Fan’s Perspective from inside Rose Bowl Stadium
Photo: Andrew Rodberg
By. Andrew Rodberg
On January 1st, most of Dawg Nation woke up under the California sun, ready to cheer on their Bulldogs at the team’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 1943. As fans flocked to Pasadena, California, the excitement began to rise and the party began to start! With the red and black in full force, you could hear the non-stop “Go Dawgs” chants on the walk to the gate entrances. As the gates opened at 12:30, all you could see was the UGA fan base getting to their seats almost immediately. With multiple families taking in the historic venue with photos and videos, it became very known that Georgia had taken over Pasadena with occupying almost 70% of the seats. As usual, the Georgia fan base showed up and were in their seats way before the 2pm kickoff time.
As the game got underway, the fans were hyped and ready for their team to earn a spot in the National Championship game! But for Dawg fans that excitement quickly became nervousness and disbelief as the Sooners went right down the field on 3 consecutive drives and quickly built a 14 point lead. With Baker Mayfield going down the field at will, the defense looked lost and confused. With Georgia giving up a staggering 31 points in the first half, the fans began to lose hope and were begging for a game changing play that would turn the momentum in the Dawgs side and boy did one come in the final seconds of the 2nd quarter. After the Sooners went down the field and scored to push their lead to 17, they decided to attempt a squib kick and former RB Tae Crowder turned LB, was able to scoop it up and give the Dawgs one final opportunity to cut the deficit to 14. Courtesy of a 55 yard made FG by Rodrigo Blankenship as time expired, the Bulldogs went into halftime with some momentum on their side. (the longest in Rose Bowl history)
To start the second half, the Dawgs took a different approach on special teams and instead of kicking out of the end-zone, they decided to kick it a little shorter in order to get the Sooners to return the kicks. In doing so, the Bulldogs pounced on the Sooner returners and put them in long field positions. With the Georgia band and fan base stationed on that side of the field, the noise became an issue and caused Baker Mayfield to hold onto the ball too long and ultimately allowed the Bulldogs to come storming back.
With the Georgia faithful sensing a comeback, the stands were going crazy as each sack began to pile on in the 3rd quarter. Every time Baker made a mistake or the defense got a stop, you could see all the Georgia fans jumping up and down like they were in the “Harlem Shake’ music video. After looking dead in the water the first half, the fan base came back to life (like the team) and made a serious impact in the 3rd quarter.
As Dominick Sanders picked off Baker Mayfield on the 43 and ran it back to inside the 10, the Bulldogs knew this was their game! With that major turnover and breaking point of the game, the Bulldogs got their first lead to start the 4th quarter, but the game would be far from over. With the stadium literally shaking, the game became more than just a game, it was a battle of heart and poise. With Jake Fromm at the helm, the Bulldogs faced some last minute adversity after Sony Michel fumbled the ball that gave the lead right back to Oklahoma but with the poise and heart of the Bulldogs and Dawg Nation, they were able to once again rely on their defense who came up big. With a last minute TD drive, the Bulldogs tied the game and sent it to OT.
After each team held each other to FG’s in the 1st OT, the biggest play of the game came in the form of a Lorenzo Carter blocked FG in the 2nd OT. The following 2 plays will be remembered for the rest of time, after a 2 yard loss by De’Andre Swift, the Dawgs were put in a 2nd and 12 and opted to move Jake Fromm to the outside and run a wild dawg to Sony Michel who ran to the end-zone untouched that sealed the game for the Dawgs! As that TD run occurred people were falling out of their seats, fans were running up and down aisles, people were crying, hugging each other and losing their voices. After a 38 year drought the Dawgs were finally going to the Natty!
Photo: Blocked FG by Lorenzo Carter
Photo: Game Winning TD by Sony Michel
Photo: Celebratory Confetti