Rushing duo carries Bulldogs over Oklahoma in epic Rose Bowl finish
PASADENA, Calif. — Georgia halfback Sony Michel rushed 27 yards in the second overtime for his fourth touchdown of the game and the No. 3 Bulldogs overcame a 17-point deficit to advance to the national championship game in a wild 54-48 victory over the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners in the 104th Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 1.
The national championship game is Jan. 8 in Atlanta.
Michel had 181 yards rushing and three touchdowns and caught four passes for 41 yards and a score as the Bulldogs (13-1) posted the largest comeback in Rose Bowl history in what was also the highest-scoring Rose Bowl.
Rodrigo Blankenship made a 38-yard field goal to give Georgia a 48-45 lead on the first possession of overtime before Austin Seibert forced a second overtime with a 33-yarder.
Lorenzo Carter blocked Seibert's 27-yard field goal attempt in the second overtime. Georgia lost two yards on a running play before Michel broke through the left side for his fourth score.
"What a game, what an atmosphere," Georgia coach Kirby Smart told ESPN on the field after the game. "My heart goes out to the Oklahoma team, because these guys played their tails off. And so did ours, nobody ever quit. Everybody fought hard ... so proud of these kids."
Oklahoma had 531 yards total offense. Georgia had 527.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 23 of 35 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and he also caught a touchdown pass. His 2-yard scoring catch with six seconds left in the first half made it 31-14, but Blankenship made a 55-yard field goal as time expired to cut it to 31-17.
Jake Fromm completed 20 of 29 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns for Georgia. Nick Chubb added 145 yards rushing and two scores as he and Michel became the all-time leaders for rushing yards by a duo in FBS history. Michel and Chubb have accounted for 8,284 total rushing yards in their time at Georgia, surpassing SMU's duo of Eric Dickerson and Craig James (8,193).
Georgia scored the first three touchdowns of the second half and Fromm's 4-yard scoring pass to Javon Wims gave the Bulldogs their first lead, 38-31, with 13:47 remaining. That drive was set up by Mayfield's only interception.
"We kept believing. We knew we were a fourth-quarter team. We were more physical, we were more physical than them and we just kept chopping," said Fromm. "We knew each and every blow we took in the first half was going to pay off for us in the second half."
Mayfield completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Dimitri Flowers to cap an 88-yard drive and tie the game at 38 with 8:47 remaining. The Sooners had 37 yards in their first five possession of the second half before that drive.
On the next series, Oklahoma cornerback Steven Parker returned a Michel fumble 46 yards for a touchdown to put the Sooners up 45-38 with 6:52 left.
Chubb tied the game on a 2-yard run with 55 seconds remaining.
"We had to believe," Fromm said of the Bulldogs effort in the second OT.
"Everybody kept giving it their all. Just an incredible experience to share with my teammates."