#2/2/2 OKLAHOMA (12-1, 8-1) vs.#3/3/3 GEORGIA (12-1, 7-1)

CFP Semifinal  Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 4:10 p.m. CT

Pasadena, Calif.  Rose Bowl Stadium (89,105)

 

OPENING KICK

Making its second College Football Playoff appearance in the last three years, No. 2/2/2 Oklahoma (12-1, 8-1 Big 12) continues pursuit of its eighth national title when its faces No. 3/3/3 Georgia (12-1, 7-1 SEC) in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual on Monday, Dec. 1 at 4:10 p.m. CT in Pasadena, Calif. The game will be televised by ESPN with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi announcing.  This marks Oklahoma’s 51st bowl appearance, seventh most nationally. Thirty six of those 51 have come in bowls that comprise the current New Year’s Six (Orange [19], Sugar [8], Fiesta [5], Cotton [2], Rose [2] and Peach [0]). That does not include OU’s BCS Championship Game appearance on Jan. 1, 2009.  OU is making its 19th consecutive bowl bid, by far the longest streak in school history (the previous record was eight from the 1975 through the 1982 seasons under Barry Switzer). It is the third-longest active bowl streak in the nation recognized by the NCAA (Virginia Tech 25, Georgia 21).  Oklahoma, which has won 22 of its last 23 games, owns a 29-20-1 bowl record. Of the seven programs to participate in at least 50 bowls, the Sooners’ .590 winning percentage ranks third. OU’s 29 bowl wins are the fourth most nationally.  The Sooners are vying for their eighth national title. Only Alabama (9) and Notre Dame (8) have earned more all-time AP national championships than OU’s seven. This marks the first Rose Bowl Game between teams from the Big 12 Conference and the SEC.  OU is 66-16 (.805) all-time as the No. 2 team in the AP Poll. It has won 22 of its past 24 games (.917) when ranked in the AP’s No. 2 slot.  The Sooners are 56-32-2 (.633) in AP top-10 matchups (16-9 in bowl games), and 17-7 (.708) since the start of the 2000 season. They are 37-19 (.661) as the higher ranked team in such games.  OU is 28-17-1 (.620) in AP top-five matchups (11-5 in bowl games). It is 16-10 (.615) as the higher ranked team in such games.

 

FIVE KEY STORYLINES  The Rose Bowl Game will pit the nation’s most productive offense against one of the nation’s best defenses. Oklahoma leads the country in total offense (583.3 ypg), yards per play (8.4), passing efficiency rating (206.9), pass completion percentage (71.8) and percent of possessions ending in a touchdown (47.2), and leads the Big 12 in rushing offense (215.9 ypg). Georgia ranks second nationally in passing defense (170.1 ypg), fourth in scoring defense (13.2 ppg) and total defense (270.9 ypg), and 12th in rushing defense (112.6).  Oklahoma has been playing intercollegiate varsity football since 1895, and Georgia since 1902. Yet this year’s Rose Bowl Game will mark the first meeting between the storied programs. OU leads the nation with 38 10-win seasons, while Georgia has produced 23 such campaigns. Georgia is tied for third with 53 all-time bowl appearances, while the Sooners rank seventh with 51 appearances.  An Oklahoma Rose Bowl win would result in the Sooners’ fifth national championship game appearance of the 2000s. Only Alabama (five) has played for more national titles this millennium than OU (four). The Sooners beat Florida State 13-2 to secure its most recent national title in the Orange Bowl in the 2000 season. They lost 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl in the 2003 season, 55-19 to USC in the Orange Bowl in the 2004 season, and 24-14 to Florida in the BCS National Championship Game in the 2008 campaign.  A win against Georgia would make Lincoln Riley just the fifth head coach in FBS history (third since 1892) to win at least 13 games in his debut season. He would join Penn’s George Woodruff in 1892 (15-1), Yale’s Walter Camp in 1888 (13-0), Boise State’s Chris Petersen in 2006 (13-0) and Houston’s Tom Herman in 2015 (13-1).  Oklahoma has played four games against SEC teams over the last five seasons and has won each of the four by at least seven points and by an average of 15.3 points). The Sooners downed No. 3 Alabama 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl to end the 2013 season, beat Tennessee 34-10 in 2014 in Norman, outlasted No. 23 Tennessee 31-24 in double overtime in 2015 in Knoxville, and handled No. 17 Auburn 35-19 in last year’s Sugar Bowl.

 

OU’S ROSE BOWL HISTORY

Oklahoma’s lone previous Rose Bowl appearance came on Jan. 1, 2003, and resulted in a 34-14 win over No. 7 Washington State. The eighth-ranked Sooners outgained the Cougars 386 yards to 243, held them to four rushing yards and 11 first downs, and registered six sacks and three takeaways to finish the season 12-2 and ranked No. 5 in the AP poll.  In his final career game, OU quarterback and game MVP Nate Hybl finished 19-of-29 through the air for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Hybl is the older brother of current Sooners men’s golf coach Ryan Hybl, who directed his team to the 2017 NCAA title.  OU running back Quentin Griffin rushed 30 times for 144 yards and a touchdown, and cornerback Antonio Perkins returned a punt 51 yards for a score.  The Sooners led just 3-0 late in the first half before scoring a pair of TDs in the final 1:51. The first came on a 12-yard pass from Hybl to Antwone Savage, and the second on Perkins’ punt return.

 

INDIVIDUAL RECORDS WATCH

Quarterback Baker Mayfield needs 117 yards of total offense to tie the Oklahoma single-season record of 4,767 set by Sam Bradford in 2008 and needs 380 passing yards to tie Bradford’s school single-season passing yardage record of 4,720, also in 2008. Mayfield is also six touchdown passes away from tying Landry Jones’ school career record of 123.  Mark Andrews needs eight receptions to tie the OU single-season mark by a tight end (66, set by Trent Smith in 2001 and matched by Jermaine Gresham in 2008).  Only a junior, Austin Seibert needs two made PATs to tie the OU career record of 219 set by Michael Hunnicutt. Seibert needs 11 points to tie the OU singleseason scoring record by a kicker, set by Trey DiCarlo (131 in 2003).

 

TEAM RECORDS WATCH  The Sooners are 115 passing yards away from tying the single-season program record of 4,891, set in 2008. Additionally, the current average of 367.4 passing yards is 18.0 yards higher than the school record of 349.4 set in 2011.  Oklahoma is 87 yards of total offense away from the program record of 7,670, set in 2008. Its current average of 583.3 yards per game is 26.5 yards per contest higher than school record of 556.8 set in 1971. With just five interceptions thrown in 397 pass attempts, OU’s interception rate of .013 is the lowest in program history (the current record is .017 set in 2008).  Oklahoma is 16 points shy of the third 600-point season in program history (716 in 2008, 601 in 2003).