Rose Bowl: Second-half collapse will haunt Mayfield, Sooners

BY Elijah Zabludoff • January 2, 2018

PASADENA, Calif. – For the first time EVER, the 102nd Rose Bowl Game went into overtime, two of them, actually.

In a game dominated by offense, it was the Georgia defense that saved the day. The game was tied at 48 in the second overtime, and the Sooners lined up in field goal formation to take the lead. Bulldogs linebacker Lorenzo Carter had something to say about it; he leaped and reached his hand in the air, and *THUMP,* field goal blocked.

The highest scoring game in the Rose Bowl's history ended when Sony Michel took the direct snap, patiently ran wide left, cut it up field, and waltzed into the end zone.

54-48. Game. Bulldogs.

Things didn't go Georgia's way for most of the game, though. After Baker Mayfield caught a touchdown right before halftime, it looked as if Oklahoma had the game locked up.

And when Georgia missed a field goal in the first quarter, Baker Mayfield made a throat slashing gesture at the Georgia sideline and mouthed, 'hey, it's over!'

Slow your role, kid. Mayfield tried to have the last laugh way too early.

Davin Bellamy of the Bulldogs got that final laugh when he hit Mayfield with this:

The Heisman Trophy winner was lights out in the first half, but the high-powered Sooners offense could only muster one offensive touchdown in the second half.

For Oklahoma, the second half drives went like this: punt, punt, punt, interception, punt, and a grand total of 37 yards.

Woof. How did this happen after putting up 31 first half points?

Lincoln Riley went to a horribly conservative play-calling style in the second half, relying on running back Rodney Anderson and not attacking the Bulldogs down the field, something which was so successful in the first half.

And when Oklahoma needed to get back to its aggressive attack, Mayfield tried to do too much. Holding the ball in the pocket too long, resulting in five sacks, and trying to squeeze throws into tight windows, resulting in an interception which forfeited the Sooners' lead.

Credit to Kirby Smart for getting his team to play on fire in the second half.

Losing in his final game as a Sooner, Mayfield was emotional: "This one hurts a lot more because I don't ever get to put this jersey on."

The 6-foot-1 quarterback is a sure first-round pick in the NFL Draft, but losing this game in this fashion hurts his stock, no question.

When his team needed him most, Mayfield didn't make the plays he needed to. He threw for only 87 yards in the second half, and wasn't the same Mayfield everyone saw in the first.

That is what is going to haunt him in the months to come: The tale of two Baker Mayfields.

The flamboyant and celebratory Mayfield is a great player, but another version of the Heisman winner appears when the Sooners have faced adversity.

Flail your arms and slash your throat, Mr. Mayfield, but make sure it's you all the time, not just when it's convenient.

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