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Oklahoma football: What No. 2 Oklahoma's 54-48 Rose Bowl loss means going forward

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Lincoln Riley

OU coach Lincoln Riley high fives his players during the Rose Bowl against Georgia Jan. 1. He picked up a commitment from Marcus Major on June 30.

In the 104th Rose Bowl game, No. 2 Oklahoma’s season came to an end in a 54-48 overtime loss to No. 3 Georgia. The Bulldogs will advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship, where they will face the winner of the Clemson-Alabama game.

Despite getting off to a quick start — scoring on their first four drives — the Sooners were unable to hold off the Bulldogs in the second half. The Bulldogs’ heightened pressure on senior quarterback Baker Mayfield resulted in sacks in back to back drives and an interception in the third quarter, giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. The Sooners played a hard-fought game, and will have the offseason to prepare for a national championship run in the 2018 season.

Defensively, the Sooners proved that they could rival a SEC offense with powerful running backs. Though the defense has struggled throughout the season, they have shown that they can make big plays when necessary, especially when they feel the need to rally around senior quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Sooners will lose arguably their best defensive player in linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who is out of eligibility.

Oklahoma’s loss means that Mayfield has played his final game in crimson and cream, and will end his career without a national championship. In his final game, Mayfield passed for 287 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He even had a touchdown reception of his own on a two-yard pass from sophomore wide receiver Marquise Brown. Mayfield will now have to turn his attention to preparing for his opportunity to play in the NFL.

The Sooners will likely see a quarterback competition in the spring to replace Mayfield, but former Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray, who made a few brief appearances in the Rose Bowl, will be the favorite to win the job.

The Sooners will be back on the field to open the 2018 season on Sept. 1, where they will host Florida Atlantic. The Owls, led by head coach Lane Kiffin, went 11-3 this season and won Conference USA. The Sooners also have non-conference clashes with Army and UCLA.

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