MOBILE, Ala. — North Carolina running back Michael Carter grew up attending the Senior Bowl when he was a youngster from nearby Navarre, Florida.
In his one and only chance to the play in the game, he made an impact.
Carter’s fourth-quarter touchdown run put his squad ahead for good, while bringing the crowd to its feet in appreciation of the local star in what became a 27-24 victory for the National team at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the campus of South Alabama on Saturday.
.@8kMike finds the end zone.
— Carolina Football (@TarHeelFootball) January 30, 2021
Carter also had a long run in the first quarter that set up another score. He finished with eight carries for 60 yards to lead all rushers in the game and also grabbed two passes for 15 yards.
After an interception by Pitt safety Damar Hamlin, the National team was able to add to the lead. Arkansas quarterback Felipe Franks found Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah in the end zone for a 26-yard score. Franks finished 9 of 16 for 122 yards to lead the National passers.
Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman hit Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes for a 10-yard score in the final seconds, but the National team was able to run the clock out.
The game appeared to be one-sided early in favor of the National squad, but Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond led a pair of second-half touchdown drives to bring the American team back from a two-score deficit.
Mond led consecutive touchdown drives in the third quarter, connecting on touchdown passes to Clemson’s Amari Rodgers and Tennessee wide receiver Josh Palmer to cap drives of 58 and 42 yards.
Mond started the game after Alabama quarterback Mac Jones was held out with an ankle injury suffered in practice on Thursday. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 173 yards to lead all passers and also rushed twice for 11 yards.
The National dominated the first half. UCLA wide receiver Demetric Felton scored on a 12-yard pass from Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger in the first quarter. The score was set up by a 27-yard rush by Carter. Memphis kicker Riley Patterson added a pair of field goals to make the score 13-0 at the half.
Louisville’s Dez Fitzpatrick led all receivers with six catches for 90 yards for the National team. South Carolina’s Shi Smith caught two passes for 53 yards to lead the American squad.
Defensively, Tulane defensive lineman Cam Sample led all players with six tackles for the American squad. Florida State defensive lineman Jnrius Robinson had 1.5 sacks, while Hamlin and Florida’s Shawn Davis had interceptions.
The National team was coached by the staff of the Miami Dolphins and head coach Brian Flores, while Matt Rhule and his Carolina Panthers staff led the American team.