2018-01-01 23:32:02
Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48 | Two overtimes: College Football Playoff: Georgia Outlasts Oklahoma in Rose Bowl

23:32, January 01 198 0

PASADENA, Calif. — Running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb arrived together at the University of Georgia. They have roomed together, bowled together, gone tubing together and thrown darts together. After last season, they arrived together once more — at a decision to complete their college eligibility rather than declare for the N.F.L. draft.

On Monday, the pair combined for the most dominant performance of their collegiate careers, colluding for 326 rushing yards and six total touchdowns as the No. 3 Bulldogs (13-1) hauled down No. 2 Oklahoma (12-2) to win the Rose Bowl, 54-48, after two overtimes to win the first national semifinal game.

The outcome set Georgia up with a de facto home game in Atlanta on Jan. 8 for the national title against No. 1 Clemson or No. 4 Alabama, who faced off in the Sugar Bowl later Monday.

Michel, whose mother immigrated from Haiti before he was born, ran for 181 yards and scored four times — the final touchdown coming on a 27-yard run in the second overtime to clinch the victory for the Bulldogs. Chubb, the more reserved of the two, scored twice and gained 145 yards on the ground. Chubb ranks No. 2 and Michel No. 3 on the list of Georgia’s career rushing leaders, behind the Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.

Michel and Chubb’s collaborative performance upstaged Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, this season’s Heisman winner, who produced a thrilling performance on Monday after a week of intense scrutiny over his dealing with flulike symptoms.

Mayfield was limited in practice and skipped Rose Bowl-related social and media activities. But as the game approached he dispelled any notion that his energy remained sapped, dashing down the field just before kickoff while shouting and waving his arms to incite the stadium’s sea of red-clad Sooner fans at the Rose Bowl.

Perhaps he was simply loosening up his throwing arm and his play-calling voice, as well as the vocal cords of the Oklahoma supporters, who had plenty to cheer for in the first half. Their roars peaked in the second quarter when Mayfield caught a pass, his first in college, at the tail end of a double reverse for a 2-yard touchdown that gave Oklahoma a 31-14 lead.

Illness? What illness?

Oklahoma, deploying a huddle-free, quick-strike offense, scored on five of its six possessions in the opening half. Rodney Anderson accounted for touchdowns on runs of 9 and 41 yards. Mayfield connected with Marquise Brown for a 13-yard touchdown pass.

After his own touchdown reception with six seconds to spare before halftime had vaulted Oklahoma to a 17-point lead, a botched squib kick enabled Georgia to squeeze in a 55-yard field goal before the break.

Georgia displayed a rapid-response offense of its own, albeit of a different style, scoring on one-play drives with runs of 75 yards (Michel) and 50 (Chubb). Michel’s long run, which came one minute into the second quarter, capped a scoring frenzy at the start of the game that featured five touchdowns in the first 16 minutes.

The Bulldogs made some effective defensive tweaks at halftime, which led to Mayfield’s dusting himself off frequently after getting sacked. Georgia made hay of the Sooners’ stalled offense and eventually pulled in front by 38-31 with Jake Fromm’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Javon Wims — a short drive set up by Dominick Sanders’ interception of Mayfield.

Then Mayfield, staying upright, ran and threw his team back into a tie on an 11-yard toss to Dimitri Flowers.

The Sooners took one more lead in regulation on a 46-yard fumble return by Steven Parker with just under 7 minutes remaining, but Chubb scored on a direct snap from 2 yards out with 55 seconds left to force overtime.

The teams swapped field goals, then Lorenzo Carter of Georgia blocked Austin Seibert’s subsequent attempt. The Bulldogs called another direct snap, this time for Michel, who dashed 27 yards on the final play to send him, Chubb and their Georgia teammates to one final bowl this season.