Friday, 20 July, 2018

Sooners Lose Double-OT Rose Bowl Thriller To Georgia

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Nellie Chapman | 12 January, 2018, 20:25

"I made plays. I gave up plays". Oklahoma had 360 yards in the first half, the second-most the Bulldogs had allowed in a game this season. They say adversity kind of reveals character.

That's exactly what happened on a Michel game tying 38-yard touchdown run just before the third quarter ended. He was bested by only Michel, who rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns on three fewer carries. Two plays into Georgia's possession of the second overtime, the senior running back took an outside handoff and scored, atoning for his earlier mistake and giving Georgia a chance to win its first national championship since the 1980 season.

At first, it looked like it was going to be the Oklahoma Sooners. That 27-yard touchdown run in double overtime clinched Georgia's 54-48 win over No. 2 Oklahoma on Monday night. Richt's 15 years in Athens were mostly successful, but there was a sense among supporters and the school administration that Georgia was not maxing out in football. Holding the ball in the pocket too long, resulting in five sacks, and trying to squeeze throws into tight windows, resulting in an interception which forfeited the Sooners' lead. It wasn't like there was a magic sprinkle dust.

Georgia's defense is taking no comfort in Mayfield's condition.

Playing better defense in the first half against Alabama will be incredibly important, as it will be almost impossible for the Bulldogs to come back against the Crimson Tide if they go down 14 points early. We had some - we'd separate ourself a little bit there in the first half and weren't able to maintain it. NY could be another home he could end up in whether he could be Eli Manning's successor with the Giants or lead the Jets offense that is in need of a true starter.

Oklahoma was not going to go away quietly, of course. With weeks of disciplined study and some practice help from a scout-team quarterback dubbed Mayfield's Mini-Me by his teammates, Georgia thinks it has got a shot.

"This decision was hard", said Riley, who became emotional during his weekly press conference, unable to speak for several seconds.

Senior safety Steven Parker scooped a 46-yard fumble return for a touchdown, but OU surrendered another scoring drive that forced overtime. He didn't have time to throw much in the second half.

However, the Bulldogs made one mistake. They played their hearts out and left it all on the field. He's done more than enough to prove himself worthy of a first-round pick. But rather than push the ball downfield, the Sooners played it safe and had to punt.

Oklahoma held a 45-38 advantage when they took over at their own 23 with 5:00 to play in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Georgia offense reeled off 21 unanswered points, which turned out to be difference in the game. But when they tried to kick another in the second it was blocked. Afternoon had become evening, and Georgia trailed by a touchdown.

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart didn't hesitate in sending out sure-footed kicker Rodrigo Blankenship for his 55-yard field goal - a new Rose Bowl record - to wrap up the first half.

"I'm really disappointed and upset". I don't know. My gut said to kick it, and we did, and we made it.

Baker Mayfield is the most polarizing player in college football. Fromm finished 20-for-29 for 210 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Georgia averaged 9.3 yards per carry and totaled 527 yards offense, the most OU has surrendered since November 4 at Oklahoma State.

With Alabama on deck for next week's championship game, he'll have to figure out how to shore up his run defense.