Wilson handed the ball off to Jennings on the ensuing play, where the senior picked up two additional yards.

Liberty's star-studded running back nearly found the end zone the next time the senior was called upon. Following a 13 yard run by West Virginia's Pat White to get the South team down to the North's five yard line, Jennings was handed the ball on the next two plays.

On the first, the Forest, Va., native picked up a yard, while the second saw the senior come within reaching distance of paydirt. Jennings tried to break the plane of the goal line, but the rushing effort was one yard short, as Cincinnati's Connor Barwin halted the attempted scoring effort.

LSU's Quinn Johnson finished off a drive with the one yard burst, pushing the South's advantage to 14-3 with 9:42 left to play in the opening half. Both squads found the end zone once more during the final minutes of the second quarter, allowing the South to take a 21-10 lead into the locker room at the intermission.

The South continued to dominate in the second half, holding the North scoreless in the third quarter despite a 10:21 time of possession total during the 15 minute period of the North.

The South dented the scoreboard twice in the second half to secure the victory, including a 39 yard pass play from White to Ole Miss' Mike Wallace and a fumble recovery for a score by Ole Miss' Peria Jerry.

Jennings was handed the football four additional times during the second half, including his second longest jaunt of the evening. The senior picked up a first down on a 12 yard run early in the fourth quarter, helping the South drive deep into the North's territory, that eventual led to seven additional points on a sack and the Jerry fumble recovery in the end zone.

After 60 minutes of play, Jennings finished the contest with nine rushing attempts for 41 yards, leading all running backs in net rushing yards. The only running back to carry the ball more times than Jennings was N.C. State's Andre Brown, who rushed for 31 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown, on his way to a Most Outstanding Player honor.

Jennings' selection to the Under Armour Senior Bowl is the third in Liberty program history. The running back joins Wayne Haddix, a defensive back who played in the 1987 game, and Eric Green, a tight end who played in the 1990 contest, as Liberty Flames who have participated in the prestigious contest.

Jennings, a consensus first-team All-America selection this past season who rushed for a program record 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns, is one of numerous collegiate players who are eagerly awaiting April 25-26, 2009, when the annual NFL Draft is held in New York.

Jennings will be attempting to become the sixth player in program history to be selected in the NFL Draft and the first since 1990. That year, Liberty had two selections in the NFL Draft, as Eric Green (TE) was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round and Donald Smith (DB) was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the 10th round.