2020 Senior Bowl Game Recap
After observing the efforts, via social media, that Jim Nagy and his scouting staff were putting into this year’s Senior Bowl I could not wait to see the type of talent that showed up to prove themselves against the best seniors and graduates that college football had to offer. The anticipation built as I watched top player after top player accept their invitation to the Senior Bowl. Now that everything has wrapped up and players are making their way home or to the facilities they will be training at as they prepare for the combine and/or their pro days we will recap what happened in the culmination of all this hard work; the 2020 Senior Bowl.
The scoring got underway at the 10:45 mark of the first quarter when former Oregon QB Justin Herbert found former Florida RB Lamical Perine on a screen pass that Perine took 16 yards for a TD. This would end up being the only scoring play of the first quarter. The South entered the second quarter with a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the action started quickly. The North squad scored a TD on the very first play of the second quarter. Shea Patterson faked the handoff to RB Darius Anderson in the backfield then found Anderson on the wheel route down the left sideline. Anderson was able to outrun the defense and score; replay, however, did appear to show that he stepped out of bounce, but nothing was overturned.
In the second quarter, former Utah edge defender Bradlee Anae took over the game. Anae had sacks on back to back plays. Following his efforts to end the previous drive with those sacks, Anae’s first play of the next drive was him getting to Jalen Hurts enough to cause a wobbly throw ending in an interception by LB Malik Harrison. Later, Anae added to his impressive day by getting his third sack of the day in the third quarter. Anae had the best day amongst the defensive players on game day. He demonstrated good strength, and very good burst and hand usage on his way to his 3 sack day.
Offensively speaking, after the first play the struggle to score continued throughout the second quarter for both teams. It was, instead, a defensive showcase for Anae and Vildor among others. South CB Kindle Vildor’s best play came when he intercepted North QB Shea Patterson midway through the quarter. The only other scoring in the first half was a field goal for each team taking us into halftime with a 10-10 tie.
In the second half, the North squad’s offense came to life. On their first drive of the half Denzel Mims took a reverse for a huge chunk play where he flashed his speed, and big-play ability whenever he touches the ball. Former Baylor RB Hasty finished the drive off with an 11 yard TD run where he showed off his vision by seeing the cutback lane and racing in for the score and a 17-10 lead.
Another defender who really balled out on game day and deserves a spotlight was former Syracuse edge defender Alton Robinson. He finished the day with two sacks and several other times he created pressure on the QB in the backfield.
Back on the offensive side of the ball, North QB Anthony Gordon finished off a mid-third-quarter drive with a TD pass to Chase Claypool from the 1-yard line. Claypool ran a nice corner route that left him wide open for the easy TD pushing the score to 24-10. Claypool had a nice week and I could see him adding 15-20 lbs and playing a Darren Waller type TE role.
After the North scoring drive, the North defense was able to create another big play when former Notre Dame CB Troy Pride was able to catch an interception off a bad throw because of pressure on the QB created by Joshua Uche. Uche is another defender who showed up during the game in big situations as well as having a great week of practice.
Anthony Gordon capitalized on the turnover with the North’s final TD of the game on 4th down from the 5-yard line giving the North a 31-10 lead. Gordon was able to scramble to his right slightly and find Antonio Gandy-Golden as he outran his defender while he crossed the field. Gordon had a great game finishing with the two TDs and 8/12 passing for 69 yards.
The final TD of the game came with under 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter. After the South squad created a turnover QB Jalen Hurts and the South offense took just 3 plays to drive the 22 yards for the TD. Hurts found Jauan Jennings, the former Tennessee receiver, on a fade route to bring the score to 31-17.
After that score, the game wrapped up with the final play of the game being a 50-yard field goal for the North roster that kicker Tyler Bass absolutely crushed leaving us with the final score of 34-17.
If you step back and look at the score it would appear that the Senior Bowl wasn’t a very exciting game. However, the result of the game isn’t as important as what the individual players put on film. Several players were able to make great plays and display their traits while others struggled in the game and throughout the practice week. In my next article, we will discuss those winners and losers of the practice week and game.