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2021 Senior Bowl Game Recap

by Mike Maher | @mikeMaher | Featured Writer
Jan 31, 2021

The Senior Bowl is always a huge event from an NFL scouting standpoint, and it’s an even bigger deal in 2021 due to the shortened college football season and the cancelations of both the East-West Shrine Bowl and the NFL Scouting combine. This year, NFL teams only have (in some cases) limited 2020 game tape, Senior Bowl week, pro days, and virtual interviews available for evaluating these NFL prospects.

The practices throughout the week are just as important as the game itself for NFL scouts, but the actual Senior Bowl game has more mainstream eyes on it. Players can significantly improve their draft stock at the Senior Bowl, and we see several players seemingly come out of nowhere to become household names every year. Other players reinforce what scouts and fans already think of them. This year was no different.

Leading up to Saturday’s game, we posted our 2021 Senior Bowl Practice Notes recapping the week of practice and the players who stood out. Now, let’s get into the actual game and see who managed to stand out on national television. And if you’re interested in talking about the Senior Bowl or the NFL Draft, feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher.

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First Half: National 13, American 0

We saw four quarterbacks in the first half of the 2021 Senior Bowl, with Sam Ehlinger starting for the National team and Kellen Mond starting for the American squad. They would be replaced by Feleipe Franks and Jamie Newman, respectively, but would both return in the second half. Mac Jones did not play for the American team due to an ankle injury he sustained during the week, but he had an excellent week of practice and is definitely one of the biggest risers coming out of Senior Bowl week. Jones not playing meant more snaps for Mond, and he made the most of them throughout the day. More on Mond later.

Our first score of the day was a field goal from National’s Riley Patterson to make it 3-0 in the first quarter. A few minutes later, National would go up 10-0 on the American team when Sam Ehlinger connected with Demetric Felton on this 12-yard touchdown pass:

Another Riley Patterson field goal put the score at 13-0 to end the first half. None of the four quarterbacks particularly impressed in the first half, while running back Michael Carter followed up an impressive week of practice with a big day that included this long run:

Second Half: National 27, American 24

After a forgettable first quarter, Kellen Mond came back out in the second half and really settled in. The American team kicked off the scoring in the second half with an excellent throw and catch from Mond to wide receiver Amari Rodgers in the end zone to cut the score to 13-6. Mond immediately followed up that pass with a run into the end zone for a two-point conversion to make it a 13-8 game. You can watch both plays in the clip below.

Five minutes later, the American squad would take a 16-13 lead thanks to a four-play, 42-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Mond to wide receiver Josh Palmer. Mond also completed another pass to Amari Rodgers for a successful two-point conversion.

Trailing 16-13, the National team went on a 12-play, 75-yard drive with Ian Book under center that was capped by this incredibly tough touchdown run from Michael Carter that looked like it was going to be about five yards short of the end zone:

The extra point made it a 20-16 National lead heading into the fourth quarter. With Feleipe Franks back under center, the National team drove down to score another touchdown. This 21-yard touchdown pass from Franks to tight end Kenny Yeboah made it a 27-16 National lead:

Trailing 27-16 and with time running out, the American team drove 65 yards in six plays and cut the score to 27-24 with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jamie Newman to wide receiver Trevon Grimes and a two-point conversion run by running back Kylin Hill.

Final: National 27, American 24

Top Performers

Kellen Mond took home the Senior Bowl MVP award while running back Michael Carter was likely the runner-up after his strong performance. Here are the top performers on offense from Saturday.

  • QB Feleipe Franks: 9/16, 122 yards, TD
  • RB Michael Carter: 8 carries, 60 yards, TD; 2 catches, 15 yards
  • WR Amari Rodgers: 4 catches, 23 yards, TD, two-point conversion
  • WR Dez Fitzpatrick: 6 catches, 90 yards
  • WR Shi Smith: 3 catches, 57 yards
  • WR Quintin Morris: 3 catches, 52 yards
  • WR Cornell Powell: 2 catches, 42 yards
  • WR Trevon Grimes: 2 catches, 33 yards, TD
  • RB/WR Demetric Felton: 2 catches, 28 yards, TD
  • TE Kenny Yeboah: 2 catches, 27 yards, TD

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Mike Maher is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive, follow him on Twitter @MikeMaherand visit his Philadelphia Eagles blog, The Birds Blitz.

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