Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield had a chance to win the Rose Bowl. In fact, he had several chances. But on Oklahoma’s final three drives – one in regulation and two in overtime – the Sooners mustered just three points, as Oklahoma’s O became strangely and noticeably conservative.
“I’m surprised, as I think the entire country and Sooner Nation is today, that the Heisman Trophy winner – the guy that’s thrown 41 touchdown passes coming into this game and two more on this day – doesn’t throw a pass on the first series of overtime,” CBS Sports college football analyst Rick Neuheisel said on Tiki and Tierney.
Indeed, after the Oklahoma defense limited Georgia to three points in the first overtime, the stage was set for Mayfield to win the game. Three straight runs later, however, the Sooners settled for a game-tying field goal. Then they had the go-ahead field goal blocked.
Georgia won it two plays later.
“He didn’t get it done,” Neuheisel said of Mayfield. “They didn’t get it done.”
Brandon Tierney, for one, is not a fan of college overtime and thought that was a horrible way to end a Rose Bowl thriller. Neuheisel, though, loved it.
“I’m on the other side of that coin,” he said. “I like college overtime because both sides get the ball, both sides get to play defense. I don’t have a problem with going back and forth and both having chances and both having to execute. I think that’s all fine.”
Neuheisel, who watched overtime a few feet beyond the end zone, had a perfect view of the action.
“I can tell you – because I’m that close to the stands – the Georgia fans were going out of their minds, the Oklahoma fans were going out of their minds, and there wasn’t a rational soul amongst the 92,000 that were in the Grandaddy of Them All,” Neuheisel said. “And I’m looking at those kids who are supposed to be young and wild you can’t count on maturity. You talk about locked in. Those guys were doing an unbelievable job of communicating despite the pressure of the moment. It was really fun to watch.”
In the end, though, Georgia was to much for the Sooners. More specifically, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were too much for the Sooners. Michel rushed 11 times for 181 yards (16.5 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, while Chubb rushed 14 times for 145 yards (10.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. That duo turned a 31-14 deficit into a 38-31 lead – and ultimately a 54-48 victory.
“The surprise of the game was Oklahoma jumping up to a 17-point lead, giving up that field goal by mismanaging the kickoff, getting it to a two-score game, and then going out there and Georgia basically just taking over,” Neuheisel said. “Listen, we knew Georgia had a physical advantage. We all know there’s such a thing as an eye-ball test. Georgia won that. Georgia won that hands down. But the style of play was going to be the difference.
“It looked (in the first half) like (Oklahoma was going to win),” Neuheisel continued, “but with a month to prepare for what you know is going to be downhill football with Chubb, with Michel coming at you down after down, you have to say to Mike Stoops, ‘That wasn’t good enough.’ You can’t give up more than 10 yards per carry (to both running backs), which was the end result. And it’s the reason Georgia’s going to play in Atlanta next week.”