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Rushing duo carries Bulldogs over Sooners in epic Rose Bowl finish

12 January 2018

And after nearly giving up everything on one play and watching his college career end on a whimper, Michel took that final carry and carried the Bulldogs to a national championship berth.

Griffin was on the sideline for Monday night's Oklahoma-Georgia Rose Bowl game, sporting his Sooner colors.

The Georgia Bulldog season continues now with the National Championship Game in Atlanta on Monday night.

"They say adversity kind of reveals character", Smart said. I think it exposes character, for sure. "Now we got to finish".

The Rose Bowl Game dispenses with its traditional Big Ten versus Pac- 12 matchup once every three years to serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal. He never cared about the Heisman, he cared about his team and being able to lead them to be National Champions. They're already Nos. 2 and 3 on the SEC's and Georgia's all-time lists. "We let them back in the game, and they took advantage of that".

Sony Michel had a 27-yard touchdown run on the second play of the ensuing Georgia possession, and the Bulldogs advanced to the championship game in Atlanta on January 8.

Michel and fellow running back Nick Chubb combined for 326 rushing yards and six total touchdowns. Sandwiched between them was a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, the eighth-longest touchdown run in Rose Bowl history.

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"I'm proud as hell to be his coach", Riley said.

Defensively, junior linebacker Roquan Smith collected a team-leading 11 tackles including a key 3rd-down tackle in the first period of overtime and was awarded defensive player of the game. But as the game approached, he tried to dispel any notion that his energy remained sapped, dashing down the field just before kickoff while shouting and waving his arms to incite the Oklahoma side in the sea of red that made up the Rose Bowl crowd.

They took a major hit from sleek Oklahoma and the Heisman Trophy victor Baker Mayfield, and they not only stayed upright, but managed to limit the Sooners to one offensive touchdown over the final two quarters plus both overtimes.

After several stops, the Bulldogs scored again when Sony Michele took the ball 38 yards for the touchdown to tie up the game at 31 points a piece.

"27 [Chubb] and 1 [Michel], they put this team on their shoulders, and all they do is do it right", second-year Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters.

Oklahoma: The Sooners' defense has been an issue all season, but it did look for a while like it might make the decisive play.

"We just didn't play well though early in the second half", Riley said. "My gut said to kick it, and we did". "You know, man, we're Running Back U. We always have the best backs".

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Even though all the momentum rested with Oklahoma at the half, opportunistic plays by Georgia made it a punch/counterpunch battle between two gladiators down the stretch.

"Probably the biggest challenge was starting in early June", Riley said.

"I can't believe it's over", Mayfield said, choking back tears.

The redshirt senior was 23-of-35 passing for 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his final collegiate outing.

But on Monday, Michel made the plays when it mattered. OU sophomore Rodney Anderson gained a career-high 201 yards on the ground and added two first-half touchdowns.

"Their quarterback, he's just a special guy, and he makes a lot of things happen", Tucker said.

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Rushing duo carries Bulldogs over Sooners in epic Rose Bowl finish