Georgia Wins OT Thriller vs. Sooners

Michel TD ends Oklahoma, Mayfield’s season

Georgia running back Sony Michel (1) scores a touchdown in overtime against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif. Georgia won 54-48. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

PASADENA, Calif. — Sony Michel burst through the line for a 27-yard touchdown run to give No. 3 Georgia a 54-48 victory Monday night against No. 2 Oklahoma, winning the first overtime Rose Bowl and sending the Bulldogs to the College Football Playoff championship game.

Michel, who had a fumble in the fourth quarter returned for a go-ahead Oklahoma touchdown, ran for 181 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs (13-1), but none bigger than the last one in the second overtime.

“I made plays. I gave up plays. My team just had faith in me,” said Michel, who did all that damage on just 11 carries. “That’s what this team is all about. They showed true character today.”

In the final game of one of his great career, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass that gave the Sooners a 17-point lead with 6 seconds left in the first half.

But the Heisman Trophy winner could not get the Sooners into the end zone in the first overtime when a touchdown would have ended the game.

The Bulldogs will play Jan. 8 for the national championship in Atlanta, about 90 miles from their campus — with a chance to win their first national title since 1980.

“We got to get back to work. It’s not done,” Michel said. “Now we got to finish. Let’s just finish this season off right.”

The first overtime Rose Bowl was also the highest scoring, surpassing last year’s 52-49 USC victory against Penn State. There was a lot more on the line in this one, which will go down as one of the greatest Granddaddies of Them All.

After an offside penalty on Georgia gave Oklahoma a first down on third-and-five in the second OT possession, the Sooners stalled again and Austin Seibert came out for a 27-yard field goal. Leaping through the line, Lorenzo Carter got his outstretched hand on the kick and the ball fluttered down short of the uprights.

Any score would have ended it for the Bulldogs, and on the second play Michel slipped one tackle and was home free. The Bulldogs sprinted off the sideline and toward the corner of the end zone to mob Michel. Confetti rained down. Meanwhile, Mayfield stood motionless on the sideline for several seconds, bent over with his hands on his knees and head down. Mayfield battled flu-like symptoms the week leading into the game, but he played just fine.

“I can’t believe it’s over. It’s been a wild ride,” Mayfield said with a hoarse voice before he started to cry.

Michel and his running mate Nick Chubb were awesome for Georgia. Chubb ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including a 2-yarder on a direct snap with 55 seconds left in regulation to tie it.

Both teams settled for field goals in the first overtime, first Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship from 38 to make it 48-45.

Then it was Mayfield’s turn. A touchdown would have sent the Sooners to Atlanta, but on a third-and-2 from the 17 Georgia All-America linebacker Roquan Smith nailed Jordan Smallwood a yard short of the first down.

Seibert kicked a 33-yarder and the Bulldogs and Sooners played on, but not for much longer.

The first meeting between the storied programs was an instant classic.

Peach Bowl

No. 10 Central Florida 34, No. 7 Auburn 27

ATLANTA (AP) — McKenzie Milton threw two touchdown passes and ran for 116 yards with another touchdown, leading No. 10 Central Florida to a Peach Bowl win over No. 7 Auburn that capped the Knights’ perfect season.

UCF led 34-20 before having to stop a late Auburn comeback. Antwan Collier’s interception in the end zone with 24 seconds remaining clinched the win.

After Auburn took a 20-13 lead in the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Kerryon Johnson, Milton threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Otis Anderson to tie the game. Milton, under pressure, zipped an 8-yard scoring pass to Dredrick Snelson early in the fourth to give the Knights the lead.

Chequan Burkett’s 45-yard interception return for a touchdown pushed the lead to 14 points.

UCF (13-0) won in its final game with coach Scott Frost, who stayed with the team through the bowl game after accepting an offer to become the new coach at Nebraska, his alma mater.

The Knights thought they deserved a higher ranking after winning the American Athletic Conference and leading the nation in scoring, and they made a strong statement by beating Auburn (10-4).

The Knights sacked Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham six times. Auburn had only one sack.

Outback Bowl

South Carolina 26, Michigan 19

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jake Bentley threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns Monday to help South Carolina overcome a 16-point second-half deficit to beat Michigan in the Outback Bowl.

The sophomore tossed scoring passes of 21 yards to Bryan Edwards and 53 yards to Shi Smith, the latter giving the Gamecocks (9-4) a 23-19 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Michigan (8-5) finished with its first three-game losing streak under coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines turned the ball over five times, including an end zone interception that denied them an opportunity to regain the lead with just under eight minutes to go.

The loss also cost the Big Ten a clean sweep of bowl games involving conference members. The league entered 7-0, looking to go unbeaten in postseason play for the first time since 1998 when it went 5-0.

Bentley was 19 of 32 passing with one interception. Rico Dowdle, playing for first time since breaking his leg against Tennessee on Oct. 14, began South Carolina’s comeback from a 19-3 deficit with a 17-yard TD run.

Brandon Peters had a tough day for Michigan, completing 20 of 44 passes for 186 yards and two interceptions. His second pick, with 1:05 remaining, sealed South Carolina’s second Outback Bowl victory over the Wolverines in five years.

Quinn Nordin accounted for most of Michigan’s scoring, kicking field goals of 35, 26, 45 and 48 yards. Fullback Ben Mason scored on a 1-yard run in helping Michigan build its 16-point lead.

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