Game No. 2—USC Trojans vs. Texas Longhorns—2005 BCS Championship Game
With the end of the decade nearing, Sportmeisters Derek and Ryan have decided to present their top 10 games of the past decade. Today’s discussion is on the second best game from 2000-2009. What follows is a transcript of their discussion.
Sportmeister Derek: Ryan, today we are here to discuss something that will be debated for the next few weeks. With 2010 here, we’re finishing up our countdown of the best games from 2000-2009.
Sportmeister Ryan: Absolutely Derek, these games will bring an enormous amount of discussion, as they did when we were simply figuring out our list. Let’s move back into college football, looking at the 2005 BCS Championship Game.
SD: Let’s flash back quickly to the 2005 Rose Bowl, also the site of the National Championship. Two-time defending champion USC went wire to wire as No. 1, finishing 12-0, while Big 12 Champion Texas was right behind them at No. 2.
SR: Derek, for all the argument we hear about the BCS, this was one of the only years they got it right, and for easy measure. Both teams were the only undefeated squads, making the selection process that much easier.
SD: Some quick numbers on the matchup. The two teams combined for 53 straight wins, the most between two teams (USC 34, Texas 19). Also, just a few weeks prior, Reggie Bush had won the Heisman over fellow teammate Matt Leinart and Longhorn QB Vince Young.
SR: We saw two Heisman teammates in the backfield together, a Rose Bowl first, as well as three finalists going against each other. To top it off, Texas was not highly favored, and with the huge margin of victory by Bush in the Heisman, Young saw it as a slap in the face. A lot of motivation for both teams heading into this game.
SD: An early fumble on a punt return gave USC a short field, when following a 23 yard pass from Leinart to FB David Kirtman, we saw bruiser back LenDale White burst through from four yards out to take the 7-0 lead.
SR: Texas would fumble the ball four times in the game, but that was the only one they lost. Call it jitters or nerves, but USC struck first.
SD: Texas would strike back in the second quarter, using a 46 yard field goal by Kicker David Pino to cut the lead to 7-3.
SR: Derek, interesting note here. USC had the chance to go up big, and I mean HUGE. Bush had exploded into Texas territory, hitting the 18 yard line before lateraling it to a teammate. I should say attempt to lateral, as it was recovered by Texas and killed a huge momentum swing for the Trojans. We then saw Young methodically move Texas down the field before a fumble forced the field goal.
SD: Turnovers would be a problem on the next drive as well, which saw a Leinart pass intercepted at the 25 yard line of Texas. The Longhorns once again used the momentum, driving the field and scoring thanks to Young’s own lateral following a run, which was caught by RB Selvin Young, who went the final 12 yards for the score. Texas would miss the extra point, but still took the lead 9-7.
SR: Nine points in two drives, both off of turnovers. USC is lucky it was still early in the game, because mistakes like that will kill you!
SD: A short field on Texas’s next possession saw RB Ramonce Taylor rush in from 30 yards out to put Texas up 16-7.
SR: Three straight drives, 16 unanswered points. USC looked nowhere near the dominant team it had been all season.
SD: USC did drive down the field with the half winding down, looking to cut the deficit, but two straight sacks by DT Frank Okam forced a Mario Danelo field goal, putting the score at 16-10 in favor of Texas at the half.
SR: USC needed to make some adjustments, starting with turnovers and ending with watching Vince Young.
SD: Texas got the ball back at the beginning of the half, but was forced to punt. USC took advantage, marching 62 yards before White scored from three yards out, putting USC up 17-16.
SR: That extra point Texas missed earlier now had a little more weight on it than before.
SD: The next possession once again saw Texas take the lead, as Young scored from 14 yards out to make it 23-17.
SR: USC would come back once again, thanks to a risky 4th-and-1 from the Texas 12, where White busted through all the way to pay dirt, giving USC the 24-23 lead to close out the third quarter, as Pino from Texas missed a field goal which would have put the Longhorns up two.
SD: Heisman winner Bush had only one touchdown, but made it count, closing out an 80 yard drive with a 26 yard touchdown scamper to put USC up further, 31-23.
SR: Again, that extra point made a difference, as now Texas would need a touchdown and a conversion to tie.
SD: Texas got down to the USC 17, but another Young fumble forced the field goal, which Pino made from 34 yards out to cut the gap to five, 31-26.
SR: Field goals will not win championship games. Texas needed to get in the end zone, or USC was going to put this one away.
SD: On the ensuing possession, a stupid roughing-the-passer penalty gave USC life, and Leinart used it, finding Dwayne Jarrett from 22 yards out to go up 38-26 with under seven minutes to go.
SR: That penalty was easily the dumbest move Texas made all day. 12 points in seven minutes, not easy to make up.
SD: They did, starting with a 69 yard drive that saw Young account for the entire offense, capping it off with a 17 yard touchdown run and cutting the deficit to 38-33 with under four minutes to go.
SR: Young statistically had one of the best games of his career, compiling 200 yards on the ground and 267 in the air, with three rushing touchdowns.
SD: USC marched down to the Texas 45, taking precious time off the clock before a White fumble, recovered by Steve Smith, saw Texas take a timeout with 2:13 left on 4th-and-2. USC decided to put the game in the hands of the offense and go for it.
SR: This was the worst move by Carroll. Going for it and leaving your best player (Bush) on the bench! Everyone knew it was a dive to White, who promptly got stuffed, giving all the momentum to Texas and a short field for Young to work with. Remember, USC used that same play all game. Why wouldn’t Texas be able to stop it by now?
SD: Young moved Texas down to the nine yard line, and on 4th-and-5 with under a minute, took a shotgun snap. Young found all his receivers covered, so he did what he does best and took off toward the end zone.
SR: It was a footrace between Young and the USC defense, until Justin Blalock freed enough room for Vince Young to waltz into the end zone untouched to go up 39-33 with 19 seconds left. In another blunder, USC wasted a timeout before the two point conversion, which is an untimed down!
SD: Young would rush it in for the two point conversion, and thanks to that critical mistake, USC was unable to move the ball down the field, and as a Leinart to Jarrett pass sailed high, Texas was the champion, winning 41-38.
SR: This game had it all, and that is why we have named it our number two game of the decade. Stay tuned for the rest of our Top 10 coming up in the next few weeks. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email us at Derek@Sportmeisters.com or Ryan@Sportmeisters.com .