Mighty Mayfield Can’t Propel Oklahoma to Win in Rose Bowl
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Baker Mayfield had the ball in his hands a few times with chances to win the Rose Bowl for Oklahoma.
The Heisman Trophy winner couldn't convert those opportunities, and plenty of Sooners fans wished Mayfield had been given a whole lot more chances to conjure his usual magic during Georgia's epic 54-48, double-overtime win Monday night.
Mayfield went 23 of 35 for 287 yards and two touchdowns in his final college football game, but the swashbuckling senior will remember the moments that got away from him. Sooners fans also will remember the chances that Mayfield never even got on a wild night in Arroyo Seco at the College Football Playoff semifinal.
"Can't believe it's over," Mayfield said afterward in a strikingly hoarse voice, his eyes tearing up. "It's been a wild ride."
Mayfield showed no obvious effects from the illness that dogged him throughout the week of preparation before the game, aside from that scratchy throat. Yet coach Lincoln Riley's play-calling didn't give Mayfield every chance to shine, and the coach acknowledged it afterward.
Mayfield passed for only 87 yards after halftime, failing to connect with his receivers on a handful of big throws at key moments. He threw only 13 passes in the second half and four more in overtime, including a single shovel pass on the first possession.
Mayfield stayed firmly behind Riley, calling the rookie boss "the best coach in the country."
But Mayfield also threw his only interception to Dominick Sanders on the first snap of the fourth quarter. Sanders returned it to the Oklahoma 4, and the Bulldogs punched in a go-ahead touchdown.
Mayfield responded by leading a tying 88-yard touchdown drive in just six plays ending with 8:47 left in regulation, but the Oklahoma offense didn't reach the end zone again.
And whenever there was a late chance for Mayfield to add another moment to his incredible season, the Sooners couldn't find the winning formula.
Oklahoma attempted only that single shovel pass during its first overtime possession, which went nowhere and resulted in a field goal.
Mayfield then threw an incompletion and an interception that was wiped out by a penalty on the second drive. Two short completions on conservative plays only got the Sooners in position for a field goal that was blocked by Georgia's Lorenzo Carter.
When Sony Michel sprinted 27 yards for the winning touchdown on Georgia's ensuing possession, Mayfield stood on the Oklahoma sideline with his hands on his knees, staring at the turf for several long moments.
The former walk-on went 34-6 while spending three seasons as the Sooners' starter, but he couldn't push them to the championship game in Atlanta next week.