Every week, UGASports.com teams up with 11Alive.com and hands out grades to Georgia's position groups. Here is the Bulldogs' report card from their 54-48 double-overtime win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl:
What more needs to be said about Jake Fromm? The true freshman quarterback shined in his first bowl game appearance, finishing with 210 yards on 20-of-29 passing and two touchdowns. While the stat line is good, it was his ability to do the little things in the game that showed his leadership ability. On the game-winning touchdown run by Sony Michel, Fromm blocked a cornerback from tackling the Rose Bowl MVP. Another instance is when he audibled a play at the line and got Michel lined up on the opposite side of him, resulting in the running back breaking free for a touchdown. These type of plays never show up in the stat book, but are indicative of how Fromm is a heady, tough quarterback who the Bulldogs believe in.
Running Backs: A+
While Fromm's stat line was impressive, the numbers produced by both Michel and Nick Chubb were out of this world. Michel finished with 181 rushing yards on just 11 carries (16.5 yards per carry) and three rushing touchdowns, including the game-winning 27-yard score putting the Dawgs in the national title game. Chubb rushed for 145 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. The two senior running backs decided to return to Georgia for their senior years for this exact moment, and they each delivered with exceptional performances.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends: B+
The wide receivers and tight ends did a great job of blocking on the edge the entire game, which helped in allowing Chubb and Michel to run free. When it came time to do the grunt work and block, Riley Ridley, Javon Wims, and Terry Godwin all played a part in locking down Sooner cornerbacks. Wims led the team with six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. Behind Wims, Godwin made five receptions for 51 yards, and Michel added a touchdown reception. Isaac Nauta had a critical pass go through his hands but, another tight end, Charlie Woerner, had one of his better games of the season. No wideout/tight end stuck out from the rest in regards to receiving, but the job they collectively did blocking downfield was tremendous.
Offensive Line: A+
The offensive line helped pave the way for the running backs to have a historic game, often opening up holes big enough to drive a truck through. Yes, the unit struggled at times, but such troubles were very few and far between. Isaiah Wynn helped keep Fromm's blind side protected the entire game and routinely moved down the field with ease to the second level of defenders. Left guard Kendall Baker did commit a false start penalty which helped stall out a Georgia drive, but he and center Lamont Gaillard looked good blocking together. Right tackle Andrew Thomas, the freshman, played like a seasoned veteran producing another great outing.
Defensive Line: B-
While the defensive line played a major role in Oklahoma totaling a whopping 531 yards, it does need to be noted they were opposite Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield and a slew of extremely talented offensive weapons. The unit held its own in the first half but really started to produce when it mattered the most late in the game. Tyler Clark got the start up front and played his best game as a Bulldog, tallying five tackles, including two for loss and a sack. Jonathan Ledbetter also had an impressive game, totaling six tackles and a sack. David Marshall added a sack as well. There is no denying the Oklahoma running backs had their way with the defensive line in the first half, but the group settled down after halftime, playing the type of defense they had exhibited for most of the season.
The linebackers had the tough assignment of trying to contain Mayfield and, early on, they struggled to do so. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley had a great first half game plan which had the Bulldog linebackers running in circles for most of the first two quarters. By the time the half ended, Roquan Smith and Lorenzo Carter needed a break. Afterwards, the pair came out much more focused than before and the two were the team's top tacklers, with Smith tallying 11 stops and Carter with 10. Filling in for Natrez Patrick, Reggie Carter looked to be a tad slow on the hoof for most plays and will need to play better against Alabama on Monday.
Defensive Backs: B-
The defensive backs were picked on for most of the game, but as much is to be expected when facing Mayfield. The unit gave up way too many large chunk-passing plays early in the contest. One thing to note, Deandre Baker had a rough start, but he eventually really came on and played admirably. Dominick Sanders hauled in his 16th career interception, tying him for the most in school history, resulting at an ideal time as it helped shift the game's momentum. The Oklahoma offense is arguably the best in the nation, but the halftime adjustments made by the Bulldog defensive backs helped to slow down the prolific Sooner attack.
Special Teams: A
As Georgia demonstrated in Pasadena, special teams often win ball games. Carter had an incredible game-changing field goal block in the second overtime keeping Oklahoma from scoring. Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed his first field goal try but made a pivotal 55-yard attempt right before the half. Blankenship also did a great job with his first two kickoffs after halftime, as he left them short allowing the kickoff coverage to keep Oklahoma from reaching past its 25-yard line. Punter Cameron Nizialek botched his first punt but made up for it later with an attempt downed at the one-yard line. Kudos to assistant Shane Beamer and his support staff for getting the Bulldogs' special teams well prepared to play for such a big game.