Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Franks' late TD pass helps National team to win in Senior Bowl
Quarterback Feleipe Franks of Arkansas (8) passes the ball during the National team practice for the NCAA college football Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Former Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks led a pair of scoring drives and helped the National team defeat the American team 27-24 Saturday at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
Franks, who played the entire second and fourth quarters, completed 9 of 16 passes for 122 yards. He threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kenny Yeboah of Ole Miss with 11:57 remaining to give the National team a 27-16 lead.
Yeboah’s catch was the game-winning score after the American team scored a touchdown in the final minute to cut the lead to three points.
Franks’ touchdown to Yeboah was set up by another long completion a play earlier when Franks threw 29 yards to Louisville’s Dez Fitzpatrick on third-and-3. Franks was 3-for-3 for 55 yards on the touchdown drive.
Franks completed three long passes — his 22-yard pass into the wind caught by Arizona State’s Frank Darby on fourth-and-8 set up a second quarter field goal — but he underthrew his receivers on multiple short passes.
Franks opted for check downs on at least six attempts, primarily to running backs. Of Franks’ seven incompletions, two were dropped and one was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Franks also had a 7-yard completion and a 6-yard run nullified because of penalties. He was sacked once.
Former Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger started ahead of Franks for the National team and led two scoring drives in the first quarter, his only quarter of play. Ian Book of Notre Dame was the National team’s quarterback in the third quarter.
Ehlinger was 4 of 10 for 42 yards and threw a touchdown pass. Book was 5 of 11 for 48 yards and was intercepted once.
Kellen Mond of Texas A&M started for the American team and completed 13 of 25 passes for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mond, who was named the game’s MVP, split snaps with former Wake Forest and Georgia quarterback Jamie Newman.
American team quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama was held out due to an ankle injury.
Fitzpatrick caught two of Franks’ passes for 42 yards as part of a six-catch, 90-yard performance that earned him offensive player of the game. Fitzpatrick also dropped a pass from Franks one possession after Franks overthrew Fitzpatrick when he was open on third down.
Franks, who began his career at Florida before transferring to Arkansas and starting nine games in 2020, was the Razorbacks’ only player invited to this year’s Senior Bowl. He joined Brandon Allen (2016) and Tyler Wilson (2013) as Arkansas quarterbacks to play in the game in the past decade.
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