Georgia senior running back Sony Michel sent his team to the College Football Playoff (CFP) championship game after a 27-yard touchdown run in the game’s second overtime to cap Georgia’s 17-point comeback over the Big 12 Champion Oklahoma Sooners.
Trailing the Sooners 31-14 late in the first half, the Bulldogs scored the next 24 points to grab a 38-31 lead in the third quarter. After Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb with six seconds left in the second quarter, Georgia took advantage of a short kickoff and turned it into points, as sophomore kicker Rodrigo Blankenship nailed a 55-yard field goal as the half expired to cut the deficit to 14.
The Bulldogs continued their comeback in the third quarter, as senior running back Nick Chubb broke free on the first play of the drive and scored on a 50-yard run to trim the Oklahoma lead to 7. After the Bulldogs defense forced the high-powered Sooners offense to punt for the third consecutive drive, Georgia evened the score when Michel took a handoff and raced 38 yards down the right sideline to even the score at 31.
Things got even worse for the Sooners on the ensuing drive, as Mayfield was intercepted by Georgia safety Dominick Sanders, who returned the interception to the Oklahoma 4-yard line. Two plays later, Georgia grabbed their first lead of the game courtesy of a Javon Wims touchdown reception from freshman quarterback Jake Fromm.
With 10:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Sooners were in desperate need of a touchdown. Mayfield proceeded to engineer a six-play, 88 yard drive that ended with an 11-yard pass to Dimitri Flowers in the back of the end zone to even the score at 38. The Sooners retook the lead on the following drive as Michel fumbled, where the loose ball was scooped up by senior defensive back Steven Parker and run in 46 yards to put Oklahoma ahead 45-38 with just under six minutes to play. After the two teams traded punts, it was Georgia’s turn to engineer a much-needed touchdown drive.
Fromm and the Georgia offense took over with 3:15 remaining in the quarter, 59 yards away from the end zone. The Bulldogs marched right down the field, with Fromm completing three passes for 48 yards, none bigger than a 16-yard hookup with Terry Godwin on third and ten from the Oklahoma 23-yard line. Chubb then capped the drive with a two-yard run off of a direct snap, his second touchdown of the game. The game went to overtime with the teams deadlocked at 45.
In the first overtime, the two teams traded field goals to send the Rose Bowl into a second overtime. Oklahoma had the ball first, and for the second consecutive overtime drive they were unable to score a touchdown. Junior kicker Austin Seibert was called on to kick a 27-yard field goal, but his attempt was blocked by Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter. Two plays later, Michel broke loose around the left end and scored from 27 yards out, sending Georgia to the championship game. They will face the winner of the Sugar Bowl, the other semifinal, between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers.