Kyle Lauletta more than held his own in elite quarterback company.
Lauletta, a standout at Richmond in the Football Championship Subdivision, threw three second-half touchdown passes and Texas-San Antonio’s Marcus Davenport scored on a 19-yard fumble recovery to lead the South team to a 45-16 victory over the North in the Senior Bowl on Saturday.
Lauletta capped the weeklong audition for NFL teams in strong fashion, thriving amid more heralded passers from the North. That group included Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner from Lake Travis High School, and Wyoming’s Josh Allen, a potential high first-round draft pick who also had a huge third quarter.
“We knew that we were underdogs coming into the game for whatever reason,” said Lauletta, the game’s most valuable player. “I guess that kind of motivated us. We knew that those quarterbacks on the other side were getting all the attention. So we just went out there and played our game. We did what we know how to do.”
Lauletta completed 8 of 12 passes for 198 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown strike to LSU’s DJ Chark and some other nice downfield throws.
Davenport, projected as a likely first-rounder and a potential top-10 pick, scooped up a fumble forced by Mississippi’s Marquis Haynes to punctuate a big third quarter.
Allen was 9 of 13 for 158 yards — all but 14 coming in the third quarter — along with a pair of touchdowns.
Mayfield played only the North’s first two drives, going 3 of 7 for 9 yards. He left before the second half to fly to Austin to be with his ailing mother.
Mayfield was named the game’s top quarterback after the practice sessions led by the Denver Broncos staff. Team officials requested him for the North squad.
“He’s a great dude, the ultimate competitor,” Allen said. “I think we actually made each other better this week.”
Allen and Lauletta fought a nice third-quarter duel with each throwing a couple of touchdown passes.
Allen led an 81-yard touchdown drive to start the second half with the North trailing 18-3. He ran for a first down and passed for a fourth-down conversion before faking an end around handoff and hitting Central Michigan tight end Tyler Conklin in the right corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown.
He followed that up with two big throws right on target: A 31-yarder to Colorado State’s Michael Gallup and a 27-yard touchdown to Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe. The potential tying two-point attempt failed.
Lauletta answered on the next play with the bomb to a wide-open Chark. He also had a long pass from his own end zone and broke two tackles in the backfield on another play. Chark had five catches for 160 yards.
Oklahoma: The Sooners have hired Georgia assistant Shane Beamer as assistant head coach for offense. Beamer, the son of former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, also will coach Oklahoma’s tight ends and H-backs and help assistant coach Jay Boulware oversee the special teams.
Beamer was the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Georgia the past two seasons. He was associate head coach and running backs coach at Virginia Tech for five years before joining Georgia’s staff. Before that, he was an assistant coach at South Carolina and Mississippi State.