It started as one of the biggest games in Georgia history.
It ended as one of the best – not just in Georgia’s eminent past, but in college football lore.
The University of Georgia’s momentous, stirring, come-from-17-points-behind national semi-final win in double overtime over an explosive Oklahoma Sooners team – led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield – was a classic story being written before our very eyes.
With more plot twists, hurdles and heroes than a suspense novel, and a more satisfying conclusion than Casablanca, the highest-scoring, as well as the first overtime, Rose Bowl in its storied history will be talked about in these parts longer than the Dawgs’ last one 75 years ago.
And there’s yet one more chapter to write for this special Dawg pack, with an all-Southeastern Conference national championship game next Monday featuring Georgia and perennial power Alabama.
The plot thickens, too, as the game will pit UGA Coach Kirby Smart against his friend, former boss and mentor, Nick Saban.
If the Rose Bowl were indeed a novel, it might be titled A Tale of Two Halves. Oklahoma started red-hot, looking as if it would score on every possession. But Georgia came out smoking in the second half, tying the game with two third-quarter touchdowns and ultimately matching the big-play Sooners with long Sony Michel and Nick Chubb runs for the roses.
You could just hear the late Bulldogs broadcaster Larry Munson yelling “Run, Sony, run! Run, Nick, run!” If there are rickety chairs in heaven, he fell off one Monday.
In the second overtime, a mammoth field goal block by national standout Lorenzo Carter opened the door for Michel’s clinching 27-yard touchdown run.
You couldn’t write it any better for Georgia fans.
And to think, this mythical tale is being authored by a second-year coach and a freshman quarterback in Jake Fromm — who stepped unexpectedly into the starting role in Game 1 last fall after an injury to sophomore phenom Jacob Eason.
The epilogue awaits. But this story’s already among the best we’ve ever seen. Classic.