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2021 NFL Draft bowl game tracker: Justin Fields epic performance, who to watch in Texas A&M-UNC and more

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In a colossal battle between presumed No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, Ohio State’s Justin Fields outplayed Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in the Buckeyes convincing victory. Fields was able to do it too despite taking a crunching hit to his lower ribs by the helmet of Tigers linebacker James Skalski in the first half. 

You can find the full bowl schedule with results as they happen here. Below, we’ll be tracking the draft-relevant prospects you need to know heading into upcoming bowl games, plus the notable performances from some of the top players in the country after they happen with analysis about what it means for each heading into draft season.

Upcoming bowl schedule

Outback Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Indiana

Jan. 2 at 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC (stream on fuboTV, try for free) 

  • Indiana WR Ty Fryfogle pieced together a phenomenal senior season with 687 yards and seven touchdowns and 34 catches in seven games. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound target is a studly contested-catch wideout. 

Fiesta Bowl: Iowa State vs. Oregon

Jan. 2 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN (stream on fuboTV, try for free) 

  • Oregon CB Deommodore Lenoir initially opted-out of the 2021 season but decided to return to the Ducks program and actually only made one play on the football all season — an interception against USC. No pass breakups. The former big-time recruit has the athletic twitch to be a relatively early pick in the draft. 

Orange Bowl: Texas A&M vs. North Carolina 

Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN (stream on fuboTV, try for free) 

  • Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond is likely playing in his last game for the Aggies, and he’s made an impressive conversion from dual-threat, one-read-and-go running threat at the quarterback position to calm pocket passer. He completed nearly 64% of his passes at 7.6 yards per attempt with 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions on the season. 

Key performances from completed bowls

Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson 

  • Ohio State QB Justin Fields had as many touchdowns as incompletions in this game — six. He looked significantly more comfortable against Brent Venables complex defense than he did against Northwestern. His deep-ball accuracy was outstanding — beyond one downfield miss — and his accuracy was through the roof. 
  • Ohio State WR Chris Olave proved his worth against Clemson, returning to the field after missing the Big 10 title game. With him in action, the Buckeyes offense hummed all night. The senior finished with six catches and 132 yards and two scores, the last of which being the dagger on a 56-yarder in the second half. 
  • Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence wasn’t bad against Ohio State. He wasn’t fantastic either. He went 33-of-48 for 400 yards with two passing touchdowns, one rushing score, and an interception. Believe it or not, Lawrence left yards on the field and looked a little more antsy than normal against pressure. 

Rose Bowl: Alabama vs. Notre Dame

  • Alabama WR Devonta Smith was his typical self against Notre Dame — smoothly fast and impossible to cover. He finished with seven catches for 130 yards with three touchdowns in the blowout win.
  • Alabama RB Najee Harris carried the ball 15 times and accumulated 125 yards and turned four catches in 30 yards. As usual, Harris hurdled a defender in space — without breaking stride — and accelerated down the sideline after he landed. I’m convinced he was built in a lab. 

Citrus Bowl: Northwestern vs. Auburn 

  • Auburn WR Seth Williams had five catches for 72 yards in the loss to Northwestern, which included a long of 24 yards. Williams is only a junior, and there are parts of his game that could improve — mostly separation ability — but he’s already proven to be a legitimate NFL prospect

Peach Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Georgia

  • Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari had a monstrous outing in the last-second win over Cincinnati, registering three sacks and three other tackles for loss. Only a redshirt sophomore, Ojulari has already gotten considerable draft hype and ended his season with a bang. 

Arizona Bowl: Ball State vs. San Jose State

  • San Jose State WR Tre Walker ended his illustrious career with the Spartans with seven grabs for 81 yards in defeat. The Inglewood, California native had exactly seven grabs in each of his last seven games. He has draftable talent. 

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Florida 

  • Florida QB Kyle Trask’s lack of a rocket arm showed up on more than one occasion in the loss to the Sooners, as he wasn’t able to drive the football outside the numbers on two of his interceptions. 

Mayo Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Wake Forest 

  • Wisconsin LB Jack Sanborn was around the football as usual with 11 tackles, and he added an interception for good measure. He really cleaned up his play against the run this season and was easily one of the most well-rounded linebackers in the country. 

Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Colorado

  • Texas QB Sam Ehlinger hasn’t made his decision yet on whether he’ll return to Texas for a fifth season or enter the NFL Draft. While freshman runner Bijan Robinson stole the show with 183 yards and a score on just 10 rushes, Ehlinger pieced together an efficient, low-volume outing: 10-of-16 for 160 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. 

Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Miami

  • Oklahoma State safety Kolby Harvell-Peel had six tackles and a pass breakup in what could be his final game with the Cowboys. The talented junior defensive back is sudden and plays with awesome instincts in coverage.

First Responder Bowl: Louisiana vs. UTSA

  • Louisiana RB Elijah Mitchell produced as usual in this bowl game, averaging 6.7 yards per rush with one score 27 carries. He also caught two passes for 45 yards. While probably a Day 3 selection, Mitchell has proven to have NFL skills during his illustrious career with the Ragin’ Cajuns. 

LendingTree Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State

  • Western Kentucky EDGE DeAngelo Malone had a strong performance disrupting the pocket against Georgia State. He finished the game with four pressures and 36 on the season. 

Cure Bowl: Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina

  • Liberty QB Malik Willis tossed two interceptions in the thrilling overtime win over previously unbeaten Coastal Carolina but ran 21 times for 137 yards with four touchdowns in victory. He probably won’t declare for the 2021 draft but has proven to be a legitimate multi-dimensional weapon at quarterback. 
  • Coastal Carolina EDGE Tarron Jackson was a force against Liberty, generating seven pressures to bring his season total up to 59. Unless Alabama rusher Will Anderson registers seven or more pressures during the College Football Playoff, Jackson will finish the year with the most pressures in the nation. 

Camellia Bowl: Buffalo vs. Marshall

  • Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson made a (smart) business decision and didn’t play in this bowl contest after injuring his knee in the MAC title game. But teammate Kevin Marks — who’s quietly a very talented runner in his own right — was a workhorse, carrying the ball 35 times for 138 yards with a touchdown in the Bulls’ 17-10 win. He finished his junior season averaging 6.6 yards per tote. 

New Mexico Bowl: Hawaii vs. Houston

  • Hawai’i defensive back Khoury Bethley was all over the field in the Warriors win over Houston. He finished the bowl with 14 tackles, two sacks, one pass breakup, and three tackles for loss. The junior has three full seasons as a contributor under his belt.

Montgomery Bowl: Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic

  • Memphis QB Brady White went 22-of-34 for 284 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in his final game with the Tigers. He threw 92 touchdowns to 31 picks at a respectable 8.6 yards-per-attempt average in his career at Memphis, which included three years as a full time starter.  

New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. Georgia Southern

  • Georgia Southern EDGE Raymond Johnson III was a monster in the beatdown of Louisiana Tech, registering six more pressures to finish the season with 49, which is currently the fourth-most in the country.

Boca Raton Bowl: UCF vs. BYU

  • BYU QB quarterback Zach Wilson put a plethora of ridiculous, downfield throws into the bucket on film against UCF. He was phenomenal in the first half, getting the football out of his hands quickly with velocity and ideal ball placement through tiny windows. Wilson finished 26 of 34 for 425 yards with three touchdowns, and he scored twice on the ground.
  • BYU OT Brady Christensen had one heck of an outing against the Golden Knights too. Wilson was only sacked once and the Cougars ran for 38 times at 5.6 yards per pop. He finished the year with only four pressures allowed on 385 pass-blocking snaps. Impressive.

Idaho Potato Bowl: Tulane vs. Nevada

  • Nevada QB Carson Strong had a quality, mostly underrated season at Nevada in his redshirt sophomore campaign there, and he generated seriously draft buzz with a national TV audience seeing how impressive of a thrower he is. He went 22 of 28 for 297 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. His second touchdown toss of the day was a gorgeous touch throw over the shoulder of his receiver in the end zone. Strong stretched the field early and was very methodical and accurate in the quick game throughout the contest. At 6-4 and 215 pounds, even if Strong doesn’t declare for the 2021 draft, he’ll have plenty of hype for the following draft cycle.

Myrtle Beach Bowl: North Texas vs. Appalachian State

  • Appalachian State CB Shemar Jean-Charles had a pair of tackles in the devastation of North Texas. No picks, no pass breakups but another solid performance from the lengthy and athletic corner. 

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