This drive: Six plays, 88 yards, 1:56. A drive that looked a lot like its first-quarter drives. Baker Mayfield, who looked like he was sick again this half, erupted, with passes of 36 and 11 (for the touchdown) and a 22-yard scramble. Rodney Anderson also got things started with a 15-yard run on the drive’s first play.
Now we see what Georgia can do.
Georgia takes the lead
Jake Fromm hits Javon Wims in the end zone, and Wims holds on for a 4-yard touchdown. Georgia now leads 38-31.
There is 13:57 left. Oklahoma has still yet to get past midfield in the second half.
Senior safety Dominck Sanders has the interception of Baker Mayfield, and a return down to the 4-yard line, giving the offense a chance to punch it in and give UGA its first lead.
Sanders also has tied the Georgia career record for interceptions. He has 16, tying him with Jake Scott and Bacarri Rambo.
Total yards: Georgia 130, Oklahoma 29
Passing yards: Georgia 31, Oklahoma 14
Points: Georgia 14, Oklahoma 0
And just like that …
It’s a tie game. Sony Michel goes 38 yards on third-and-long, going through a wide-open hole on the right and out-running the defense.
Georgia 31, Oklahoma 31, with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.
Everything turned on that period between the Oklahoma squib kick and Oklahoma’s first few possessions of the first half, when it wasn’t able to put the game away.
Of course, there’s still plenty of time left in this one. All the momentum is with Georgia, however, which is passing and running the ball well, while Baker Mayfield has disappeared this half. We’ll see if that changes.
Georgia has 5 sacks
Including two sacks on consecutive plays just now, after Oklahoma had reached its own 40. Jon Ledbetter threw down Baker Mayfield, who waited too long to get rid of the ball, then D’Andre Walker broke through for another one on second down.
David Marshall and Tyler Clark each have a sack too. And another sack was split by Lorenzo Carter and Aaron Davis.
That equals the most sacks Oklahoma has given up all season. And it equals Georgia’s season high; Florida gave up 5 sacks to the Bulldogs.
While Georgia couldn’t do anything with that offensive possession, the first time it had the ball down one possession since the second quarter, the dynamics of the game still have changed in UGA’s favor.
The pace of the game has slowed, which is more to the Bulldogs’ favor than the pinball game that allowed Oklahoma to take a 31-14 lead.
It also helps that special teams is in Georgia’s favor: Cam Nizialek just punted it 60 yards and Tyler Simmons downed it at the 2.
It’s a ballgame again
Right now, the Oklahoma errant squib kick is looming very large. Since then:
- Georgia gets a 55-yard field goal to make it 31-17 at halftime.
- Georgia defense forces a three-and-out to start the second half, and gets the ball at midfield after a good Mecole Hardman punt return.
- Nick Chubb goes 50 yards on Georgia’s first play of the half, sheddling tacklers early and then out-running the defense. And it’s suddenly a 7-point game again.
And there’s plenty of time left.
Halftime analysis: Seven thoughts
1. When debating whether Oklahoma’s offense could do the same things it has this season against a vaunted SEC defense like Georgia’s, I always looked at the Ohio State game and thought that was an indicator that it could. So far, unfortunately for Georgia, the Sooners alreadyhave equaled their point total from their win over the Buckeyes. Oklahoma has 360 yards in the first half, which is already more than Georgia has given up in any game except the first Auburn game. (The Tigers finished with 488). And Oklahoma’s point total is also already the second most the Bulldogs have yielded this season.
2. Whether it’s Oklahoma doing it or not, Georgia’ defense looks nothing like the unit it was all season. The tackling has been terrible. It looks slower than it ever has been. Players can’t beat blocks. Roquan Smith’s name hardly has been called. The Bulldogs just look lost. I’m not sure how much schematically they can change in the second half. They just have to play better. A lot better.
2b. But let’s not take anything away from Oklahoma. Baker Mayfield, seeing him in person for the first time, is really, really good. So accurate with the ball. Rodney Anderson is really explosive. And that offensive line is dominating Georgia’s front the way Notre Dame did not.
3. Georgia’s offensive play-calling has been … surprising. Jim Chaney called 17 passes and 10 runs, with one of the passes resulting in a sack, hence counting as a run. Georgia is averaging 16.5 yards per run, with runs of 75 and 45 yards. It hasn’t been nearly as good with the pass, averaging 9.1 yards per catch, with 5 incompletions and a sack.
4. One particular pass call stands out: Nick Chubb had just run 45 yards out to the 47, getting the Bulldogs out of the hole. Chaney then called a pass on first down, and Fromm was decked. Three plays later UGA punted.
5. Jake Fromm has looked human this game. His stats are solid (12 for 17 for 109 yards), but he’s been off on several key throws that could have extended drives.
6. Let’s not make it all negative: Sony Michel and Nick Chubb have been great, combining for 184 yards on just 8 carries. Michel also has 3 catches for 24 yards. And defensively, linemen Tyler Clark and David Marshall have made some big plays. Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 48-yarder, but he atoned with his Rose Bowl-record 55-yard fied goal to finish the half.
7. Crowd-wise, while Georgia seemed to dominate in the buzz leading up to the game, actual turnout in the stadium may be a bit more modest. The Bulldogs still have the most, but probably more in the neighborhood of 55 to 60 percent.
Bonus thought: The field goal at the end of the half stems some of the momentum. But Oklahoma is still up two touchdowns and gets the ball to start the second half. Georgia needs to make something good happen ― a turnover, perhaps two, or a defensive stop and then a long punt return. I don’t think Georgia can come back with this pace. It needs turnovers and special teams, or else its season will be over in 30 minutes.
Georgia takes advantage of a gift
For some reason, Oklahoma basically onside-kicked it with 6 seconds left, rather than a squib. Or maybe it was a badly executed squib kick. Either way, Tae Crowder hopped right on it and wisely downed his knee.
Kirby Smart could have tried for a hail mary with 6 seconds left. But he decided there was enough time to try to set up a field goal, and he was right. Jake Fromm hit Terry Godwin for 9 yards, and then Rodrigo Blankenship went out to try a career-long 55-yarder.
Blankenship made it. And suddenly Georgia goes into halftime with a two-possession deficit, rather than 17. Not that it’s that much less daunting, considering Oklahoma gets the ball to start the second half. But still.
Probably too early to say so, with an entire half of action to go. But Georgia’s defense just suffered something very bad after an Oklahoma trick play.
Third-and-goal from the 2, and a stop likely means a field goal, and a two-possession deficit at the half.
But Oklahoma runs a double reverse, and Baker Mayfield sneaks uncovered into the corner of the end zone, where receiver CeeDee Lamb passed it a few yards into Mayfield’s hands.
Oklahoma thus took a 31-14 lead with 6 seconds left in the half.
David Marshall to the rescue
Yeah I know I used that term in a previous headline, but it applies: Marshall, the sophomore defensive lineman, has a one-armed sack to bring down Baker Mayfield on second down, forcing the Sooners into a third-and-long. The subsequent play is short and for the first time all game, Oklahoma has to punt.
It was also the first three-and-out for Oklahoma’s offense. That’s a huge stop by Georgia’s defense, as another score on that drive, especially a touchdown, would have put the Bulldogs in very dire circumstances.
Georgia punts again
Jake Fromm was a bit off on throws on second and third down, and Georgia has to punt. And it should give Oklahoma, already up 10, with good field position. Not good.
Fromm has missed on a few throws but overall is still playing well, completing 10-of-14 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
The way this is going, Fromm’s day may just be starting.
Georgia D finally gets a stop
The result is still points for Oklahoma, but that’s a moral victory for the Bulldogs, who force the Sooners to settle for 3 points.
It came via a third-down sack, with Tyler Clark getting the credit as a swarm of defenders got to Baker Mayfield quickly after the snap. That’s what the Bulldogs wanted to do in this game: force Mayfield into pocket situations.
But three plays earlier it didn’t work. Georgia had Oklahoma in third-and-10 and sent the house, but Mayfield quickly checked down to CeeDee Lamb, who scampered 14 yards up the middle. Georgia might have been lucky it was only 14 yards. That proved to be a big stop.
Sony Michel to the rescue
One play. Seventy-five yards. Georgia is back within a score.
And the press box announcer is pronouncing his name right.
This might be a very, very long day, and very high-scoring.
Can’t stop the run
Georgia now finds itself down 21-7, its vaunted defense dominated by Oklahoma’s offense thus far.
Baker Mayfield is one thing. But Rodney Anderson is already over 100 yards, and just scored his second touchdown on a 41-yard dash down the left sideline.
Oklahoma has 209 yards less than a minute into the first quarter. It’s averaging over 12 yards per play. Georgia’s defense just looks overwhelmed.
What can the Bulldogs do? Their offense just has to keep plugging away and try to put together a long drive. The defense needs to get off blocks better, for starters. Oklahoma’s ability to run the ball is the difference in this game. As Kirby Smart said this week, you know Mayfield is going to get his. You have to limit it and not let the run game beat you.
Right now the run game is beating UGA, and badly.
Georgia stalls and misses
For awhile there, it looked as if Georgia would roll downfield and again answer, as we get this pinball affair going. Then, things stalled.
First, a false start on second-and-inches pushed the ball back. Then two short passes yielded very little. And then Rodrigo Blankenship’s 48-yard field goal missed.
There was a debate up here on whether Kirby Smart should have gone for it rather than try for the field goal. Valid points on both sides: If it looks like you’re going to need to keep up in this game, then you need to go for it, especially when your offense has generally been doing well. But going for it on fourth-and-4 when you have a reliable field goal kicker can also be seen as a panic move.
Either way, the field goal wasn’t made anyway, and we head to the second quarter with Oklahoma owning all the momentum and Georgia needing to make something good happen.
Sort of like how Davin Bellamy did in the SEC Championship Game.
Double trouble for UGA defense
As people have pointed out this week, Oklahoma isn’t all Baker Mayfield. And it can score either way.
Rodney Anderson ran for 63 yards on this drive, including a 45-yard run down the left sideline and a 9-yard touchdown. Mayfield didn’t even need to complete a pass that drive.
Two drives, two quick touchdowns against the Georgia defense. And the Sooners are averaging 13 yards per play and haven’t had to go to third down yet.
This already ties for the worst first quarter for Georgia’s defense, which gave up 14 points to Missouri. But there’s 6:56 left in this first quarter.
That was a big drive for Georgia. Well, it’s the Rose Bowl and a playoff semifinal, so they’re all big. But that was big.
The danger here for the Bulldogs was finding itself down a lot and quickly, taking the offense out of its comfort zone. Not to say that definitely won’t happen now, but it was avoided for now.
Nick Chubb went left for 21 yards on the first play, making a lot out of very little running room near the sideline. Two plays later Sony Michel went through a big hole on the right edge for 20 yards.
Javon Wims caught a 14-yard pass over the middle. Then Michel got open on the left side and Jake Fromm hit him for the 13-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
Oklahoma strikes first
The good news for Georgia: It was also trailing 7-0 in the SEC Championship Game and didn’t give up a score after that.
The bad news for Georgia: Boy, did Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma look good on that drive.
Mayfield was stunningly accurate, dropping in passes to fullback Dimitri Flowers on consecutive plays, for 16 and then 26 yards, and then hitting Marquise Brown in the end zone for a touchdown after a great play.
Georgia also committed a hands-to-the-face penalty, something it keeps doing for some reason, pushing the ball down to the 15. The drive only took 2:06. Mayfield was 5 of 5 on the drive.
Georgia’s first drive
Remember how Georgia’s strategy was, according to prevailing thinking, be able to run the ball and keep Oklahoma’s offense off the field. Well, Jim Chaney calls pass plays on consecutive first downs. It works the first time, comes back to bite the Bulldogs the second time, but that wasn’t really Chaney’s fault.
Javon Wims with a 21-yard catch and run on the first play. Then they dial up almost the same play and Wims drops it. Two plays later Jake Fromm overthrows Charlie Woerner, and Georgia has to punt.
Not much of an indicator either way on that first drive. Now comes the main event: Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense against Georgia’s great defense.
Oklahoma won the toss and elected to defer, so it will kick off, and we will see the undercard first: Georgia’s offense against Oklahoma’s defense.
After the coin toss, Baker Mayfield sprinted to the Oklahoma section and waved his arms. He looks fine.
Georgia-Oklahoma football score: Live updates for the 2018 College Football Playoff
Q1: 15:00 Georgia 0, Oklahoma 0
Georgia-Oklahoma football: Game time for the 2018 College Football Playoff
The 2018 College Football Playoff semifinal between Georgia and Oklahoma will start at 5 PM ET. The game will be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Cali. This is the first time Georgia has played in a Rose Bowl since 1943.
Georgia-Oklahoma football: TV Channel for the 2018 College Football Playoff
The 2018 College Football Playoff game between Georgia and Oklahoma will be broadcast on ESPN.
Georgia-Oklahoma football: Live stream for the 2018 College Football Playoff
The 2018 College Football Playoff game between Georgia and Oklahoma can be live streamed on the WatchESPN app, provided you have a subscription
Georgia-Oklahoma football: Preview for the 2018 College Football Playoff
Oklahoma will be the best offense Georgia has faced this year by a healthy margin. The Sooners lead the nation in total offense as they average over 580 yards a game and rank No. 4 in scoring offense in the country. The Sooners’ offense is led by quarterback Baker Mayfield, who won the Heisman Trophy this year in a landslide.
Mayfield threw for 4,330 yards and 41 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. His top targets include tight end Mark Andrews, who hauled in a team-high 8 touchdowns and 58 receptions. Oklahoma is led on the ground by the tandem of Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon, as the duo combined for 1,670 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Sermon is a Georgia native.
Oklahoma’s defense isn’t nearly as strong as its offense, but it did make strides over the second half of the season. And Oklahoma boasts an impressive pass rusher in Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who led the Sooners with 8.0 sacks.
Oklahoma does have experience in the College Football Playoff, as the Sooners played in the College Football Playoff two years ago, The Sooners lost to Clemson 37-17.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm will attempt to be the first true freshman quarterback to win a national championship since Jamelle Holieway did it with the Oklahoma Sooners in 1985. One of the key matchups to watch in the game will be how Roquan Smith plays. The Georgia linebacker and Butkus award winner will have to both cover Andrews while also keeping an eye on Mayfield. The Oklahoma quarterback has shown that he is a capable runner.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of the Clemson-Alabama game. Those two teams meet in the Sugar Bowl, which will start after the Rose Bowl.