Game day: No. 2 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. No. 3 Georgia (12-1) | The Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California) | Kickoff: Jan. 1, 4:10 p.m. central | TV: ESPN
Connections: Georgia coach Kirby Smart was Alabama’s defensive coordinator in 2014, when Oklahoma beat the Crimson Tide 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl. … Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman was born in El Reno, Oklahoma, grew up in Grove and coached offensive line at OU in 1997-98. … OU’s Orlando Brown (Duluth) and Trey Sermon (Marietta) are both Georgia natives.
Perspective: OU and Georgia began playing football in the mid-1890s, but have never faced each other. They have played in the Rose Bowl a combined two times: Georgia (1943), OU (2003).
3 Bulldog strengths
• Defense: Georgia is fourth nationally in total defense and tied with Wisconsin for third in scoring defense. The Bulldogs allowed Auburn just 259 yards of offense in the SEC title game, a 28-7 Georgia win.
• Power-run: How do you navigate life with a freshman quarterback? You run for 263.5 yards per game. OU hasn’t played a running team that lethal this season.
• Red-zone offense: That run game comes in handy at close range. Georgia leads the nation with a 44-of-45 conversion rate inside the red zone. This includes 35 touchdowns.
3 Bulldog weaknesses
• QB inexperience: Quarterback Jake Fromm won the starting job following Georgia’s season opener and has been productive while taking care of the ball (five interceptions). But it’s a disadvantage having a freshman QB in a big-time game.
• Penalties: The Bulldogs average just over 56 yards per game, which is better than OU, but mistakes hurt Georgia in its only loss this season, against Auburn.
• Offensive flow: Georgia leans so heavily on its run game and averages just 170.1 yards passing.
3 players to watch
• Jake Fromm (6-1, 203 Fr. QB): Fromm appeared to peak with a 326-yard outing against Missouri, but his 12-of-16, 2-touchdown, 224-yard performance in the SEC title game proved otherwise.
• Nick Chubb (5-10, 225 Sr. RB): With 4,599 career rushing yards, Chubb is second only to Herschel Walker in Georgia and SEC history.
• Roquan Smith (6-1, 225 Jr. LB): The Butkus Award (nation’s best linebacker) and Chuck Bednarik (nation’s best defensive player) finalist matched a career-high 13 tackles and made 10 solo stops in the SEC title game win over Auburn.