There will be no shortage of star power and good ol’ country boys in the Rose Bowl.
This national playoff semifinal, which is set for Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. in Pasadena, California, will feature two of college football’s marquee programs with the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners. There will be future NFL talent all over the ball yard.
God bless those roses. Headlining the never-ending list of stars in the Rose Bowl game will be Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma, Sooner pass catching phenoms Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, and Cee Dee Lamb, Georgia super seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and Bulldog pass catchers supreme Javon Wims, Terry Godwin of Hogansville, and sophomore Mecole Hardman.
Points should not be hard to come by. Oklahoma is averaging 44 points per game with Mayfield, who has passed for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns. The Sooners have two dangerous running backs as well with redshirt sophomore Rodney Anderson (960 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns) and freshman Trey Sermon, the 6-foot-2, 215pound freshman from Marietta.
The Georgia native has plowed ahead for 710 yards and five touchdowns this season. Andrews, Brown and Lamb are Oklahoma’s top three receivers with 58, 49 and 40 catches respectively. Brown, Lamb and Andrews have 21 touchdown catches as a threesome. Oklahoma is the Big 12 Conference champion, and the Sooners have a 12-1 record. Oklahoma has scored a minimum of 49 points on six occasions against West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas-El Paso, and Tulane. The Sooners from Norman are averaging 600 yards per game.
Georgia feels like it can move the first down sticks, too, against anyone, including the No. 2-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. The Southeastern Conference champion Bulldogs are averaging 34 points per game.
Georgia, 12-1 on the year, has playmakers out of the doghouse with the cool and uncanny freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, the guy with 2,173 yards passing and 21 touchdowns, as well as the running back twosome of Michel (13 touchdowns) and Chubb (1,175 yards), and stickyfingered receivers Wims (38 catches, 631 yards), Godwin (28 receptions, 540 yards) and Hardman (22 catches).
But even more than offense, No. 3-ranked Georgia has a relentless defense that could turn the Rose Bowl in its favor. Georgia knows how to wrap up and intimidate.
The Bulldogs have one of the most physical defenses in the country with a lineup that has no weaknesses with junior defensive tackle Trenton Thompson, senior nose tackle John Atkins, junior defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter (6-foot-4, 269 pounds), linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Roquan Smith (6foot-1, 225 pounds), and senior defensive backs Dominick Sanders and Malkom Parrish.
Georgia’s defense is giving up just 13 points per game, on the average.