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Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta steals show in Senior Bowl; Baker Mayfield leaves early

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The Senior Bowl can be a terrific opportunity for top senior prospects from the lower divisions of football to make a serious impact in the NFL draft cycle. On Saturday in Mobile, Alabama, it was Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta who shined the brightest in the annual Senior Bowl. Lauletta passed for a game-high 198 yards and three touchdowns to help the team of top seniors from the South blow out the North, 45-16.

Lauletta, the CAA Offensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-CAA, took advantage of the opportunity against some of the top senior players college football had to offer in the top all-star game college football has. Lauletta connected on some big plays to LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark (who had five receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown). Lauletta was named the Senior Bowl MVP for his performance.

Lauletta also showed off the ability to send a laser into the end zone when needed.

The South also got a big game out of Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White, who completed eight of his 11 pass attempts for 128 yards and a touchdown. It was White who was one of the stars of the first half of the game. San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny was also making plays all day long, ending his final college game with 64 rushing yards on nine attempts and one 73-yard touchdown reception (after Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert made a nice play to avoid pressure).

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen had a slow start to the game once coming into the game for the North, but he was in control in the second half. Allen threw both of his touchdowns in the third quarter before ending his day with 158 yards and 9-of-13 passing.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield started the game for the North team but appeared just for a couple of offensive series before leaving the game late in the first quarter and then leaving the stadium entirely at halftime. After completing three of seven pass attempts for nine yards, Mayfield’s exit from the Senior Bowl came quickly. Mayfield reportedly left the stadium to return home to be with his mother, who was recently hospitalized for a heart condition. Washington State quarterback Luke Falk left Mobile, Alabama on Friday to attend the funeral services for former teammate Tyler Hilinski.

South Alabama safety Jeremy Reaves had a solid outing in his home stadium. Reaves was tasked with covering Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki in coverage, and Reaves broke up two passes intended for one of the top tight ends in the country, including one on a two-point conversion try in the third quarter. Not too many players managed to cover Gesicki that well the past couple of seasons. Reaves also came up with an interception of Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee later in the third quarter.

Other players having solid outings included Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage (10 carries for 57 yards), Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup (3 receptions for 60 yards), and UCF wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (5 receptions, 79 yards, 1 TD).

There was a moment of comedy late in the game when UCF’s Shaquem Griffen was doing a sideline interview for the NFL Network. While discussing his chances of being invited to the NFL Combine and his tackling techniques, Griffen was alerted he was supposed to be on the field for punt coverage, which sent Griffen scrambling to get on the field before being pulled back to the sideline.

After having great weather all week long, the Senior Bowl moved to a running clock in the second half as the weather continued to turn nasty. And now, another Senior Bowl is in the books as some of the top seniors in college football now officially move on to pursue their NFL dreams.

The streak continues: LSU comes back to beat No. 10 Auburn in Baton Rouge (again)

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18 years. It’s been 18 looooong years since Auburn beat LSU in Baton Rouge, a streak that dates back to before Tigers on either side were even born.

Despite their best efforts, the visitors from Alabama will have to see that streak hit the two decade mark after a crazy second half comeback by the home team led to a 42-yard field goal by Connor Culp that ended up giving LSU a remarkable 27-23 victory to shake up the SEC and College Football Playoff races.

Auburn struck first on Saturday afternoon to establish a pretty good early tone to the game, scoring on four of their first five drives to jump out to a 23-7 lead in the second quarter. Given how well the offense was rolling and the ability of their defense, it was looking pretty good for the No. 10 team in the country to finally exorcise some demons.

Not so fast Tigers, the… uh, other Tigers were not about to roll over.

Grabbing some momentum behind big play machine Russell Gage (71 yards rushing, 28 receiving), LSU seemed to snap out of their offense malaise and make things interesting with each passing drive. QB Danny Etling found Gage just before halftime in the corner of the end zone for a key score and then the team really made things interesting when D.J. Chark returned a punt 75 yards to start the action in the 4th quarter.

That cut the lead to two points but the team wasn’t done yet. LSU got the ball again after a bad punt and moved right into field goal position, which Culp promptly nailed following a timeout in order to give the team the lead. The kicker later tacked on another shorter field goal after the defense forced a turnover on downs to all but seal the sweetest victory of Ed Orgeron’s short tenure as the full-time head coach.

While the outcome will be talked about quite a bit around the state of Louisiana for the crazy comeback and nobody-saw-it-coming win streak for LSU, things will not be quite so pleasant for Gus Malzahn on his return home after Auburn managed just 55 yards in the second half before a few plays at the very end. The Tigers simply didn’t move the ball at all after emerging from the locker room and saw their normally top-notch defense give up several big plays down the stretch.

The loss puts Auburn behind the eight-ball in the playoff chase as well, although it won’t completely knock them out of the SEC West race provided they get a little help and can beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl at the end of the year. Based on what we saw Saturday though, that will be quite a stretch after some impressive results following their first loss of the year.

Either way, on a wild weekend in college football, a third top 10 team went down on the road to add even more drama to the season as we hit the halfway mark.