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NCAA Game Summary - Texas vs. Southern California



(Wednesday, January 4th)

Final Score: (2) Texas 41, (1) Southern California 38

Pasadena, CA (Sports Network) - Vince Young capped one of the greatest individual performances in college football history with an eight-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 19 seconds remaining, lifting second-ranked Texas to a 41-38 come-from-behind victory over top-ranked Southern California in a classic showdown for the BCS national championship at the Rose Bowl.

Young rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns -- two of which came in the final 4:03 of the game -- and he threw for 267 yards on 30-of-40 passing to lead an improbable rally that propelled the Longhorns (13-0) to their first national title since 1970 and first outright crown since 1969, while dealing the two-time defending champion Trojans (12-1) their first defeat in 35 games.

"It's really surreal when you're sitting there in the fourth quarter and you're down two scores, and you still think you're going to win and you're playing a team that's won 34 straight games," Texas head coach Mack Brown said. "But we never really thought we would lose the ball game, and that's what made these two teams so special. Southern Cal's come back time and time again."

The final score ended a 10-play, 56-yard drive which began after a controversial decision by USC head coach Pete Carroll that ended up backfiring.

Faced with a 4th-and-2 from the Texas 45, the Trojans' LenDale White was stuffed by the Longhorn defense and Texas took over trailing 38-33 with 2:09 to play.

The Longhorns quickly put themselves in a 3rd-and-12 hole, but Young tossed a short pass to Quan Cosby and USC's Darnell Bing was penalized for grabbing the receiver's face mask and the drive was sustained.

A 17-yard connection from Young to Brian Carter gave Texas a first down at the USC 13 with 45 seconds left, but two incompletions and a small run by Young put the Longhorns in a 4th-and-5 situation with 26 seconds to go.

Young then took a shotgun snap and broke containment along the right side before beating his pursuers to the pylon for a 39-38 lead. Young also ran in the following conversion attempt to make it a three-point game.

"I went through all my progressions and no one was open," Young said of the TD. "The D-line kind of went to the inside and gave me the edge a little bit, so I took off with it."

With one last chance to possibly force overtime, the Trojans' Matt Leinart hit Reggie Bush with a quick toss that the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner turned into a 27-yard gain to the Texas 42. However, Leinart's pass intended for Dwayne Jarrett sailed high as time expired, and USC couldn't pull off the unprecedented trifecta.

"It's difficult, it doesn't matter how you lose," said Leinart. "We still feel like we're champions. What we've accomplished the last three years will probably never be done."

White put up 124 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns, while Bush compiled 177 all-purpose yards with one score in the loss.

Leinart ended his brilliant collegiate career by throwing for 365 yards on 29- of-40 passing, with a 22-yard TD strike to Jarrett in the fourth quarter and one interception. Jarrett finished with 10 receptions for 121 yards.

Jarrett's touchdown catch, which came with 6:42 remaining, gave the Trojans a seemingly bulletproof 38-26 lead, However, Young had other ideas.

The Heisman runner-up hit on 5-of-6 throws on the ensuing possession, then scrambled for a 17-yard score to cut the deficit to five with just over four minutes to play.

"It's all about heart, focus, poise," Young said. "Nobody gets frustrated with each other. It's a team thing and we went out there and made plays."

USC had put up touchdowns in all four of its previous second-half drives, but the Longhorns would come up with a huge stand on the fifth on the way to their 20th straight win.

After White nearly fumbled after a five-yard run on 3rd-and-7, Carroll decided to roll the dice and try for a first down that would have continued to salt away the clock. But White couldn't gain any ground before being brought down by safety Michael Huff just short of the marker.

"We just had to go," said Leinart. "We were moving the ball on them the whole game and felt we could run it, and we were inches short."

The Trojans trailed 16-10 at the half before getting its high-powered offense in gear. USC marched 62 yards in just seven plays to start the third quarter -- highlighted by a 24-yard hookup from Leinart to Jarrett -- before White plowed in from three yards out to put the defending champs up by one.

Young then orchestrated a seven-play, 80-yard series that culminated with the quarterback's 14-yard scoring run down the right sideline, which staked Texas to a 23-17 edge midway through the third quarter.

Leinart completed five straight passes to begin the following possession, including another 24-yard delivery to Jarrett which put the ball on the Longhorns' 21. After Texas forced a 4th-and-1 from the 12, White barreled through the line and wouldn't be stopped, restoring a one-point cushion for the Trojans.

Texas' David Pino then pulled a 31-yard field goal attempt wide right, and USC responded by churning out an 80-yard series which resulted in another TD. After White ripped off a 15-yard run to the Longhorn 26, Bush broke free around the right end and took it to the house for a 31-23 lead less than four minutes into the fourth quarter.

Pino's 34-yard field goal with 8:46 to play brought Texas within five, but Leinart's bullet pass to Jarrett just over two minutes later gave USC its largest margin of the night at 38-26.

White's first TD of the game, a four-yard burst just 2:33 in, which came shortly after a fumbled punt by the 'Horns, opened the scoring. USC had a chance to extend the lead, but Bush carelessly threw away a lateral at the Texas 20 after taking a screen pass 35 yards, later in the quarter.

Bush's fumble was later turned into Pino's career-long 46-yard field goal. The Trojans then marched to the Longhorns' 25-yard line when Leinart's sideline throw for Steve Smith was picked off by Michael Griffin in the end zone.

Texas again cashed in the turnover, moving 80 yards in seven plays to forge ahead. From the USC 22-yard line, Young took an option to his left and ran 10 yards before pitching it to Selvin Young, who took it in from there. Pino shanked the extra point and the Longhorns were up just 9-7 early in the second quarter.

Replays of the touchdown showed Vince Young's left knee was down when he gave the ball up, but the play wasn't reviewed.

The 'Horns would lengthen the margin to nine points on Ramonce Taylor's 30- yard run with 2:34 remaining before intermission, more than enough time for Leinart to bring his team back in scoring range.

USC's 2004 Heisman winner scrambled for 14 yards deep into Texas territory before finding Bush for 12 yards to bring the Trojans inside the 15 with under a minute to go. However, Leinart was sacked twice by Frank Okam and USC was forced to settle for Mario Danelo's 43-yard field goal and a 16-10 deficit at the break.

Game Notes

Texas shared the 1970 national championship with Nebraska and Ohio State. The Longhorns were declared champions that year by the UPI..Leinart lost for only the second time in 39 career starts and finished his career with 99 career touchdown passes...The Longhorns also won last year's Rose Bowl in dramatic fashion, beating Michigan 38-37 on a last-second field goal by Dusty Mangum...USC made its 30th appearance in the Rose Bowl and is 22-8 all-time in the "Granddaddy of them all"...Texas earned its first win over the Trojans in five lifetime meetings, although the teams hadn't played since 1967...USC also had an NCAA-record 16-game win streak against top 25 teams end.

01/05 02:30:13 ET


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