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Bulldogs meet Heisman frontrunner in Rose Bowl

So, you want a contrast in styles? The Jan. 1 Rose Bowl game between Georgia and Oklahoma in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs is just for you.

Led by Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has completed 262 of 369 passes for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns with just five interceptions for the Sooners, who lead the country in total offense with 583.3 yards per game, seventh in passing (367.4) and 45th in rushing (215.9).

"He's entertaining to watch. He's unbelievably talented, he's got great athletic ability. It seems like he's been playing forever, and he's what college football is all about, he embraces it, he loves it," Smart said. "I love the way the guy plays the game. He plays with talent and passion and he's a phenomenal player that we'll get to see and have a lot of sleepless nights over the next 30 days."

Georgia, meanwhile, is one of the nation's top defensive teams.

The SEC Champion Bulldogs rank 12th nationally in rushing defense (112.6 yards per game), but more importantly and perhaps more pertinent are second in pass defense, allowing just 158.3 yards per contest.

Georgia and Big 12 champ Oklahoma (12-1) will be meeting for the first time while the Bulldogs' Rose Bowl appearance will be the first for the program since 1943, a 9-0 win over UCLA.

"I couldn't be more excited for our team and especially our seniors with the selection of our team to participate in the College Football Playoff," said Smart. "Playing in a venue with such rich tradition will be a rewarding experience and it represents another step for our team and program."

The Bulldogs (12-1) will enter play as the No. 3 seed when they take on the No. 2 Sooners in what will be the first matchup in football between the two schools.

Georgia last played in the Rose Bowl way back in 1943, beating UCLA 9-0.

Like Oklahoma, Georgia comes in on a roll, having defeated Auburn 28-7 to win the SEC Championship.

Meanwhile, the Sooners who have had defensive issues this year will have to deal with a powerful Bulldog running attack, which ranks 17th nationally in rushing with 263.5 yards per game, led by the three-headed monster of Nick Chubb (1,175 yards), Sony Michel (948 yards) and freshman D'Andre Swift (597 yards).

Oklahoma can't overlook freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, who has completed 145 of 230 passes for 2,173 yards with 21 touchdowns, a Georgia record for freshmen.


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