Quick Rose Bowl primer: Oklahoma-Georgia

Georgia running back Nick Chubb (27) breaks the tackle of Auburn linebacker Darrell Williams (49) during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

John Bazemore

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. 

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