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Utes pass rusher Bradlee Anae’s ‘got a great gift,’ something he showed off in the Senior Bowl

SHARE Utes pass rusher Bradlee Anae’s ‘got a great gift,’ something he showed off in the Senior Bowl

FILE: Utah Utes defensive end Bradlee Anae (6) celebrates with the rest of the defensive line after stopping Arizona on third down during the first half of an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.

Colter Peterson

SALT LAKE CITY — Bradlee Anae made himself comfortable in the opponent’s backfield during the Senior Bowl on Saturday.

The former Utah pass rusher had three sacks for the North in their 34-17 victory over the South team at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, while also forcing an interception.

“He did a great job,” Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia told NFL.com of Anae’s performance. Patricia coached the North team. “He’s really improved. We’ve gone over a lot of things with him from a pass rush standpoint, from a technique standpoint, and he tried to take all that (to the game). He’s got a great gift, a great ability to rush the edge.”

Anae had sacks on back-to-back plays in the second quarter on Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, forcing the South into a punt — the first a 3-yard loss followed by a 9-yard loss on third down.

On the next defensive play for the North, Anae got to Hurts again, forcing the QB to throw a high, wobbly pass that was easily intercepted by Ohio State’s Malik Harrison.

Anae capped his memorable day with a third sack in the fourth quarter, dropping Colorado quarterback Steven Montez for a 7-yard loss deep in South territory on a third-and-14.

“You start the tape from the wide and you can see he’s the first one off the ball each and every snap for that Utah front,” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said during the game’s telecast. “He’s got outstanding hands and at the top of his rush, he’s a finisher. How many times have you seen guys get pressure but they can’t finish? He’s finishes. He did it all through his career at Utah, he’s done it all week at practice and tonight was the cherry on top.”

Other locals in the Senior Bowl

Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: The former Aggie started at quarterback for the North and completed 4 of 6 passes for 26 yards while adding four carries for 4 yards. He didn’t lead a scoring drive but did pick up a pair of third-down conversions with his legs in the fourth quarter. “He’s very schooled. You can see how he operates, throws the football. It’s as pretty a ball as you’ll ever see. He just hasn’t had the volume of plays to make a statement,” Jeremiah said of Love’s day.

Terrell Burgess, DB, Utah: Burgess played extensive snaps for the North and finished with four tackles, including a pair of solo stops in the first half, and had a pass deflection in the end zone. He knocked away a Hurts pass on second-and-goal inside two minutes until halftime.

Francis Bernard, ILB, Utah (Herriman High): Bernard, like Anae, started for the North defense and had an assisted tackle on the first drive of the game.

Of note: Utah (Herriman High) defensive tackle Leki Fotu was also in Alabama this week, but he tweaked a tear in his calf recently and was held out by medical staff at the Senior Bowl, he told KOA Radio in Colorado. “At the end of the day, I’ve got to stay healthy and listen to my body. Everything else will work out for itself after this,” he said.