— The Sports Xchange —
Quarterbacks dominated at the Senior Bowl on Saturday. Just not the quarterbacks that most observers expected.
Kyle Lauletta and Mike White outplayed their more heralded counterparts, combining for four touchdown passes to lead the South to a 45-16 romp over the North in Mobile, Ala.
The North featured two of the top quarterback prospects in Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, but Lauletta of FCS program Richmond and Western Kentucky’s White stole the show.
Lauletta, named the game’s Most Valuable Player, finished 8 of 12 for 198 yards and three touchdown passes — all coming after Allen and the North sliced an 18-3 halftime deficit to two points in the third quarter.
Oklahoma’s Mayfield, expected to be the top quarterback taken — perhaps at No. 1 overall — in this year’s NFL Draft, played in just two series and finished 3 of 7 for nine yards and a sack.
Allen, of Wyoming, overcame a dismal first half (2 of 5, 17 yards) with a strong third quarter. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark had a huge game with five receptions for 160 yards, including a 75-yard strike from Lauletta one play after Rosen’s 27-yard scoring pass to Durham Smythe drew the South within 18-16 with just over six minutes left in the third.
Lauletta then led the South on a nine-play, 95-yard march that he capped with a 1-yard pass to Deon Yelder to double up the North 32-16.
Marcus Davenport of Texas-San Antonio, who sacked Mayfield earlier, put the game out of reach by returning a fumble on the next play from scrimmage to make it 38-16 with 33 seconds left in the third.
The South rolled up 288 yards to 166 for the North in the opening 30 minutes, with 218 coming via the tandem of White and Benkert. White wound up 8 of 11 for 128 yards and a TD.
White capped a six-play, 81-yard march with a 14-yard touchdown pass to UCF’s Tre’Quan Smith, hitting him on a slant over the middle to open the scoring just over six minutes into the contest. Rashaad Penny had the big play on the drive with a 34-yard run.
Mayfield was sacked by Davenport on his opening series but led the North to a field goal on its second possession, although Kalen Ballage did the heavy lifting with runs of 16 and 14 yards before Michael Badgley nailed a 50-yarder.
White hooked up with Chark for a 63-yard strike, only to have Daniel Carlson miss a 33-yard field goal. Carlson atoned for that by converting a 53-yarder as time expired in the first quarter for a 10-3 lead.
After the North went three-and-out, the South extended the lead on its ensuring possession. Benkert escaped the pocket, rolled to his left and tossed a short pass toward the left sidelined to Penny, who raced 73 yards to make it 18-3 with 12 1/2 minutes left in the half.