The 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl kicked off Saturday afternoon at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, pitting the National Team against the American team with coaches staff made up of members of various NFL franchises. For the seniors and college graduates participating in the game, Saturday was the culmination of three days of practice as they put on the pads one last time as collegiate players in attempt to impress scouts and executives from all 32 NFL teams.
National team K Chad Ryland got things started kicking a 32-yard field goal to get the first points of the game, making the score 3-0 in favor of the National team. The offense was moving down the field effectively with strong running by RB Evan Hull and a goof push by the offensive line. QB Jake Haener completed several passes on the drive, including what would’ve been a TD to WR Jayden Reed, but WR Grant Dubose got called for an offensive PI, making them settle for a field goal.
A penalty stalled the American team’s first drive of the game, forcing them to punt. P Adam Korsak boomed a punt right next to the goal line with S Jammie Robinson being the first man on the scene, keeping the ball out of the end zone with CB Tyrique Stevenson downing the pint inside the one-yard line.
Both teams exchanged drives ending in punts until the National team sustained a drive into American territory, headlined by a catch-and-run by Evan Hull for a first down. K Chad Ryland converted on a 37-yard field goal to end the first quarter with the National team up 6-0.
The American team went down the field early in the second quarter thanks to RB Eric Gray got featured on this drive in the passing game as well as on the ground. QB Clayton Tune did some work on the ground as well with his legs, scrambling to get into field goal range for Georgia K Jack Podlesny to kick a 34-yard field goal to make the score 6-3.
The National team answered right back, scoring on a QB sneak by QB Malik Cunningham with a two-point conversion pass from Cunningham to TE Payne Durham to make the score 14-3. Durham had a big catch to get the National team on the one-yard line before the one-yard plunge. SaRodorick Thompson Jr. got a fair amount of usage as well on the drive, getting outside for a nice run up the left sideline as well as a run up the middle for a couple first downs.
DL Karl Brooks got a sack on American QB Max Duggan when the National team took the field on defense after the touchdown, forcing the American team to go three-and-out right before halftime.
Cunningham moved the National team into field goal range with his legs as well as his arm right before the half, scrambling outside the pocket for a nice pickup of yardage on the ground as well as completing a pass to TE Josh Whyle for a catch-and-run into American territory. Ryland converted a 41-yard field goal as time expired to make the score 17-3 at halftime.
The American team opened the first drive of the second half with a fumble by RB Chris Rodriguez after EDGE Lonnie Phelps Jr. knocked the ball out and LB Daiyan Henley recovered for the National team deep inside American territory.
EDGE Ali Gaye beat OL McClendon Curtis off the edge for a sack on third down, forcing the National team to kick a field goal. However, Ryland missed the field goal wide to the left, keeping the score 17-3 in favor of the National team.
Haener completed a nice pass to WR Tre Tucker on the left sideline to get the ball into American territory on their next drive. The National team couldn’t convert on their third down attempt and rolled out Ryland for a 42-yard attempt that he put through the uprights, making the score 20-3.
American QB Tyson Bagent got onto the field for his first drive of the game and immediately drove the offense down the field before the end of the quarter, going up-tempo and completed passes to WR Jalen Wayne and Will Mallory. The drive stalled when Bagent nearly threw a interception to S Daniel Scott, forcing the field goal unit onto the field. However, Podlesny missed the chip shot field, keeping the score 20-3.
The American team finally got into the end zone at the start of the fourth quarter on a pick six thrown by Cunningham into the hands of CB Anthony Johnson Jr. Johnson stepped in-front of the route and took it to the house, making the score 20-10 with the National team on top.
EDGE Isaiah Land beat OT Blake Freeland around the corner for the sack, forcing a turnover on downs for the American team, giving the National team the offense back near midfield.
The National team extended their lead late in the fourth quarter with Haener and WR Michael Wilson connecting on a 44-yard strike to extend their lead to 27-10 with just over four minutes to play.
National CB and Mobile native Jakorian Bennett sealed the game with a late interception in the final minutes. The National took the field to kneel out the rest of the clock, clitching the National team’s third-straight victory by a final score of 27-10.