UGA Football

Georgia outlasts Oklahoma, advances to national title game, in instant classic Rose Bowl Game

Georgia lights up the Rose Bowl

Georgia’s fans lit up the Rose Bowl when the game ventured into the fourth quarter.
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Georgia’s fans lit up the Rose Bowl when the game ventured into the fourth quarter.

As everyone on Georgia's field goal block team rose up, one man's arm was higher than the rest.

Lorenzo Carter, the senior outside linebacker from Norcross, couldn't have jumped any higher. With the game knotted up in double overtime, Carter got his hand on a short field goal attempt from Oklahoma's Austin Seibert. Two plays later, running back Sony Michel ran the ball in for a 27-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 54-48 win in the Rose Bowl.

And just like that, Georgia punched its ticket to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

It wasn't easy for Georgia (13-1), which trailed by 17 points in the first half. Oklahoma's offense got out to a furious start and held a 31-14 lead, which was cut to 31-17 at the half. And that play came thanks to linebacker Tae Crowder, who snatched a squib kick with six seconds to go in the first half. That allowed Georgia to run a play and get a 55-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship with one second to go in the second quarter.

The Sooners (12-2) weren't as explosive in the second half and eventually trailed 38-31 in the fourth quarter. But quarterback Baker Mayfield engineered a scoring drive that ended in an 11-yard touchdown pass to fullback Dimitri Flowers. Shortly after, Michel lost a fumble that Oklahoma linebacker Steven Parker returned 46 yards for a score to put the Sooners up 45-38. The Bulldogs would eventually tie the game up at 45 with a 2-yard rushing touchdown from Nick Chubb.

Four who mattered

Michel: Michel was the Rose Bowl's offensive MVP after rushing for a career-best 181 yards. He scored three rushing touchdowns and added four catches for 41 yards and a score. His four total touchdowns are program bowl record.

Chubb: Chubb played an outstanding game, going for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. He busted a 50-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to help start Georgia's rally.

Mayfield: Mayfield proved why he was this year's Heisman Trophy winner. Trailing by seven, Mayfield engineered a quick drive to tie the game up in the fourth quarter at 38, with the highlight being a 36-yard completion to CeeDee Lamb. Mayfield finished 23-of-35 throwing for 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson: While the Georgia run defense has been a strength all year, Anderson gashed the Bulldogs repeatedly. He ended the game with 201 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Turning point

Carter's blocked field goal gave Georgia the advantage late.

Observations

Defense settles in: One of the most overrated things coaches will talk about are adjustments made at halftime. Yes, coaches talk to their players and point things out. But it's not usually a massive overhaul of a game-plan that takes place. At the half, one of the things head coach Kirby Smart said during his halftime radio interview was that the Bulldogs needed to "relax and get after the quarterback." That's exactly what happened in the second half. Outside of a couple of nice Anderson runs, the run game slowly was taken away. As Georgia mounted its comeback, the Bulldogs forced Mayfield into some errant throws. The next thing anyone knew, Oklahoma was finding it tough to pick up third-down conversions.

Maulers up front: Obviously a ton of credit should go to Chubb and Michel for the yardage they were able to accumulate. But none of that happens if Georgia's offensive line doesn't maul the Oklahoma front seven as often as it did. The run game has worked well all season but never like this, and this came against the No. 2 team in the nation. This was seen as an advantage for Georgia entering the game and the Bulldogs seized control in this area of the game.

Worth mentioning

First time: Michel's huge game put him over 1,000 yards for the season. This is the first time Georgia has had two running backs go for over 1,000 yards in the same year.

Second time: This was Georgia's second trip ever to the Rose Bowl. The first one ended in a 9-0 win over UCLA on Jan. 1, 1943.

What's next?

Georgia advances to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, which will take place Jan. 8 in Atlanta.

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