Here's part one of our position-by-position review of this weekend's Senior Bowl, a game that ended up as a 45-16 blowout for the South team. Today we're looking at the offenses from both teams.
The big story all week has been potential top five picks Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma and Josh Allen from Wyoming trying to establish themselves against top-level competition.
The Heisman Trophy-winning Mayfield wasn't expected to play but led a field goal drive, with three short passes and one dropped in seven attempts. He also had a pass batted down at the line, which is significant because the last time that happened was in the second game of the season.
Allen was okay in the second quarter but opted to play into the second half and it paid off as he was lights-out in the third quarter. The best aspect of Allen's performance was the touch he showed on each of his touchdown passes and one other downfield completion. His accuracy was also good and he made a few plays with his legs, including this one:
The North otherwise failed to get anything done on offense as potential late rounders Western Kentucky's Mike White, Kurt Benkert from Virginia and Richmond's Kyle Lauletta boosted their draft credentials by combining for 416 yards and five touchdowns.
Lauletta's three second half touchdown passes earned him the MVP award but his most spectacular play was this one:
In last year's game Kareem Hunt ran for 115 yards but still lasted until the third round and then went on to lead the league in rushing in his rookie year. Who would step up this year?
There were some good performances by running backs in this game. Kalen Ballage from Arizona State rushed 10 times for 57 yards, utility man Jaylen Samuels from NC State picked up 51 yards on 12 touches and Iowa's Akrum Wadley had 38 yards on eight carries, although he did also drop a fourth down pass.
However, the top back was the nation's leading rusher, Rashaad Penny from San Diego State. Penny got behind the defense for a 73-yard touchdown catch and also rushed for 64 yards on nine carries. This was his best run:
After there weren't many good offensive line performances in last week's all-star game, the offenses had the edge this week.
UTEP's Will Hernandez, who had impressed all week with his aggressiveness, was particularly impressive. He sealed off his man well on a short yardage run and helped pop this run with a pulling block from left guard:
Michigan center Mason Cole held up well and Iowa's Sean Welsh impressed with his run blocking at left guard. Welsh was much better when playing inside this year as he started games at both guard and tackle.
Army's Brett Toth, who has been an excellent run blocker all year, struggled in pass protection.
With so much yardage being racked up in the passing game, there were plenty of receivers who had big days, led by LSU's DJ Chark whose 160 yards on five catches included this long touchdown:
While arguably the best receiver on display - Oklahoma State's James Washington - didn't have any catches, Michael Gallup of Colorado State helped himself with a good performance. He had three catches for 60 yards, including a leaping grab, and also showed some good abilities after the catch on this play:
UCF's Tre'Quan Smith scored the opening touchdown and ended up with five catches for 79 yards. Without doing anything spectacular, he showed solid route running and hands:
Finally, Miami's Braxton Berrios may only have caught one pass, but it was a good game for him as he racked up 70 yards on five punt returns, including a 34-yard dash up the sideline.
The two top tight ends, Wisconsin's Troy Fumagalli and South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert, each sat out the game with minor injuries and Miami's Chris Herndon and Adam Breneman from UMass also didn't play due to injury, giving some others a chance to show up. Penn State's Mike Gesicki had three catches for 39 yards but also wasn't able to bring in a couple of catchable balls.
Three lesser prospects in Deon Yelder from Western Kentucky, Central Michigan's Tyler Conklin and Notre Dame's Durham Smythe each had a touchdown. Of the three, Smythe was probably the most impressive, both as a pass catcher and a blocker. Indiana's Ian Thomas made this nice play, although it was his only catch:
Finally, Oregon's Tanner Carew had a monster performance as a long snapper. Carew had two nice tackles and downed two punts inside the 10.
Tomorrow, we'll wrap up our review with a look at the most notable defensive performances...