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2022 Senior Bowl

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Notebook: Biggest takeaways from Senior Bowl


The National Team beat the American Team, 20-10, in 2022's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Here are some observations from the telecast:

*Liberty quarterback Malik Willis started the game for the American Team. Like the other quarterbacks, Willis was often harassed by pass rushers and forced to use his legs. He went 2-of-4 for 11 yards, but showed off his arm strength on a couple of bullets towards the sideline. He also showed his speed rushing four times for 58 yards. Teammate Sam Howell showed off his strong arm and mobility throughout the day, too. He went 6-of-9 for 67 yards and ran for 29 yards and a touchdown.

*National quarterback Kenny Pickett's poise and polish were also easy to spot. He tried to get the ball out on-time and in-rhythm to his receivers. He completed all six of his passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Teammate Desmond Ridder threw two touchdown passes and flashed his ability to throw on the move.

*Arizona State's Rachaad White, Baylor's Abram Smith, Alabama's Brian Robinson, Florida's Dameon Pierce and Utah's TJ Pledger – all downhill runners - finally got to participate in a live tackling situation. Pierce lowered his shoulder in the open field and lowered the boom on a cornerback during the game, while Abram Smith had 67 total yards and a receiving touchdown.

*North Dakota's State Christian Watson had just one catch for 38 yards but he drew a pass interference penalty and drew extra defensive attention. Velus Jones Jr. capped an impressive week with four catches for 53 yards. He also caught a very good punt from Penn State's Jordan Stout over his shoulder.

The annual college all-star game was played Feb. 5 at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

*Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson led the National Team with 62 receiving yards, including one for a touchdown on a long run after the catch on a play-action bootleg. He also helped spring a long run up the middle with a block.

*The defensive line dominated much of the game for both teams. Cincinnati's Myjai Sanders was in the backfield for much of the game, and tracked down Jones Jr. on an end around, showing off his speed. He also helped combine on a sack with Ohio State's Tyreke Smith, with both winning off opposite edges on the same play.

*Minnesota's Boye Mafe (6'3, 255) had a strong game off the edge. He not only showed off his ability to bend the edge, but he also flashed his violent hands. Western Kentucky's DeAngelo Malone (6'3, 234) was also impressive. A converted wide receiver, he was able to put the top tackle in this year's game (Trevor Penning) on skates and push him into the quarterback's lap.

*Georgia's Channing Tindall showed off his linebacker speed on special teams, coming all the way across the field to track down a faster return man near the sideline. Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen had a nice tackle for no gain.

*Penn State's Jesse Luketa had a pair of sacks. He is Mycah Parsons' former roommate at Penn State.

*Oklahoma defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey capped his strong week with a very active performance, including a sack.

*University of Connecticut's Travis Jones did was he did all week at practice – dominate with his size and strength. He was impossible move in the run game, and on one pass play he walked Memphis center Dylan Parham into the backfield and pushed him into quarterback Bailey Zapke for a sack.

*Tennesee's Alontae Taylor showed good ball skills coming up with an underthrown pass for an interception.

*Baylor safety JT Woods sealed the win with an interception. Teammate Jalen Pitre showed his movement skills and tackling ability in space, much like he did in practice.

*Michigan State's Connor Heyward (5'11, 239) played H-Back most of the week, but also ran the ball and fought through multiple tackles to convert a 4th-and-1 late in the game.


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