Reese’s Senior Bowl
The 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl was packed with talent. The South team dominated the North team 45-16. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield headlined the game. But this game wasn’t only about the Heisman Trophy winner. For the North team, they had Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee, and Mayfield to lead them in the first half. The first two quarters of play were dominated by the South team, as they led 18-3 at the break.
Both teams were coached by NFL staffs. For the North team, they were led by Vance Joseph and the Denver Broncos coaching staff. The South team was led by Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans coaching staff. The Reese’s Senior Bowl was a quarterback showcase on Saturday as the top prospects showcased their skills one last time as collegiate athletes.
North Team Standouts
Mayfield only played two drives, and finished 3-of-7 passing for nine yards. As unimpressive as it may sound, the NFL hopeful looked comfortable throwing the ball. Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage stole the show for the North team through the first two quarters. He rushed seven times for 45 yards, but trucked defenders along the way. The South team defense made Ballage work hard for every yard he gained. But he fought his way through for a solid first half. Switching to defense for the North, Mike McCray from Michigan really stood out. McCray was approaching the quarterback on every play, and ended the half with 4 total tackles.
South Team Standouts
For the South team, two players stood out in the first half. San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny took a short pass 73 yards for a huge touchdown to give his team the big lead. But Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White also stood out. An NFL hopeful, White looked poised in the pocket and made every correct throw. He finished the day 8-of-11 for 128 yards and one touchdown. LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark led the receiving stats until Penny’s touchdown reception. He said that he “knew we would share playing time” when asked about his playing time during the game. On his 75-yard touchdown, Chark stated, “ I was excited to get in the endzone.”
Second Half Comeback Rally
Josh Allen led the North team on a comeback rally to begin the second half. He threw a 16-yard pass to Tyler Conklin from Central Michigan to cut the deficit to just eight. Then Allen threw a beautifully-placed ball to Durham Smythe from Notre Dame that made it a two-point game.
UTSA standout Marcus Davenport played a stellar game. He recorded a fumble recovery touchdown in the third quarter that extended the big lead for the South. Amid all the hype around him and the criticism through the week, Davenport played up to the hype.
The South team brought it all in the second half. Not long after the fumble recovery touchdown, South Alabama’s own Jeremy Reaves picked off Tanner Lee. The entire second half was mostly in part dominated by the South. Though Allen started a comeback, the North team never had enough to come back and get a win.
The final game for these seniors was memorable. Just to be able to play in a nationally-televised game to end their career is something they will never forget. The Reese’s Senior Bowl provides great talent every year.