SEC players show out at Senior Bowl

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In a game that featured 34 players from the Southeastern Conference, the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl was dominated by two former SEC standouts.

An old friend of the Alabama-heavy crowd at Ladd Peebles Stadium, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts was undoubtedly the star of the show from his days as a national championship winning quarterback of the Crimson Tide.

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But Hurts largely struggled in his return to the Yellowhammer state, getting sacked multiple times on his opening drive and later throwing a second quarter pick. Finally in the fourth quarter, he salvaged his pre-draft audition with a beautiful fade route touchdown pass to Tennessee’s Jauan Jennings.

Hurts was not only outshined by Senior Bowl MVP Justin Herbert out of Oregon, but also Michigan’s Shea Patterson, a familiar face from his days as an Ole Miss Rebel. He gave the North team its first points of the game with this 75-yard touchdown pass to TCU running back Darius Anderson on the first play of the second quarter. “It was just something we were working on all week. Coach Bev dialed it up, and the kid from TCU made a hell of a play. It’s been awesome. Just enjoying this process and looking for every opportunity to prove myself,” said Patterson.

Two of Patterson’s former Ole Miss teammates made their presence felt on the defensive line, those being Josiah Coatney and Benito Jones. The latter Wayne County alum was especially active, drawing several double teams throughout the course of the game. “Just physical. Just keep finishing on every play. Just hard work. Just coming from the background of keep fighting, and that’s what Mississippi is all about.”

Mississippi State also had two representatives in the form of offensive lineman Tyre Phillips and safety Brian Cole II. Cole was actually the one that set up the Hurts touchdown pass with a timely fourth quarter fumble recovery, showing out for Starkville and the entire Magnolia State. “Man, our Mississippi State guys, Mississippi, Ole Miss guys got a chip on their shoulder. And when I came out to Mississippi, I found that out very quickly, so it’s just the passion and the love for the game. I know everybody in Mississippi has that, so we’re always going to fight regardless.”

Despite the efforts of the players from Mississippi, the South team came up short to the North in a 34-17 defeat.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.

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