PASADENA, Calif. -- With tears filling his eyes and Georgia victory confetti pouring down all around him, Baker Mayfield found as many teammates as he could. He gave each a hug, saving the longest embrace for tight end Mark Andrews, who started his Oklahoma career where Mayfield did: on the 2014 scout-team offense.
Mayfield then waded into the Bulldogs' celebration, searching for his Georgia freshman counterpart, Jake Fromm. Along the way, Georgia linebacker Davin Bellamy began hollering at Mayfield, "Humble yourself!" Always one to answer trash talk, Mayfield let that one go.
Instead, he quietly jogged to the Oklahoma corner of the stadium, where virtually the entire Sooner contingent remained, as if they were waiting for him. Mayfield tapped his helmet twice and pointed to the fans. Then, he slogged the length of the sideline and through the tunnel for the final time.
Not too much earlier, the sun had set behind the San Gabriel Mountains overlooking the most magical view in college football.
On Monday night, it set on one of the most magical players college football has produced in recent years as well.
"I can't believe it's over," said Mayfield, who had to fight more tears to get out the next part.
"It's been a wild ride."
One that likely won't be topped anytime soon.
Georgia ended the Mayfield ride in a 54-48 double-overtime thriller in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, which will go down as an all-time classic.
After a red-hot first half, Mayfield was far from his best the rest of the way, and that was a big part of why the Bulldogs rallied from a 31-14 deficit in the second quarter.
Maybe it was due to the flu-like sickness he battled in the days leading up to the game (Mayfield said he never felt fatigued).
Perhaps it was because of the shot to the ribs that he took from Julian Rochester's knee in the third quarter (Mayfield admitted that "hurt for a little bit" but said he was fine).
No matter the reason, Mayfield had almost enough magic in the tank to propel the Sooners into the title game anyway.
After throwing one of the most inexplicable interceptions of his career -- sailing a pass over Andrews to set up a Georgia touchdown for the Bulldogs' first lead of the night -- Mayfield came alive for one last time from the Oklahoma 12-yard line.
He connected with freshman wideout CeeDee Lamb for 36 yards on a pump-and-go pass down the sideline.
On the following snap, he took a quarterback draw 22 yards before being bumped out of play by Tyrique McGhee, whom he stared down immediately afterward.
Two plays later, Mayfield bought time with his feet, waiting for his primary target, fullback Dimitri Flowers, to wheel around the back of the end zone, where Mayfield delivered a dart.
"We needed to respond, and we did just that," he said. "That lit a fire on our sideline, we had the energy back, and we were back in the game."
When Oklahoma safety Steven Parker returned a Georgia fumble for the go-ahead touchdown on the ensuing possession, the Sooners appeared to be on their way to Atlanta. Mayfield was one step away from delivering an eighth national championship to the school he grew up dreaming of playing for.
Instead, Mayfield finally ran out of magic.
The Sooners failed to salt away the lead in regulation before failing to score a touchdown in overtime.
"There were a lot of mistakes, which happens in the good games and the bad games," Mayfield said. "But I gave it everything I had. That's what I've always been about."
And it's how Mayfield figures to be remembered.
As the first former walk-on to win the Heisman since the NCAA began allowing athletic scholarships in 1950.
As the transfer from Texas Tech who arrived at Oklahoma in 2014 without an invitation, much less a scholarship, and played intramural softball while waiting for the Sooners' spring practices to start.
As the player who helped breathe new life into an Oklahoma program that had gone stale before leading the Sooners to three consecutive Big 12 titles and two playoff appearances.
As the quarterback who carried every slight on his shoulder, beginning with all the coaches who passed on him as an undersized high school recruit, deemed too small and too slow to play at the FBS level.
"I love him," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. "It's been a helluva run."
One of the best. And it has finally come to an end.