MIAMI, Fla. – While some fans are already setting their sights on a national championship, many Sooner players are having flashbacks to last season.
It was Jan. 1, 2018 when the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Oklahoma Sooners in overtime in the Rose Bowl for a berth in the National Championship game.
The Sooners had been leading the Bulldogs through the first half until a dismal third quarter left them scrambling to regain control of the game.
The loss in the Rose Bowl left a mark on some of the players, and now they're hoping for redemption.
"I mean, the little -- I didn't have much going against Georgia, but I felt like I could have done a lot more than what I did. I mean, I definitely feel like now that I have another opportunity going against another great defense, I'm going to make the most of it," said OU running back Trey Sermon.
Even though he was a backup for former OU star and fellow Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, OU quarterback Kyler Murray has said that he's watched the film from the Rose Bowl over 100 times.
"As soon as that game was over, our goal was to get back here, and that continued throughout the season until we got back here," said Austin Seibert, OU kicker.
The veterans of the Sooners squad say they are thankful they have another opportunity to win a title.
"Yeah, I remember back when we were in this spot two years ago, and everybody was just like, 'We don't know if we're going to be here again, so let's make the most of it,' and we didn't capitalize last time. So that's what I'm kind of trying to get the younger guys to realize, like it's a blessing to be in this spot, but we were two, three plays out -- two, three
plays we don't make and we're not sitting in this spot, and you don't know if it's going to go down like that a year, two years, three years from now, so you're here, and we've got a shot, so let's go take it," said Curtis Bolton, OU linebacker.
While many of the players may be looking back on past bowl experiences, OU head coach Lincoln Riley says he hopes they can live in the present and finish what they started.
"It's really tough to get here. It's great being here, but we expected to win the first two that we were in, and we expect to win this one. And so we've always approached it that way. We know we're playing a great opponent just like we have here the first couple of times that we've been in these playoffs. That's what they're about. We've been really close. And certainly we want to finish the deal, but not for -- not for what's happened in the past, just for this team right now.
What's in the past is in the past, and this team right now has a chance -- as good a chance as anybody, and we want to take advantage because we do know how hard it is to get here," said OU head coach Lincoln Riley.
"We felt like we deserved to be here. We just have to go out and show it," said Sermon.