Alabama, Georgia to face off in national championship game
Alabama, Georgia to face off in national championship game
Georgia linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy during a Rose Bowl
02 January, 2018, 11:45
Oklahoma brings the nation's fourth-best scoring offense into the Rose Bowl and the College Football Playoff semifinal on January 1 against a Georgia team boasting the fourth-best defense in the country.
The Bulldogs won the Rose Bowl with a final score of 54-48 after a blocked field goal and touchdown helped them outscore the Sooners.
Oklahoma attempted only that single shovel pass during its first overtime possession, which went nowhere and resulted in a field goal.
The Bulldogs will play either Alabama or Clemson on January 8 for the national championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, about 70 miles from their campus. This will be the Bulldogs' first national championship game since losing to Penn State in the 1983 Sugar Bowl in what was a de facto title game.
The Bulldogs (12-1) rode that stifling defense to the program's first Southeastern Conference championship since 2005 - a familiar formula for second-year head coach Kirby Smart, who is actually making his third appearance in the playoff. "Baker Mayfield is the great equalizer because he extends that time, and he makes those plays go longer where you have to cover longer".
Georgia averaged 34.9 points per game, leaning on a stable of running backs in Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D'Andre Swift; they carried the load for the nation's 10th-most prolific rushing attack. "He stretches and extends plays, extremely explosive, not afraid to make any throws". The Sooners had taken a 45-38 lead with 6:52 remaining on strong safety Steven Parker's 46-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
That first Auburn game was on the road, but Georgia got revenge on the Tigers in the SEC title game in Atlanta. Seibert responded with a 33-yard field goal for Oklahoma.
"We kept believing. We knew we were a fourth-quarter team".
The Sooners will be led by fleet-footed quarterback Baker Mayfield, the likely Heisman Trophy victor going against Georgia's physical defense.
The Sooners were up 31-14, having scored on a trick play that resulted in quarterback Baker Mayfield catching a two-yard touchdown pass from receiver CeeDee Lamb with six seconds on the clock. That game was at the Rose Bowl, although it wasn't the official Rose Bowl game, which was between Ohio State and OR that season. Having two strong running backs has paid big dividends for freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, who effectively has navigated the offense after taking over for the injured Jacob Eason on opening day.
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Going against a Dallas Cowboys team that is out of postseason contention doesn't mean a talent discrepancy suddenly exists either. Almost everything about this football game was bad, and no poetic waxing about defense will erase how bad it was as a whole.
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