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SEC and Big 12 Champs Clash in 2018 Rose Bowl
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published December 30, 2017

Oklahoma runs onto the field for the first half of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game against TCU on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The 2018 Rose Bowl will profile the nations best football programs as the Oklahoma Sooners battle against the Georgia Bulldogs on January 1. The Rose Bowl this year will not profile the best Pac-12 versus the best Big 10 team like it has in previous years, but it will house the semifinals to the National Football Championships.

The Bulldogs have a 12-1 overall record and defeated Auburn 28-7 in the SEC championship. Rose Bowl fans can expect a sound rushing game from running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb was named the Atlanta Sports Awards Collegiate Athlete of the Year and has 4,599 career rushing yards. During his time at Georgia, Chubb has carried the ball for over 100 yards for over 23 games.

Michel comes in third on Georgia’s career rushing list with 3,359 yards. He is the second leading rusher with 948 yards and 131 carries. Michel is first in the SEC in rushing yards per attempt with 7.24.

Wide receiver Terry Godwin helps with the Bulldog’s passing game. During the SEC Championship game, Godwin led in receptions with five catches for 48 yards, one touchdown and one two-point conversion catch. He averaged 18.6 yards per catch this season, making him Georgia’s second leading receiver with 29 catches for 540 yards and six touchdowns.

The Oklahoma Sooners also had a 12-1 overall record and was crowned the Big 12 champions after beating TCU 41-17. Oklahoma houses Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield, who was also named the AP Player of the Year and the winner the O’Brien Award.

Mayfield completed 785 passes out of 1,122 attempts for 12,005 yards and 117 touchdowns during his career with the Sooners. He has also secured 18 rushing touchdowns while playing for Oklahoma.

Running back Rodney Anderson had great highlights this year with 24 carries for 93 yards in the Big 12 Championship. In their 49-27 victory over Texas Tech, Anderson had a career-high of 24 rushes for 181 yards.

Mayfield’s consistent targets are tight end Mark Andrews and wideout Marquise Brown. Andrews is the all-time leader in tight end receiving yards for the Sooners with 1,713 yards. After making eight touchdowns this season, Andrews was named to the All-Big 12 first team.

Brown had a career night in their 62-52 win over Oklahoma State with nine catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns. He also led in receiving yards in the Big 12 Championship with three catches for 87 yards and one touchdown.

Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb (27) carries the ball past Auburn Tigers defensive back Tray Matthews (28) during the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, December 2, 2017, in Atlanta. Georgia won, 28-7. (Paul Abell via AP)

Gilded inside linebacker Roquan Smith is bound to give the Sooner offense trouble. Smith is the 2017 Butkus Award winner who accumulated 113 total tackles, 72 of them single, this season. He completed 5.5 sacks for 38 yards and made three quarterback hits against both the Georgia Tech and Auburn in the SEC Championship. Smith is also the AP SEC Player of the Year and MVP of the SEC Championship game.

The Sooner Defense profiles linebackers Emmanuel Beal and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Beal paced the defense at the Big 12 championship with eight tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss. In 2017, Okoronkwo made 17.5 tackles for loss for 103 yards and 8.0 sacks for 61 yards. He became the co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Making the Rose Bowl the home of the National Championship Semifinals is bound to bring premier college football talent to the southland. News Years will be action-packed and nothing short of historic.

Categories: Football | Sports
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