No. 3 Georgia faces No. 2 Oklahoma for 1st time in Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl: No. 3 Georgia (12-1) vs. No. 3 Oklahoma (12-1) at Pasadena, California, Monday, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Georgia by 2+.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
A spot in the College Football Playoff national championship game. The Bulldogs are making their first playoff appearance and have not won a national title since 1980. Second-year coach Kirby Smart guided Georgia to a big jump from 8-5 in his first season to Southeastern Conference champions. First-year coach Lincoln Riley led the Sooners to their third straight Big 12 championship and second playoff appearance in three seasons. The Sooners have not played for the national championship since 2008, and have not won it since 2000.
Oklahoma’s offensive line against Georgia’s defensive front. QB Baker Mayfield draws most of the accolades for the Sooners, but the Heisman Trophy winner operates behind one of the best offensive lines in the country. Future high NFL draft picks man both tackles in All-American Orlando Brown and Bobby Evans. Georgia has run stuffers up front in their 3-4 defense in DE Trenton Thompson and NT John Atkins, but most of the pass rush comes from linebackers Roquan Smith, Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy, who have combined for 13 sacks. It’s not just about sacking Mayfield; it’s about whether the Bulldogs can keep him from making plays down field when he scrambles.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Georgia: RBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The seniors rank second and third in Georgia history in career yards rushing, trailing only the great Herschel Walker. Chubb is the power back at 225 pounds. He ran for 1,175 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per carry this season. Michel averages 7.2 yards per carry, and needs 52 yards rushing to give Georgia two 1,000-yard rushers in a season for the first time.
Oklahoma: LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. The senior was a second-team All-American and the Big 12 co-defensive player of the year. Obo had eight sacks among 17.5 tackles for loss and forced three fumbles. Okoronkwo and fellow LB Caleb Kelly are big play makers on a Sooners defense that has had its struggles and ranks 70th in the nation in yards per play allowed (5.66).
FACTS & FIGURES
Georgia freshman QB Jake Fromm was the most efficient quarterback in the SEC with a rating of 168. He also threw only 230 passes, just ninth most in the SEC and 93rd in the country. … The Sooners are tops in the country averaging 8.44 yards per play. The school record is 7.6 in 1971. … Oklahoma has won eight straight games and during the streak RB Rodney Anderson has 1,182 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. … Georgia is seventh in the nation in third-down conversions at 47 percent.
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