Soon, the highly anticipated matchup between the second ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the third ranked Georgia Bulldogs will kick off from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, with the winner going on to play the victor of Alabama vs. Clemson.
The game will be the first-ever matchup between the Sooners and the Bulldogs, and oh- will it be one to watch. Oklahoma’s dynamic offense matched with Georgia’s “SEC Defense” will be a true test on both sides of the field.
This prolific OU offense is the number one ranked in the nation, and with good reason. Led by Heisman winning quarterback #6, Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma has put up 7,583 total yards of offense, 75 offensive touchdowns, and gained an average of 8.4 yards per play, all statistics which lead the nation.
Oklahoma has many weapons to catch the passes from #6, such as John Mackey Award winner Mark Andrews (906 yards, 8 TD), Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (981 yards, 6 TD), and CeeDee Lamb (741 yards, 7 TD); but many don’t realize how much power the Sooners really have in the backfield. Running Back Rodney Anderson has shined during the latter half of the season after his impressive performance at Kansas State. This season, the redshirt sophomore Anderson has totaled 162 carries for 960 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Sooners also have a star running back in freshman Trey Sermon, who has 710 yards and 7 touchdowns on the season. Oklahoma has talent in the air and on the ground, which should be challenging for the Georgia defense to contain, as they haven’t faced any passing and rushing offenses as skilled as the Sooners.
On the other side of the ball, they are ranked 61st. The Sooners defense has struggled against the talented Big 12 offenses; but have managed to step-up to the competition in big games like Ohio State, holding the strong Buckeye offense to just 16 points in Columbus. When looking at defensive statistics in the final four weeks of football, Oklahoma has had the 13th ranked defense, allowing just 17.8 points per game, which is a great sign for the Sooners and for Mike Stoops’ defense proving they have found their stride.
The Georgia offense is led by freshman quarterback Jake Fromm. Fromm is having an impressive first season passing wise with 2,173 yards and 21 touchdowns; although most of Georgia’s offensive power is from their two backs, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Those two combine for 2,123 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
The strength of Georgia is their defense. They are ranked fourth in total defense, boasting impressive stats of allowing only 3522 yards of total offense, 19 touchdowns, and allowing just 4.45 yards per play. The Bulldogs’ defense is driven by first team All-American Linebacker Roquan Smith. Smith has an impressive stat line of his own, with 72 solo tackles, 113 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. If Georgia defense plays to their full potential, they should be able to contain the Oklahoma offense and hold them to less yardage then they’re used to.
Oklahoma has not yet played a team with a defense as talented as Georgia’s, but when they played TCU’s sixth ranked defense, the Sooners put up an impressive 533 yards and 5 touchdowns.
How do the Sooners feel about the big matchup against the SEC? OU Linebacker Obo Okoronkwo says it best – “People have been talking about us for years now, you know, talking about our defense is not physical enough and every year we play an SEC team and we win and we win by a lot. We’re really done talking at this point. We’re just ready to go play.”
The Sooners are ready to start off the New Year with a big win in the Rose Bowl and a trip to Atlanta for a shot at it all next Monday.
Article by Anderson Inman