The Granddaddy of Them All lived up to its reputation on Monday night, as the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners played in one of the greatest games in Rose Bowl history. In the end, Georgia managed to win an absolute thriller, taking down the Sooners in double overtime, 54-48.
For a game with so much history and prestige, it would take something special to say that fans witnessed one of the greatest Rose Bowls ever. But for a myriad of reasons, it’s safe to say that the two teams surpassed that extremely high bar.
The first half made it look like the Sooners were going to roll, as they took a 31-17 lead into the locker room and got the ball at the start of the game’s third quarter. Behind Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma sliced and diced one of the best defenses in all of college football for the game’s opening half hour.
At the start of the third quarter, though, the Bulldogs began doing what they do so well: run the ball down their opponent’s throats. The running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both found their ways into the end zone, as did wide receiver Javon Wims. In all, Georgia scored 24 unanswered points dating back to the end of the first half — the Sooners attempted an unsuccessful squib kick that set up a Bulldogs field goal as the second quarter ended — to take their first lead early in the fourth quarter.
But thanks to a Mayfield touchdown pass and a scoop-and-score by the Sooner defense, Oklahoma retook the lead with less than seven minutes remaining. The game was placed in the hands of freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, who eventually marched the Bulldogs down the field and into the end zone to send the Rose Bowl to the first overtime period in its prestigious history.
The two teams traded field goals during the first extra frame, and during the second overtime, Oklahoma started with the ball. Georgia’s defense forced another field goal attempt, and on the attempt, the Bulldogs’ special teams unit made the play of the game.
The Bulldogs wasted no time sealing the win and a spot in the national championship game, giving a direct snap to Michel and letting him scamper his way into the end zone.
It was the culmination of a monster day for Michel, as he ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. He also had four catches for 41 yards and a score through the air. His backfield mate was no slouch, either, as Chubb had 145 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Simply put, the duo dominated the evening.
As for Fromm, the freshman signal caller went 20-for-29 for 219 yards and two scores. He didn’t put up gaudy stats, but he did exactly what he needed to do to lead the Bulldogs to the title game. And on defense, the linebacking duo of Roquan Smith (11 tackles) and Lorenzo Carter (10 tackles) flew all over the place against the high-powered Oklahoma offense.
On the flip side, Mayfield had a productive game, going 23-for-35 for 287 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick. He also caught a touchdown on a beautifully designed trick play in the second quarter.
The Heisman winner wasn’t the only Sooner to have a good game, as running back Rodney Anderson was a monster, carrying the ball 26 times for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
But in the end, it was not enough, and the Bulldogs came out on top. Georgia will now head to their home state and take on either Clemson or Alabama in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium on Monday, Jan. 8.