Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Rose Bowl - could time of possession be the game's biggest factor?

If we can agree that this Rose Bowl isn’t likely to be the high scoring affair that Sooners have gotten used to with Mayfield at the helm of its offense, and if we can agree that the Georgia coaching staff is likely to want to slow this game down and limit the Sooner possessions as much as possible, then we might start to look for 2017 games for each team that could serve as a crude, yet convenient barometer for what each team wants to avoid.

Never fear, I did just that last night.

October 14th, the Red River Shootout, Oklahoma 29   Texas 24. (And yes, that’s considered low scoring by their standards.) Time of possession is pretty even with the Sooners possessing the ball for just under 32 minutes. Here’s a recap of the highlights:

What I see is a lot of big plays breaking down (for both offenses really) to the point where the quarterback and his playmakers have to improvise. Both quarterbacks do a remarkable job of moving the pocket, using their feet for both time and yards (points), and simply waiting for the secondary to break down to the point that a receiver was open or there was room to run.

In the end Baker made one more play than Ehlinger. Otherwise it might have been the Longhorns running out the clock at the end instead. And in the end Texas surrendered 174 yards on 39 carries. The Longhorns were essentially beaten by Mayfield’s arm because they weren’t effective enough in stopping Trey Sermon and Rodney Anderson on the ground.

November 11th, Iowa State 38   Oklahoma 31. The Cyclones handed the Sooners their only loss, and ISU too held the OU just below their season average in time of possession. Unlike the Longhorns though, the Cyclones were able use enough screens, score late, or play some defense late to hold off another Sooner rally.

There’s no question that Georgia’s secondary should provide a more difficult task for the Heisman winner and this Sooner offense. But the last thing we want to see is Tucker’s defense struggling to balance when to rush extra men and when to drop them back. Because Mayfield is the type of quarterback that will expose a defense that is playing on its heels.

And he’ll do it with ease.
Baker dominated the Buckeye midfield logo. What a champion!

If 2017’s version of the Red River Shootout and the loss to the Cyclones at home are the types of games Oklahoma wants to avoid playing again, then without question Georgia wants to avoid what happened on the Plains about a month ago even more.

November 11th, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, part one, Auburn 40   Georgia 17. This was, obviously, the Dawgs’ worst game in terms of controlling to game’s momentum and possessing the ball - 26:54 to 33:06. (We only held the ball for 25 minutes in Jacksonville, but that was all you needed to whip the gators’ ass this year, so…)

The Tigers were undoubtedly the more physical team at the point of attack. They gashed Tucker’s defense for 237 yards, and made it feel like double that.

However you feel about the Big 12 being a finesse league and full of soft defenses and cute passes, make no mistake that this Sooner o-line is legit. They’ve got a Heisman winner that has helped them win some awards and gain some recognition. Plus they’d love nothing more than to contain Georgia’s pass rush and open up holes for their running backs in front all those NFL scouts that will be out in full in Pasadena.

I like the fact that our offense could really complement our defense well on this grand stage in the Rose Bowl. Fromm will definitely have to make some throws, but there should be plenty of yards to gain on the ground against a defense that is 40th nationally in rush defense.

Hand the ball off. Tick tick tick tick tick tick...Keep the Baker man cold on the sideline as much as possible.

Go Dawgs!