Recapping The College Football Playoff Games
The College Football Playoff semifinals concluded over the weekend and fans were left with 2 different versions of NCAA football—an exciting back-and-forth shootout and true show of dominance. The former game was the Rose Bowl, featuring Georgia and Oklahoma in a double overtime thriller. The latter game was the Sugar Bowl with Alabama routing the defending champions Clemson. Check out our recap of each game below:
The Rose Bowl - Georgia (54) – Oklahoma (48)
Pasadena played host to the most exciting Rose Bowl game in history. The red-hot Oklahoma Sooners took on the gritty Georgia Bulldogs. Oklahoma set the offensive tone early with QB Baker Mayfield conducting business as usual. The Sooners were up 31-17 at the half and looked to be rolling, but something was brewing with Georgia. The Bulldogs came out and scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter to tie the game. In true storybook fashion, the Sooners and Bulldogs traded touchdowns all the way until the end of the game, with Georgia tying thins up in the closing minute. The first overtime period featured a pair of field goals and then the Bulldogs took control when they blocked the Sooners’ winning field goal attempt in 2OT. Georgia rolled down the field and then RB Sony Michel finished on an electric run.
This game was an emotional roller coaster. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield finished with 287 yards on 23 successful attempts. He scored 2 passing touchdowns and even a receiving touchdown in a trick play. Mayfield may not have capped off his senior year Heisman-winning season with a national championship, but he has a bright future in the NFL. RB Rodney Anderson scored 2 touchdowns on 26 carries for 201 yards. Oklahoma’s defense, which has been their biggest liability, revealed its limitations again in the Rose Bowl by giving up 54 points.
Georgia showed why they deserve to be in after this game. Freshman QB Jake Fromm played phenomenally and was able to bring his team back time after time with completions in crunch time. He finished 20/29 with 210 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ biggest offensive threat is in their running game with arguably the best run combo in the league. RBs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb combined for 326 yards and 5 TDs on 25 carries. They were practically unstoppable. Michel even had a receiving touchdown. On the receiving end, Javon Wims had a touchdown. Wims and WR Terry Godwin combined for 124 yards on 11 catches. On the defensive end, which is also part of Georgia’s identity, Tyrique McGhee had 5 tackles. Leading linebacker Roquan Smith had 4 tackles and 7 assists.
The Sugar Bowl- Alabama (24) – Clemson (6)
The Sugar Bowl was a rematch of the past 2 national championship games. Clemson, the defending champions, looked solid throughout the season but were unable to get anything going against the Crimson Tide all game long. Alabama was at one point not even in Playoff contention, but became eligible once Ohio State beat Wisconsin. With something to prove to those who believe they shouldn’t be in the CFP, Bama showed why they should be playing in their third straight national championship game. Alabama scored 10 unanswered points in the first quarter—a sign of things to come. Clemson’s defense steadied the ship and shut out Bama in the second quarter, but their offense could only muster a field goal to leave it at 10-3 going into halftime. The third quarter was more of the same with Bama putting up 14 and Clemson again only mustering 3 points. The fourth quarter was more of a defensive showcase, with both teams unable to put up anything.
Bama’s QB Jalen Hurts finished 16/24 for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had 40 rushing yards on 11 carries. RBs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough showcased their value with 101 rushing yards on a combined 31 carries. Although they were unable to score, they were the driving force behind the offense. Receiver Calvin Ridley had the lone touchdown from the receiving corps and the defensive unit scored 2 touchdowns via Mack Wilson and Da’Ron Wallace, showcasing Alabama’s defensive threat on turnovers.
Clemson’s QB Kelly Bryant was practically a non-factor. He had 2 interceptions and threw for 126 yards on 18/36. Their run game with RBs Travis Etienne, Adam Choice and Tavien Feaster was stuffed throughout the game. Deon Cain was the leading receiver with 75 yards on 6 catches, but even he couldn’t save the team’s offensive woes that night. Clemson’s defense was strong, but unable to force any interceptions or defensive touchdowns. All in all, Clemson looked flat and were consistently misfiring. K Alex Spence was the leading scorer with 2 successful field goals.