The first-ever meeting between two of college football’s most storied programs lived up to the pregame expectations, as No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia needed overtime to determine the winner of the Rose Bowl. Also on the line was a spot in the College Football Playoff championship game, which Georgia earned with its 54-48 double-overtime victory.
The big play in double overtime would be made by Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who blocked Austin Seibert’s 27-yard field goal attempt. Two plays later Michel would take a direct snap and score on a 27-yard run to send Georgia to the College Football Playoff title game, which will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Next up for the Bulldogs, who are looking for their first national title since 1980, will be either No. 1 Clemson or No. 4 Alabama.
The two teams combined to score 102 points in what is the highest-scoring Rose Bowl in the history of the game. Oklahoma would strike the first blow, as Baker Mayfield’s 13-yard pass to Marquise Brown gave the Big 12 champions a 7-0 lead with 11:31 remaining in the first quarter. Georgia would pull even just over four minutes later, as Michel would catch a 13-yard pass from Jake Fromm.
Michel and fellow running back Nick Chubb both had good days for the Bulldogs, rushing for a combined 326 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries. Michel was also a factor in the passing game, catching four passes for 41 yards and a score. But even with Georgia’s success in the running game, its defense struggled to slow down the Oklahoma offense in the first half.
Led by Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner, Oklahoma would score 24 of the game’s next 31 points to take a 31-14 lead with six seconds remaining in the first half. Rodney Anderson was responsible for two of the Sooners’ three touchdowns during that run, scoring on rushes of 9 and 41 yards. Mayfield would also catch a 2-yard pass from wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.
But a special teams mistake would give Georgia the opportunity to put points on the board before halftime, as Seibert’s squib kick was immediately recovered. Rodrigo Blankenship’s field goal from 55 yards out as time expired would pull Georgia to within 31-17 at the half.
Kirby Smart’s teams would make some important adjustments at the break, but simply put Georgia’s defensive line had a far greater impact to start the second half than it did at any point in the first. Georgia would force an Oklahoma three-and-out, and the offense would capitalize as Chubb’s 50-yard run cut the deficit to 31-24.
Georgia’s defense would hold the Sooners at bay for the remainder of the quarter, forcing two more punts and picking off Mayfield on Oklahoma’s next three possessions. Michel’s 38-yard run with 41 seconds remaining in the third tied the game at 31, and the aforementioned interception would be converted into points by way of a Fromm 4-yard pass to Javon Wims to give the Bulldogs a 38-31 lead with 13:57 remaining in regulation.
Fromm was solid, completing 20 of his 29 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. What was also key was the fact that he didn’t turn the ball over, which helped Georgia remain within striking distance before making its rally in the second half.
Oklahoma would answer the Wims score with two touchdowns of its own to retake the lead, the first coming on a DeAndre Flowers 11-yard reception. The second would come by way of the defense, as Steven Parker scooped up a Michel fumble and returned it 46 yards for the score that gave Oklahoma a 45-38 lead with 6:52 remaining.
After its offense went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, the Georgia defense forced an Oklahoma punt with just over five minutes remaining. Fromm and company would go 59 yards in seven plays, the last of which being Chubb’s 2-yard run with 55 seconds remaining tying the score at 45.
Oklahoma would have one more chance to score in regulation, but the Sooners would eventually have to punt after going 20 yards in four plays. The two teams would exchange field goals in the first overtime period, and with Seibert lining up from 27 yards out, it appeared as if Oklahoma would begin the second overtime with another.
But Lorenzo Carter had other ideas, setting off the sequence that ended with Georgia sealing its spot in next Tuesday’s title game.
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