PASADENA, Calif. — As Sony Michel crossed the goal line, Georgia’s fans roared in elation and rocked the Rose Bowl to its core.
Georgia is going to the national championship game.
After trailing by as much as 17 during a bleak first half, the Bulldogs’ composure shined under the fading California sun in the second half en route to a 54-48 victory in double overtime over Oklahoma in an instant-classic Rose Bowl on Monday.
“I’m really proud of the fight, resiliency of the seniors and our fan base,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said.
The monumental win in the College Football Playoff semifinal sends Georgia to 13-1 with a trip to the national championship Jan. 8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Bulldogs will play the winner of the Clemson-Alabama game and look to claim their first national title since 1980.
Georgia also moved to 2-0 in Rose Bowl appearances after beating UCLA in 1943. The game marked the first Rose Bowl to ever reach overtime and was the largest total final score in the game’s history.
The Bulldogs took the history of the bowl game to another level with four quarters and two overtime periods full of drama, big plays and, ultimately, pure elation. After Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter blocked an Oklahoma field goal attempt to start the second overtime, Michel found daylight on a 27-yard touchdown run that gave the Bulldogs the victory.
Michel soon disappeared under a pile of celebrating Bulldogs in the corner of the playing field, while others raced across the field under a rain of confetti to celebrate a trip to the title game.
“When I scored the touchdown I knew it was over,” Michel said. “We finally get a chance to play for something big.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216