PASADENA, Calif. – A blocked field goal opened the door for a game-winning score in the Georgia Bulldogs’ 54-48 double overtime Rose Bowl victory against the No. 2-seeded Oklahoma Sooners Monday evening at the Rose Bowl Stadium.
Oklahoma offense went first in the second overtime and got to the 10-yard line for a 27-yard field goal attempt. The outstretched hand of senior linebacker Lorenzo Carter blocked the field goal to set the stage for a game-winning score. The second play of Georgia’s series was the game-winner as senior running back Sony Michel got the corner and sprinted 27 yards into the end zone.
Georgia, seeded No. 3, advances to face the winner of the other CFP semifinal matchup in the CFP National Championship game on Monday, Jan.8, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
“What a game,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “What an atmosphere. My heart goes out to the Oklahoma team, because they played their tail off. And so did ours. Nobody ever quit and everybody fought hard. I’m so proud of these kids. The seniors never quit. This is a great university and these kids fought their tail off.”
The Bulldogs amassed 527 total yards with 317 on the ground and 210 through the air. Michel, the offensive player of the game, finished with 181 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 41 yards on four receptions and a score. Senior back mate Nick Chubb collected 145 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Jake Fromm went 20-of-29 for 210 yards and two touchdowns, while becoming just the second true freshman to start the Rose Bowl game. Fromm’s most frequent target was senior Javon Wims who finished with 73 yards on six catches and a touchdown
Defensively, junior linebacker Roquan Smith collected a team-leading 11 tackles including a key 3rd-down tackle in the first period of overtime and was awarded defensive player of the game. Georgia tallied five sacks with single sacks coming from Jonathan Ledbetter, David Marshall, Tyler Clark and D’Andre Walker. Senior safety Dominick Sanders had a third-quarter interception that led to the Bulldogs’ third touchdown in the second half.
Georgia trailed 31-17 at halftime as the game featured both teams with over 250 total yards of offense and six total touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore placekicker Rodrigo Blankenship drilled a Rose Bowl record 55-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
Storming out of the break, the Bulldogs defense forced a Sooner 3-and-out and then scored on their first play. Nick Chubb fought off multiple would-be tacklers for a 50-yard touchdown run which put him over the 100-yard rushing mark. Sophomore return specialist Mecole Hardman helped set up the favorable field position with a 21-yard punt return.
The equalizer at 31-all came in the last minute of the third quarter when Michel took a 3rd-and-7 handoff 38 yards for his third touchdown of the game. On Oklahoma’s next possession, Sanders intercepted an overthrow by Baker Mayfield and returned it 39 yards to the four-yard line. Two plays later, Georgia obtained its first lead of the game with a 4-yard pass and catch from Fromm to Wims.
Next it was Oklahoma’s turn to tie it as Mayfield found Dimitri Flowers in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The score notched it a 38-all with 8:47 left in regulation. The Sooners then recaptured the lead shortly after on a 46-yard scoop-and-score off a Michel fumble.
Trailing by 45-38 with 3:22 left in regulation, Fromm methodically marched the Bulldogs for the game-tying touchdown drive that spanned seven plays and 59 yards. On the drive, Fromm was 3-for-4 passing for 48 yards. A defensive pass interference in the end zone put Georgia at the goal line and Chubb ran it in on a direct snap.
Georgia forced two Oklahoma punts in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to send the game into extra time and eventually outlasting the Sooners.