Game Primer: OU vs. Georgia

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Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 31, 2017
2/2/2 Oklahoma
OklahomaGeorgia
3/3/3 Georgia
Monday, Jan. 1 / 4 p.m. CT / Rose Bowl Stadium 

OPENING KICK

• Making its second College Football Playoff appearance in the last three years, No. 2/2/2 Oklahoma (12-1, 8-1 Big 12) continues pursuit of its eighth national title when its faces No. 3/3/3 Georgia (12-1, 7-1 SEC) in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual on Monday at 4:10 p.m. CT in Pasadena, Calif. The game will be televised by ESPN with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi announcing.

• This marks Oklahoma's 51st bowl appearance, seventh most nationally. Thirty-six of those 51 have come in bowls that comprise the current New Year's Six (Orange [19], Sugar [8], Fiesta [5], Cotton [2], Rose [2] and Peach [0]). That does not include OU's BCS Championship Game appearance on Jan. 1, 2009.

• OU is making its 19th consecutive bowl appearance, by far the longest streak in school history (the previous record was eight from the 1975 through the 1982 seasons under Barry Switzer). It is the third-longest active bowl streak in the nation recognized by the NCAA (Virginia Tech 25, Georgia 21).

• Oklahoma, which has won 22 of its last 23 games, owns a 29-20-1 bowl record. Of the seven programs to participate in at least 50 bowls, the Sooners' .590 winning percentage ranks third. OU's 29 bowl wins are the fourth most nationally.

• The Sooners are vying for their eighth national title. Only Alabama (9) and Notre Dame (8) have earned more all-time AP national championships than OU's seven.

• This marks the first Rose Bowl Game between teams from the Big 12 Conference and the SEC.

• OU is 66-16 (.805) all-time as the No. 2 team in the AP Poll. It has won 22 of its past 24 games (.917) when ranked in the AP's No. 2 slot.

• The Sooners are 56-32-2 (.633) in AP top-10 matchups (16-9 in bowl games), and 17-7 (.708) since the start of the 2000 season. They are 37-19 (.661) as the higher ranked team in such games.

• OU is 28-17-1 (.620) in AP top-five matchups (11-5 in bowl games). It is 16-10 (.615) as the higher ranked team in such games.

FIVE KEY STORYLINES

• The Rose Bowl Game will pit the nation's most productive offense against one of the country's best defenses. Oklahoma entered bowl season as the national leader in total offense (583.3 ypg), yards per play (8.4), passing efficiency rating (206.9), pass completion percentage (71.8) and percent of possessions ending in a touchdown (47.2), and as the Big 12 leader in rushing offense (215.9 ypg). Georgia ranks second nationally in passing defense (170.1 ypg), fourth in scoring defense (13.2 ppg) and total defense (270.9 ypg), and 12th in rushing defense (112.6).

• Oklahoma has been playing intercollegiate varsity football since 1895, and Georgia since 1902. Yet this year's Rose Bowl Game will mark the first meeting between the storied programs. OU leads the nation with 38 10-win seasons, while Georgia has produced 23 such campaigns. Georgia is tied for third with 53 all-time bowl appearances, while the Sooners rank seventh with 51 appearances.

• An Oklahoma Rose Bowl win would result in the Sooners' fifth national championship game appearance of the 2000s. Only Alabama (five) has played for more national titles this millennium than OU (four). The Sooners beat Florida State 13-2 to secure its most recent national title in the Orange Bowl in the 2000 season. They lost 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl in the 2003 season, 55-19 to USC in the Orange Bowl in the 2004 season, and 24-14 to Florida in the BCS National Championship Game in the 2008 campaign.

• A win against Georgia would make Lincoln Riley just the fifth head coach in FBS history (third since 1892) to win at least 13 games in his debut season. He would join Penn's George Woodruff in 1892 (15-1), Yale's Walter Camp in 1888 (13-0), Boise State's Chris Petersen in 2006 (13-0) and Houston's Tom Herman in 2015 (13-1).

• Oklahoma has played four games against SEC teams over the last five seasons and has won each of the four by at least seven points (and by an average of 15.3 points). The Sooners downed No. 3 Alabama 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl to end the 2013 season, beat Tennessee 34-10 in 2014 in Norman, outlasted No. 23 Tennessee 31-24 in double overtime in 2015 in Knoxville, and handled No. 17 Auburn 35-19 in last year's Sugar Bowl.

OU'S ROSE BOWL HISTORY

• Oklahoma's lone previous Rose Bowl appearance came on Jan. 1, 2003, and resulted in a 34-14 win over No. 7 Washington State. The eighth-ranked Sooners outgained the Cougars 386 yards to 243, held them to four rushing yards and 11 first downs, and registered six sacks and three takeaways to finish the season 12-2 and ranked No. 5 in the AP poll.

• In his final career game, OU quarterback and game MVP Nate Hybl finished 19-of-29 through the air for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Hybl is the older brother of current Sooners men's golf coach Ryan Hybl, who directed his team to the 2017 NCAA title.

• OU running back Quentin Griffin rushed 30 times for 144 yards and a touchdown, and cornerback Antonio Perkins returned a punt 51 yards for a score.

• The Sooners led just 3-0 late in the first half before scoring a pair of TDs in the final 1:51. The first came on a 12-yard pass from Hybl to Antwone Savage, and the second on Perkins' punt return.

INDIVIDUAL RECORDS WATCH

• Quarterback Baker Mayfield needs 117 yards of total offense to tie the Oklahoma single-season record of 4,767 set by Sam Bradford in 2008, and needs 380 passing yards to tie Bradford's school single-season passing yardage record of 4,720, also in 2008.

• Mayfield is also six touchdown passes away from tying Landry Jones' school career record of 123.

• Mark Andrews needs eight receptions to tie the OU single-season mark by a tight end (66, set by Trent Smith in 2001 and matched by Jermaine Gresham in 2008).

• Only a junior, Austin Seibert needs two made PATs to tie the OU career record of 219 set by Michael Hunnicutt. Seibert needs 11 points to tie the OU single-season scoring record by a kicker, set by Trey DiCarlo (131 in 2003).

TEAM RECORDS WATCH

• The Sooners are 115 passing yards away from tying the single-season program record of 4,891, set in 2008. Additionally, the current average of 367.4 passing yards per game is 18.0 yards higher than the school record of 349.4 set in 2011.

• Oklahoma is 87 yards of total offense away from the program record of 7,670, set in 2008. Its current average of 583.3 yards per game is 26.5 yards per contest higher than the school record of 556.8 set in 1971.

• With just five interceptions thrown in 397 pass attempts, OU's interception rate of .013 is the lowest in program history (the current record is .017 set in 2008).

• Oklahoma is 16 points shy of the third 600-point season in program history (716 in 2008, 601 in 2003).

FOUR SOONERS EARN FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICA HONORS

• Tight end Mark Andrews, offensive lineman Orlando Brown and quarterback Baker Mayfield became just OU's second, third and fourth unanimous All-Americans in the last 13 years by being named first-team picks by each of the five major All-America squads (AFCA, AP, FWAA, Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation). That gives OU four unanimous All-Americans in the last two years (wide receiver Dede Westbrook was one last season) and a nation-leading 35 all-time. Prior to last year, OU's most recent unanimous All-Americans were offensive lineman Jammal Brown and running back Adrian Peterson in 2004. Senior defensive end/linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo earned first-team Walter Camp All-America honors this year.

MAYFIELD DOMINATES AWARDS CIRCUIT

• Senior quarterback Baker Mayfield swept the major awards for which he was a finalist, taking home the Maxwell Award (college player of the year) and Davey O'Brien Award (nation's best quarterback) on Dec. 7, and the Heisman Trophy on Dec. 9. Mayfield became OU's third Maxwell Award winner, fifth Davey O'Brien Award winner and sixth Heisman Trophy winner. He was also named the AP, Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year.

• Mayfield's season has been one for the ages. The Austin, Texas, native is 262-for-369 (71.0 percent) through the air with 41 touchdowns and five interceptions (8.2-to-1 ratio). He leads the country with his 203.8 pass efficiency rating (next best among Power 5 QBs is 170.0) after last year setting the FBS single-season record with a 196.4 mark. He also ranks first nationally in pass completion percentage, yards per pass attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and pass plays of at least 20 yards (75). He has also rushed for 310 yards and five scores without losing a fumble. He has accounted for 46 TDs and five turnovers (9.2-to-1 ratio).

ANDREWS WINS OU'S FIRST MACKEY AWARD

• Oklahoma junior Mark Andrews claimed the school's first ever Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top tight end.

• A unanimous All-American, Andrews leads the nation's tight ends with his 906 receiving yards and 69.7 receiving yards per game, and ranks second in yards per catch (15.6), third in receptions (58) and sixth in touchdown receptions (eight).

• Andrews leads the Sooners with 58 catches, the third-highest total ever by an OU tight end and the 22nd-highest mark overall, and with eight touchdown receptions.

• Andrews is Oklahoma's all-time leader in receiving yards by a tight end with 1,713. Additionally, he ranks sixth overall in OU history in career touchdown receptions (22), 10th in career 100-yard receiving games (three), 11th in career receiving yards and 17th (third among tight ends) with 108 career receptions.

NOTING OU'S EIGHT-GAME WINNING STREAK

• Since losing 38-31 to Iowa State on Oct. 7, the Sooners have won eight straight games. Entering bowl season, it was the longest win streak in the country among Power 5 teams and the third longest overall behind UCF (12) and Florida Atlantic (9). This is the third straight season Oklahoma has won at least seven consecutive games heading into its bowl contest (seven in 2015 and nine in 2016).

• OU has outscored its last nine opponents by 152 points (an average of 19.0) and has outgained them by an average of 178.4 yards. Through the air, the Sooners are outgaining foes by an average of 111.0 yards per game (356.8-245.8) and 67.4 yards (224.3-156.9) on the ground during the streak.

• Dating back to Oct. 14 (their first win of the streak), the Sooners rank first nationally in passing yards (2,854), passing yards per attempt (11.7; next most 10.3), efficiency rating (200.3; next highest is 187.7), yards from scrimmage (4,648; next most is 4,352) and yards from scrimmage per game (581.0; next most is 570.1).

• OU also ranks second during that span in completion percentage (.691), TD passes (27), TDs from scrimmage (50), points (403) and first downs (203), fifth in points per game (45.1) and 11th in rushing yards (1,794).

• Sophomore running back Rodney Anderson is second in the country during that stretch in yards from scrimmage (1,182; leads Power 5), touchdowns (15; leads Power 5) and points (90; leads Power 5), sixth in rushing TDs (10), ninth in rushing yards (926) and 12th in rushes (150), yards per carry (6.2) and yards from scrimmage per game (147.8).

• Sophomore receiver Marquise Brown leads the country during the stretch (minimum 30 receptions) in yards per catch (21.5; next closest is 19.1) and ranks fifth in receiving yards (751).

• Junior kicker Austin Seibert ranks second during the span in made field goals (13; tied for Power 5 lead) and is third in extra points made (44; leads Power 5) and points (83; first among kickers).

MORE MAYFIELD

• Baker Mayfield is the only player in FBS history to register at least 13,500 passing yards (14,320) and at least 1,000 rushing yards (1,082).

• In 28 games against Big 12 opponents as a Sooner, Mayfield (who went 25-2 as a starter in those games) completed 548-of-776 passes (70.6 percent) for 8,497 yards (303.5 per game) and 87 touchdowns against just 14 interceptions (6.2-to-1 ratio) for a pass efficiency rating of 196.0. He averaged 15.5 yards per completion and 10.9 yards per attempt in those outings, and rushed for 14 scores in those outings.

• Mayfield has thrown a TD pass in a Big 12-record 39 consecutive games (every contest of his OU career; former mark was 36 by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell from 2006-08). Only two players have longer streaks in FBS history (see charts to the right). Mayfield also holds the Big 12 record with 26 consecutive games of at least two TD passes (81 TDs to 13 interceptions during the stretch). That is believed to be tied for the longest streak in FBS history (Boise State's Kellen Moore had a streak of 26 games in 2010 and 2011).

• Including his 2013 campaign at Texas Tech, Mayfield is averaging 9.79 yards per pass attempt for his career. Only two FBS players who have finished their career boast a higher average (9.90 by Boise State's Ryan Dinwiddie from 2000-03; 9.82 by BYU's Ty Detmer from 1988-91). At OU, Mayfield is averaging 10.70 yards per attempt.

• Mayfield ranks sixth in FBS history with 129 career TD passes (12 at Texas Tech, 117 at Oklahoma). He needs two TD passes to tie Hawaii's Colt Brennan (2005-07) and Marshall's Rakeem Cato (2011-14) for fourth, and five to tie Harrell (2005-08) for third. The record is 155 by Houston's Case Keenum (2007-11).

• Mayfield owns a 176.0 career passing efficiency rating, which would set an FBS record (OU's Sam Bradford posted a rating of 175.6 from 2007-09). Mayfield's efficiency rating as a Sooner is an astounding 190.7.

• Mayfield has posted a passer rating of at least 160.0 in each of the last 23 games. Since 1996, the next longest streak nationally is 10 games (by four players).

• By winning the Heisman Trophy this year, he became the fifth player and first since Georgia's Herschel Walker (1980-82) to finish in the top four of voting three times. The other three to do it were Glenn Davis (Army; 1944-46), Doc Blanchard (also Army; 1944-46) and Doak Walker (SMU; 1947-49). Mayfield finished fourth in 2015 and third last year.

• Mayfield threw 21 TD passes between interceptions (from the third-to-last game last year and this year's sixth game (vs. Texas on Oct. 14). His school-record streak of attempts without an interception reached 200.

IMPACT FRESHMEN

• Three of Oklahoma's top playmakers on either side of the ball are true freshmen. Running back Trey Sermon ranks second on the team with his 710 rushing yards (54.6 per game) and tied for fourth with his seven total touchdowns (five rushing, two receiving). Sermon is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and has caught 16 passes for 139 yards (8.7 average). In a three-game span against Baylor, Iowa State and Texas to start Big 12 play, he averaged 111.3 rushing yards and 6.7 yards per carry.

• Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who last year as a high school senior registered 2,032 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns, has tied the school freshman record with his seven receiving touchdowns en route to being named a freshman All-American by ESPN. He ranks third on the team with 40 catches and 57.0 receiving yards per game (741 total). He also ranks third nationally among freshmen with his 18.5 yards per catch and needs 45 receiving yards to tie Kenny Stills’ OU freshman record of 786 set in 2010.

• Kenneth Murray has started every game at middle linebacker and ranks third on the team with 69 tackles (5.3 per contest). The USA Today Freshman All-American is OU's first true frosh in 42 years to start a season opener at inside linebacker (Daryl Hunt was the last to do it in 1975).

• Also seeing more playing time the last few games are true freshman defensive backs Tre Norwood, Tre Brown and Robert Barnes. The trio started the TCU game Nov. 11, and Norwood has earned another three starts since. A cornerback, Norwood is second on the team with seven pass breakups despite not seeing consistent action until Nov. 4.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

• Oklahoma entered bowl play ranked in the top four of the Big 12 in a bevy of defensive categories: third in passing defense (240.6 ypg) and fourth in first downs allowed (20.4 per game), total defense (384.8 ypg), scoring defense (25.0 ppg), opponent passer rating (134.7) and sacks (24).

• Since Nov. 11 (the last four games), Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in yards allowed (320.8 per game), passing yards allowed (190.8 per game; no other team is allowing less than 226 passing yards per game in that span), passing touchdowns allowed (3), scoring defense (17.8 ppg; no other team is below 22.0 ppg) and opponent passer rating (116.7).

• The Sooners held Ohio State to 16 points (25.5 below its season average) and 350 yards of total offense (173 yards below its average) in a convincing win Sept. 9 in Columbus. The Buckeyes entered bowl season ranked fifth nationally with their 42.5 points per game and sixth with their 523.6 yards per contest.

• Senior defensive end/linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo ranks third in the Big 12 and is tied for 25th nationally with 8.0 sacks (0.6 per game), ranks second in the Big 12 and tied for 17th nationally with three forced fumbles, and ranks third in the league and 12th nationally with 17.5 tackles for loss (1.4 per game). He has 21.0 career sacks to rank second at OU among linebackers and tie for seventh with Jonathan Jackson among all players.

• Okoronkwo has recorded at least half a sack in eight of 13 games and at least one full sack in seven contests. He has at least 1.0 tackle for loss in 11 outings and at least 2.0 TFLs in five games.

• Sophomore defensive lineman Kenneth Mann ranks eighth in the Big 12 with his 5.0 sacks while senior defensive end D.J. Ward is tied for 11th with 4.5 sacks. Parnell Motley is tied for ninth in the league with two interceptions (returned one 77 yards for a touchdown against Tulane).

NO PASSING FANCY

• Oklahoma has held 18 of its last 23 opponents to under a 60 percent pass completion rate. Over the last 18 games, OU opponents have combined to complete just 55.8 percent of their passes (320-for-573), ranking the Sooners second in the Big 12 and 37th nationally out of 129 teams. Seven of those 18 have been held to a mark at or below 50 percent.

• By comparison, OU has completed at least 60 percent of its passes in each of its last 23 games, and at least 70 percent in 11 of those.

SENSATIONAL SEIBERT

• Junior Austin Seibert has masterfully handled OU's placekicking, punting and kickoff duties this season. He is 15-for-18 on field goals and his 83.3 percent conversion rate ranks second in the Big 12. He had a career-long streak of 12 makes come to an end in the Big 12 Championship Game. Since Oct. 7, his 90 points are the most nationally by a kicker.

• Seibert leads the nation with his 75 extra-point makes, giving him the OU record for extra-point makes without a miss to start a season.

• Seibert ranks fifth nationally by registering touchbacks on 76.7 percent of his kickoffs (79 of 103). He ranks fourth in the Big 12 by averaging 42.6 yards per punt. Ten of his 36 punts (28 percent) have gone for at least 50 yards.

• Seibert ranks second in OU history with his 217 career extra points, third with his 349 career points and tied for fifth with his 44 career field goals.

EXTRA POINTS

• Lincoln Riley is looking to become just the third person to win a national championship in his first year as a collegiate head coach. The only two to do it were Michigan's Bennie Oosterbaan in 1948 (9-0) and Miami's Larry Coker in 2001 (12-0).

• The Rose Bowl Game will mark the 20th AP top-3 matchup in Oklahoma history and the first since the 2008 BCS Championship Game against Florida. The Sooners are 9-9-1 in the previous such meetings and have lost the last three, all of which were for the national title.

• An OU win over Georgia would give the Sooners just their second 13-win campaign (went 13-0 in 2000 national title season).

• OU is the only program that has won three consecutive Big 12 titles, and it has done it twice (2006-08 and 2015-17).

• Oklahoma has scored at least 30 points in 22 of its last 23 games (its school-record streak of 15 games was halted Oct. 14 in a 29-24 win over Texas). It has also won 22 of those 23.

• The Sooners have committed just 12 turnovers on the year (five interceptions and seven fumbles lost). That's currently the second lowest total in program history (11 in 2008).

• Oklahoma has scored a touchdown in the final 13 seconds of the first half in three of the last four games.

• The Sooners have won 25 of their last 26 games against Big 12 Conference opponents. Fifteen of those 25 victories have been by at least 15 points (seven by at least 35 points).

• OU's starting offensive line has logged a combined 141 career starts. Left tackle Orlando Brown has made 39 starts, left guard Ben Powers 21, center Erick Wren 23, right guard Dru Samia 33 and right tackle Bobby Evans 25.

• Only four players in the FBS this year entered bowl play scoring at least four rushing touchdowns and at least four receiving touchdowns, and two of the them are Sooners: Rodney Anderson (11 rushing, 5 receiving) and Dimitri Flowers (4 rushing, 4 receiving). The other players are NC State's Jaylen Samuels (11 and 4) and Washington State's Jamal Morrow (4 and 5).

• Flowers has scored eight touchdowns on his 36 touches this season (one every 4.5).

• Of all active FBS players with at least 21 career TD receptions, Mark Andrews owns the best TD-to-catch ratio at 20.4 percent (22 TDs on 108 catches). The next closest players are Marshall's Ryan Yurachek (18.4%; 25-136), Oklahoma State's James Washington (17.2%; 38-221), SMU's Courtland Sutton (16.4%; 31-189) and Memphis' Anthony Miller (15.4%; 36-234).

• In six games this year, backup quarterback Kyler Murray is 18-for-21 passing (.857) for 359 yards and three TDs without an interception for a pass efficiency rating of 276.5. He has also rushed 13 times for 142 yards (10.9 average).