After battling some flu-like symptoms and mostly keeping to himself while No. 2 Oklahoma prepared to take on No. 3 Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinal Monday, Mayfield's entrance into one of the sport's most sacred venues was perfectly on brand.
The Rose Bowl twitter account shared the awesome moment as the Bulldog players realize they will be heading home to play for a title in Atlanta in the coming days.
Georgia averaged 34.9 points per game, leaning on a stable of running backs in Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D'Andre Swift; they carried the load for the nation's 10th-most prolific rushing attack.
Michel, who had a fumble in the fourth quarter returned for a go-ahead Oklahoma touchdown, ran for 181 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs (13-1), but none bigger than the last one.
For the first time since 1980, Georgia could be a national champion in a few days. Sooners coach Lincoln Riley decided not to go for it, and Austin Seibert made his 33-yard kick.
"I made plays. I gave up plays".
Despite giving up 31 points in the first half, more than Georgia had allowed in any of its first 13 games, the Butkus Award victor led a resilient defensive response in the Rose Bowl on Monday night and finished with a team-leading 11 tackles. "We knew each and every blow we took in the first half was going to pay off for us in the second half".
"What a game, what an atmosphere", Georgia coach Kirby Smart told ESPN on the field after the game.
Georgia will play in the national championship game January 8 in Atlanta against the victor of Monday night's Sugar Bowl matchup between top-ranked Clemson and No. 4 Alabama. College football added overtime in 1996.
Georgia's meeting with Oklahoma is the first-ever meeting between the two storied programs.
Earlier this week, OU quarterback Baker Mayfield had to sit out from several team events in California due to an illness.
"He's just such a good athlete", Smart said. "Baker Mayfield is the great equalizer because he extends that time, and he makes those plays go longer where you have to cover longer".
That made the score 31-14 with just six second left, but amazingly that was still time for Georgia to get points on the board after the Sooners failed to execute a squib kick which up-man Tae Crowder recovered at midfield. OR scored 41 points in the secondhalf of the 2014 season's Rose Bowl semifinal against Florida State.