Georgia pulled off an all-timer of a Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma to get to the national title. Here are five things that matter.
Rose Bowl: Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48 2OT
5. The greatest Rose Bowl ever?
No, the 2005 Texas win over USC was for the BCS Championship, but technically, the 2014 Florida State win over Auburn wasn’t the Rose Bowl, even though it was in the Rose Bowl.
But this was has to be a firm No. 2.
There were other historically great Rose Bowls that decided national titles, but none of them were in a playoff, and none of them went to double overtime.
From the mood swings, the drama, and performances, and even the way it ended, it was all close to perfect.
The game didn’t end because of a missed field goal, an interception, or a meltdown that’ll put someone in therapy for the next 50 yards. It happened on a Lorenzo Carter blocked field goal try, and a perfectly executed play to follow.
It was one of the greatest Rose Bowls of all-time, which makes it one of the greatest games of all-time. It was as thrilling and gripping as college football gets.
4. Rodney Anderson
The controversy that almost kept the Oklahoma running back out of this game went away quickly. There weren’t any problems on the field as he looked, at times, like the best player in the game.
He’ll be a fun answer to a trivia question one day. Who led the 2018 Rose Bowl in rushing?
Sony Michel made the big plays, and Nick Chubb went off, but it was Anderson who came up with 201 yards and two scores on 26 carries. His 7.7 yards per carry would be ridiculous if it wasn’t for what the Bulldog backs did, but he was every bit as effective against one of the nation’s top run defenses.
Just a sophomore, he set the stage for a potentially fantastic 2018.
3. Jake Fromm
The world came to see Baker Mayfield, and the other guy was every bit as good, if not better.
It wasn’t just that Fromm completed 20-of-29 passes for 210 yards and two scores, it’s that he was the coolest guy on the field. Unflappable, he slung it around making key throws in the biggest moments to keep Georgia in the game, and he didn’t throw any picks.
The running backs were the stars, and Michel helped by taking a pass 17 yards for a score, but the true freshman was wonderful.
2. Baker Mayfield
If he was sick, or getting over it, he didn’t look like it in the first half.
He took a knee to the ribs, and he appeared to be a bit drained in the second half, but he almost pulled it off. He was Baker Mayfield, throwing for 287 yards and two scores, he ran around trying to make things happen, and he also caught a touchdown pass.
There was an uncharacteristic interception in the second half, but he made up for it with a touchdown drive to follow.
But he couldn’t get his team into the end zone in overtime. That will be what haunts him, but it won’t be fair. He did everything possible to win that game. He left it all on the field.
1. The Georgia running game
Of course Georgia won on a rushing play.
The Oklahoma defense couldn’t slow down anything the NFL-caliber backs were doing, with Nick Chubb tearing off 145 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, and with Sony Michel cranking up 181 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries.
He might have given up a fumble for a scoop and score, but he caught a touchdown pass, cranked up a 75-yard scoring dash, and he came away with the game-winner.
In all, Georgia ran for 317 yards and five touchdowns, averring 9.3 yards per carry. That’s not going to happen against Alabama, but because Chubb and Michel chose to return for their senior seasons rather than turn pro early, they’re going to get that chance at the Crimson Tide.