For a player who wasn't even supposed to be in the Blue-Gray all-star game, Kelvin Simmons sure did have a big impact.

He turned out to be the hero, completing 16 of 25 passes for 171 yards in the Gray's 17-10 victory Saturday. He almost was the goat, too, having one pass picked off the end zone and throwing another interception late in the game that gave the Blue a chance to win it.Ultimately, it may not matter that he was named the Gray's MVP or even how he performs in the Jan. 22 Senior Bowl at Mobile. At 6 feet tall, the Troy State quarterback likely does not have the height to play in the NFL.

"I know I'm short, but I'm used to overcoming tall odds," Simmons said. "There's nothing I can do about my stature. I've just got to keep doing the things I did during the season."

Simmons, who originally was signed by Alabama but failed to qualify academically, wound up at Troy State, about 40 miles south of Montgomery. He led the Trojans to the Division I-AA semifinals this season in their first season on playoff eligibility.

Still, the nagging question concerns his height.

"I think I have a chance to play in the NFL - if they'll give me a chance," he said. "It's kind of hard to judge how the scouts judge you, but I think I had a pretty good day."

Simmons was a late addition to the Gray roster, taking the place of injured Auburn quarterback Stan White, and he was at the controls when the Gray scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns less than a minute apart.

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The first touchdown was all Simmons. He tied a Blue-Gray record by completing seven straight passes, accounting for all but 4 yards on the Gray's 79-yard drive. His final pass was a 3-yarder to Dorsey Levins of Georgia Tech to make it 10-10 with 10:23 remaining.

"The linemen gave me the time," Simmons said, "and I kept picking up the right reads."

The next touchdown had nothing to do with Simmons. Washington's Beno Bryant fumbled for the second time in the game, Georgia's Greg Tremble scooped it up and ran 52 yards down the left sideline to the Blue 4.

Simmons finally threw an incompletion, but it didn't matter as Maryland's Mark Mason took a pitch and cut to the middle for the winning 4-yard touchdown run with 9:25 left in the game.

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