Rodney Anderson

Getty Images

No. 3 Georgia slays Baker Mayfield and No. 2 Oklahoma to win Rose Bowl in double overtime shootout

30 Comments

PASADENA, Calif. — If you’re going to mount an epic comeback, making history in the Granddaddy of them All isn’t a bad place to do so.

No. 3 Georgia stormed back from 17 down (and a seven point deficit in the final few minutes) against the Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 Oklahoma to capture a dramatic 54-48 win in double overtime of the 104th Rose Bowl to book a southern homecoming to end all homecomings with a spot in the National Championship Game in Atlanta next week.

Not surprisingly, the Bulldogs used what worked all season: run the ball, play some defense and find a little luck.

Tailbacks Sony Michel and Nick Chubb both had the game of their careers on the grand stage of the College Football Playoff Semifinal and cemented their status as the best duo to share a backfield. Michel posted a 75-yard touchdown for one of his three scores on the night and scored the winner from 27 yards out on a direct snap to win the game. He finished with 181 on the ground. Chubb didn’t mind playing a little game of ‘anything you can do, I can do too’ in ripping off a 50-yarder to the house to go with his 145 yards in the game.

That helped take the pressure off of freshman quarterback Jake Fromm —  not that he needed it with an efficient 210 yards passing and two touchdowns. He never once looked overwhelmed by the moment despite the numbers and made several huge throws down the stretch and on the final drive that tied the game with just a minute left.

Though the final numbers were not something for head coach Kirby Smart to be proud about, he’ll take them given that the team left Southern California with the win. Linebacker Roquan Smith was all over the field as the team’s leader on that side of the ball and a big reason why the Bulldogs were able to emerge victorious in the first ever overtime game in Rose Bowl history.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was still dazzling with the football in his hands even if it didn’t quite get the job done. The nation’s most outstanding player threw for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also catching a score in the corner of the end zone for good measure. While he did throw an interception that contributed to Bulldogs clawing their way back in the second half, Mayfield was simply phenomenal when the pressure was cranked up the most.

It wasn’t just a one-man show for the most potent offense in college football either. Rodney Anderson made it very clear that the field was full of terrific tailbacks as he ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns — one a 45 yarder that early in the second quarter that put the SEC champs on defense that the team was here to play too.

Somewhat ironically however, the biggest play for the team may have come from a defense that allowed 527 yards and were frequently chasing players instead of tackling them. With just under seven minutes to go in the game, linebacker Caleb Kelly went low to tackle Georgia’s Sony Michel and put his helmet right on the ball to force a fumble along the sidelines. Steven Parker was in the right place at the right time though and returned it 46 yards the other way for a go-ahead score.

Michel would make up for that mistake not long after to seal the game, taking advantage of a blocked field goal in the second overtime to lock up the victory.

The night belonged to Georgia as they won the first ever meeting between the two powerhouses by capturing the first ever overtime game in Rose Bowl history. Not a bad trip out West for the Dawgs but that plane ride back to Georgia will be even sweeter.

No. 2 Oklahoma off to the races against No. 3 Georgia as Rose Bowl shootout hits halftime

Getty Images
1 Comment

PASADENA, Calif. — The nation’s best offense seemed to be slightly ahead of one of college football’s best defenses early on at the Granddaddy of them All.

Behind a barrage of quick passes from the Heisman Trophy winner and the terrific running of tailback Rodney Anderson, No. 2 Oklahoma took a 31-17 halftime lead over No. 3 Georgia in the best track meet in college football at the 104th Rose Bowl.

Baker Mayfield was terrific in the first half and certainly looked at 100% after dealing with an illness in the week leading up to the game. The nation’s most outstanding player was nearly perfect against the No. 1 pass defense in the FBS, throwing for 200 yards and a touchdown on the grand stage of a College Football Playoff semifinal. Incredibly, he even caught a touchdown in the corner of the end zone with six seconds left in the half to extend the team’s lead and even the simple threat of the dynamic signal-caller opened up plenty of other avenues for the Sooners to attack. Anderson in particular took advantage on nearly every drive, ripping off a pair of 40+ yard runs on his way to 125 and a pair of touchdowns at the break.

Oklahoma wound up scoring on five of their six possessions in what would be come a theme on the day of both sides racing up and down the most picturesque field in the sport.

The Bulldogs were no slouch offensively either even if their defense wasn’t living up the high billing. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm was not operating an Air Raid attack but had 109 yards on 12-of-17 passing with a touchdown and looked ready for his big moment out West.

Of course, it helps to have tailbacks like Georgia’s to turn around and hand the ball off to. Sony Michel broke off a 75 yard touchdown run in the first quarter that showed off a bit of that SEC speed while finishing the half with 95 on the ground. Teammate Nick Chubb wasn’t shabby either in adding 89 yards on six carries.

Last year’s Rose Bowl set numerous offensive records when Penn State and USC got into a track meet but it seems the Sooners and Bulldogs are well on their way to rewriting those numbers to kick off 2018. A ticket to Atlanta and the national title game is on the line in the second half and it has the makings of a classic if the SEC champs can get back into things after that dazzling show from both sides.

Neck injury ends Sooner RB Rodney Anderson’s season before it started

Getty Images
Leave a comment

If it wasn’t for bad injury luck, Rodney Anderson would have no luck at all.

Last year, Anderson’s 2015 season ended prematurely because of a leg injury sustained in Week 2 against Tennessee.  This year, Anderson didn’t even make it to the regular season as Oklahoma announced the running back will be sidelined for the entire 2016 season because of a neck injury.

Anderson suffered the injury during a scrimmage Thursday.

“I hate it for Rodney,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “It didn’t appear to be much of an injury at the time and there’s no paralysis or anything like that. But we found out this afternoon that he will be out for the year.

“Rodney is a strong guy and will rebound from this just like he came back after missing most of last season. He was practicing exceptionally well and had positioned himself to have a role in this year’s offense.”

Anderson was a four-star member of the Sooners’ 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 4 all-purpose back and the No. 20 player at any position in the state of Texas.  He ran for five yards on his lone carry as a true freshman before sustaining the season-ending injury.

Because of the win injuries, Anderson would be a slam dunk to earn fifth and sixth seasons of eligibility from the NCAA if that’s the tack he chooses.