• OU makes playoffs, will face Georgia in Rose Bowl

    By: Nathan Thompson


    Oklahoma will make its second College Football Playoff semifinals appearance in the last three years when it faces Georgia in the 104th edition of the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. OU's bowl destination was announced late Sunday morning.


    The Sooners have won their last eight games and 18 of their last 19 going back to last season. They are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff while Georgia is the No. 3 seed. The other semifinals game will pit No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, also on Jan. 1.


    The Oklahoma-Georgia matchup will mark the first between the programs. Oklahoma has won its last four games against SEC programs, and is 7-3 against the league since 2000, with three wins over Alabama during that period.


    The Rose Bowl, known as "The Granddaddy of Them All," is the oldest bowl game. It was first played in 1902 and has been played continuously since 1916. This year's game is scheduled to kick off at 4:10 p.m. CT. The winners of the semifinals contests will advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, Jan. 8, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.


    The Sooners are 12-1 on the year and are coming off a 41-17 win over TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday. It marked OU's third straight Big 12 title and 11th overall (all in the last 18 years).


    Georgia is 12-1 overall and went 7-1 in the SEC to win the East Division. The Bulldogs won their first nine games of the year before stumbling at Auburn on Nov. 11. However, Georgia made up for its lone loss of the season with a 28-7 win over the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia boasts one of the best defenses in the nation, ranking fourth in total defense (270.9 yards per game), second in passing yards allowed (158.3 yards per game), third in scoring defense (13.2 points per game) and 12th in rushing defense (112.6 yards per game).


    Oklahoma, which is still the only Big 12 program to qualify for the College Football Playoff, boasts the nation's most prolific offense. The Sooners lead the nation by averaging 583.3 yards per game and 8.4 yards per play. Only one team (Hawaii at 8.6 in 2006) averaged more yards per play for an entire season.


    The Sooners are led by Heisman Trophy hopeful Baker Mayfield. The senior quarterback leads the nation in completion percentage (.710), passing efficiency rating (203.8; would break his own FBS single-season record), yards per pass attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and pass of plays of 20-plus yards (75), while ranking second in passing touchdowns (41) and fourth in total offense per game (357.7) and passing yards per game (333.8).


    A finalist for the Maxwell, Davey O'Brien, Manning and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards, as well as the Burlsworth Trophy, Mayfield has completed 262-of-369 passes this year for a career-high 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions (8.2-to-1 ratio) while rushing for 310 yards and another five scores.


    The Sooners are making their 19th straight bowl appearance. Only two schools own longer active consecutive streaks of bowl appearances recognized by the NCAA: Virginia Tech (25) and Georgia (21). Oklahoma owns a 29-20-1 all-time bowl record.


    This will mark just OU's second appearance in the Rose Bowl. On Jan. 1, 2003, the No. 8 Sooners handed No. 7 Washington State a 34-14 defeat behind quarterback and game MVP Nate Hybl, who was 19-of-29 for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Quentin Griffin rushed 30 times for 144 yards and a touchdown, and Antonio Perkins returned a punt 51 yards for a score.

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