Keep refreshing… (Part II)

Playoff edition

A float in the 2018 Rose Parade. (Photo credit:

Rose Bowl: Oklahoma-Georgia

Opening thought: the Rose Bowl continues a season full of bucket list venues for Georgia fans. I met many of them at Wrigley Field back in September as they took the entire Midwest by storm when their Dawgs made the trip to South Bend to play Notre Dame. Many of these fans described visiting Wrigley and Notre Dame in the same weekend as the trip of a lifetime. I didn’t imagine then that Georgia might make a trip to the Rose Bowl four months later…

Unfortunately for these Dawgs’ fans, their opponent has Baker Mayfield, the best quarterback in the country. Mayfield and the Sooners pick apart Georgia’s defense en route to a quick touchdown. OU leads 7–0.

The broadcast keeps showing Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) as he is the 2018 Rose Parade’s Grand Marshal. I support this. Maybe they can get Tom Hanks in the announcer’s booth at some point…

Georgia’s offense responds immediately as QB Jake Fromm efficiently carves up the Sooners’ defense. He finishes the drive with a patient check-down pass to RB Sony Michel in the flat. Michel saunters into the endzone. 7–7 and we’re not even halfway through the first quarter. This is gonna be fun!

Man, this Oklahoma offense is a nightmare to defend. The Sooners’ second drive was all RB Rodney Anderson. OU regains the lead 14–7 after Anderson sprints into the endzone to punctuate a drive in which he carried it four times for sixty-six yards. Mayfield barely even did anything. If I were a Georgia fan, this would make me nervous.

After a promising drive, Georgia’s kicker hooks a field goal attempt. I forgive him because: a) it was a fairly long one (48 yards); b) he wears Rec Specs; c) his nickname was apparently “Hot Rod” when he was growing up; and d) I have no preference on who wins this game.

The second quarter is underway and within a minute of game time, Anderson breaks another big run for a touchdown. 21–7 Sooners. I have no idea how anyone can stop this offense. Georgia had one of the best defenses in the country this season and OU’s offense looks like it’s running on air.

Immediately after getting the ball back, Georgia answers with a touchdown. It’s Michel again, who takes a handoff seventy-five yards to the house. My gosh, he’s good. 21–14 Sooners. Fun this is going to be, as Yoda might say. (Side note: I have not yet seen the new Star Wars.)

Oklahoma has the ball back and quickly gets into Georgia territory. We have what feels like an important upcoming third down play. Timeout is taken as OU training staff tends to Anderson, who was aggressively driven out of bounds and to the ground by multiple Georgia defenders.

Oklahoma gets a first down on a quarterback keeper by Mayfield once play is resumed. Russell Wilson is a great NFL comp; their games are nearly identical. Their personalities are not.

Georgia’s defense finally stiffens in the redzone and holds the Sooners to a field goal. 24–14 OU. That has to be pretty encouraging for the Dawgs and their fans.

What isn’t encouraging is that Georgia’s offense sputters and has to punt the ball back to Oklahoma. Let’s see if the Dawgs’ defense can make a key stop or force a turnover.

They do in fact get a stop, but start with the ball inside their own five-yard-line thanks to a beautiful punt from OU’s Punter/Kicker Austin Seibert. Fortunately, Georgia’s other amazing running back, Nick Chubb, immediately changes field position with a long run out to midfield. Admittedly, I’m a broken record but Georgia’s RB duo is one of the best I’ve seen the past few years. That’s the lone highlight of the drive though, and Georgia has to punt the ball yet again.

Oklahoma uses a great route combination to create space for one of its many speedsters. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown catches the ball on a shallow crossing route and scampers forty-five yards into Georgia territory. After a few plays in the redzone, Oklahoma busts out a trick play on what appears to be a double reverse option play. It results in Mayfield catching a touchdown pass. Really cool play call; Oklahoma is in control 31–14.

Aided by a squib kick from the Sooners, Georgia quickly gets the ball on Oklahoma’s side of the field as the first half winds down. Hot Rod booms a fifty-five yarder as time expires. 31–17 OU at the half.

I guess I’ve been watching the wrong broadcast…

As an unabashed geek, this kind of stuff amazes me.

Optimal start to the second half for Georgia as the defense forces Oklahoma’s offense into a three-and-out. The Dawgs’ offense starts its drive at the 50-yardline after a nice punt return.

Then Nick Chubb promptly bulldozes three OU defenders and races fifty yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. If you believe in momentum, the Dawgs have plenty. 31–24 OU.

The defenses are starting to bring it. After trading punts, Georgia’s defense halts an Oklahoma drive by sacking Mayfield on consecutive plays. This is the Dawgs pass rush that I remember seeing throughout the season.

After moving into OU territory, Georgia ties the game on Michel’s third touchdown of the day. Sony has moves like a Playstation game. The Rose Bowl never disappoints. 31–31 as the third quarter ends. Did I mention how fun this game is?

On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Mayfield sails an errant pass and Georgia defensive back Dominick Sanders returns it to the five yard line. Uh oh Sooners fans.

A couple plays later, Fromm fires a strike to his favorite target Javon Wims. Wims plucked that one out of the air; impressive hand strength. 38–31 Georgia. Twenty-four unanswered points. How ‘bout them Dawgs?!

Georgia’s defense holds serve again and forces another Oklahoma punt. After being dismantled in the first half, the Dawgs’ defense is pitching a shutout so far in the second half. Impressive turnaround; now the offense has a chance to deliver a body blow to the Sooners.

Georgia is unable to expand its lead and gives the ball back to Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s offense suddenly remembers that it is the best one in the country and Mayfield starts cooking (or baking, I suppose) again. He caps the drive by rolling out to his left and firing a touchdown pass to Dimitri Flowers in the back of the endzone. 38–38. What a game.

Oklahoma’s defense just made its biggest play of the game. A brilliant defensive play by one defender jars the ball loose from Michel, and a brilliant play by another recovers and tiptoes to keep his feet in-bounds and carries the ball into the endzone. 45–38 Oklahoma. Holy cow.

Fromm makes an outstanding play to avoid a cadre of OU defenders and buy enough time to find an open Michel who gets a first down. He makes another excellent throw later in the drive to set the Dawgs up with a first down inside the redzone. After a subsequent pass interference penalty against the Sooners, Chubb takes a direct snap across the goal line. 45–45, under a minute remaining in regulation. Boy, college football is boring.

Oklahoma has to punt and then Georgia kneels on it. Overtime.

Georgia starts with the ball and doesn’t get a first down. Hot Rod punches his field goal attempt through the goalposts. 48–45 Georgia. OU ball.

On 3rd-and-2, Georgia LB Roquan Smith makes a great tackle and denies a Sooner first down. After being frozen twice, Seibert punches a field goal between the uprights to make it 48–48. Double Overtime.

After finding themselves in a predicament due to an offsides penalty, Georgia’s defense holds firm and forces a field goal attempt. The kick is…BLOCKED! Any score by the Dawgs will win the game.

And you’re not gonna believe this but on Georgia’s second play from scrimmage that Michel guy ran in ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN, his FOURTH of the day. Georgia wins 54–48 in 2OT. The Dawgs are heading to Atlanta for the National Championship Game. That was fun, let’s do it again sometime.

After watching the Rose Bowl, it felt anti-climactic to watch another football game. Yes, even a contest that featured Alabama and Clemson playing for the right to advance to the Championship Game felt anti-climactic. I watched pieces of the game and my instincts proved correct. Alabama’s defense smothered Clemson all evening and the final score was 24–6. I am glad that I did not watch much of this game.

Alabama is an incredible program, but this does not necessarily make them a pleasant viewing experience. We’ll see what the Dawgs offense can muster in the Championship Game next Monday.

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