What Lincoln Riley had to say after Sooners' heartbreaking Rose Bowl loss

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There has been some question about whether or not the Oklahoma Sooners would make some changes to their defensive coaching staff following a year in which the defense was a weakness all season, which came to a head in their 54-48 loss to Georgia in the Rose Bowl.

BamaInsider.com team writer Tony Tsoukalas asked five key questions about the Georgia Bulldogs heading into Monday night's College Football Playoff National Championship Game and UGASports.com's Anthony Dasher answered them. He didn't count on it being snagged by Georgia up-man Tae Crowder, resulting in a 12-yard net, and Riley certainly didn't foresee the 55-yard field goal that Bulldogs kicker Rodrigo Blankenship nailed as the first-half clock expired.

But Michel kept chopping, as they say, and he kept talking and encouraging his teammates. Then we had just held them to a field goal, I think, defensively, so I felt good about the second run at it. "Now we got to finish".

Together, what Georgia's running backs did was combine on one of the best rushing performances this new-fangled College Football Playoff have ever seen. On Monday another matchup of SEC teams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will decide the national championship. "I just came in there and let them know that I have their back, that we have their back as an offense".

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The pass and point-after kick tied the score 38-38 and the Sooners took the lead about two minutes later when linebacker Caleb Kelly upended Michel, dislodging the ball that bounced into the hands of strong safety Steven Parker, who took it 46 yards for a touchdown. Rodney Anderson made it into the end zone on runs of 9 and 41 yards.

"When I scored a touchdown, I knew it was over", he said. "I called plays that at the time, I thought were the very best". Just that we had an opportunity to win the game.

Mayfield set the tone of his OU career with a double-overtime win at Tennessee in his second game as a starting quarterback.

It was his fourth touchdown of the game and the most important one.

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Smart said he was "really disappointed and upset" that Georgia, No. 3 in the nation in scoring defense, gave up 58 points.

Playing better defense in the first half against Alabama will be incredibly important, as it will be almost impossible for the Bulldogs to come back against the Crimson Tide if they go down 14 points early.

"We played with passion, we played with energy, we played with enthusiasm", Smart said. There was a ton of good plays on both sides of the ball, and they made one more than we did. Chubb and Michel totaled 8,284 rushing yards in their career. The Bulldogs' scout team can provide impressively accurate renditions of Mayfield's top tendencies, such as his slick ability to move forward through a collapsing pocket before making a throw right at the line of scrimmage. "I'm proud as hell to be their coach", he said. "I have a lot of confidence in him as I do our whole staff". "He made plays all game".

"I told him that he had to keep running and trying to hit the corner", Chubb said. Of course, a lot of our guys were getting exhausted early in the night, so they wanted to go to bed earlier, and their bodies were naturally getting up earlier.

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"One thing about this team is that these guys never give up". We also make sure our players downfield also know they have to cover for as long as it takes.

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